by Any Means Necessary.
What compels us about the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard trial?
Because of the phenomenon of parasocial relationships, we think we know these people. Basically, a parasocial relationship is an imaginary, one sided relationship with a public figure; fandom, dialed up to 11. We root for our celebs on a personal level, and engage with other fans to defend our faves and gossip about the doings of famous people.
But why form this kind of attachment at all? Because we need to. Apart from the spectacle, celebrity and money involved, we care what happens to famous people. What’s important to remember is that, as social animals, we can’t help but care what happens to each other. We cannot escape the need to connect with each other, and that need has moved to our screens.
What we need to remember is that it is important to use that care, that focus, that need for connection, to help each other and lift each other up, not gawk at members of the group who are struggling. In the eternal framing of us versus them, he said/she said, insiders vs outsiders, and ride or die culture we have to keep expanding the definition of who we think of as “us” and apply the kindness and understanding that we would want to receive. We all seek to be defined as “us,” insiders, the ones to be seen and heard and believed.