Thursday, January 24, 2013


You know, I'm always a little intimidated when the first thing I read on an unfamiliar web site is a detailed and very long list of rules.

I was particularly astonished when this headspinningly complex list (below) appeared on a fan site about that rascally social rebel, that mascara-eyed Caribbean ne'er-do-well, that stereotype-shattering gender-bending Ed Wood of the modern cinema, Johnny Depp.

Johnny Depp is a fox- let's get that out of the way first - and ever since my then-teenage daughter told me breathlessly about a painfully-gorgeous young hunk on a show called 21 Jump Street, he has taken on interesting parts, the sort of roles that a Gary Oldman might choose (or a Danny DeVito or a whoever-is-a-subversive-character-but-not-especially-good-looking-or-over-the-height-of-four-feet-one-inch-tall).  And he has made a go of it for a very long time, decades in fact, an unusual thing for a slightly off-the-wall leading man.  And he has attracted female fans everywhere. Especially me. 

Do I have a favorite? I do.  Though the movie Benny and Joon is not especially good in story line, and not much acting ever takes place, I love Depp's nearly-mute amalgam of Chaplin, Keaton and even my beloved Harold Lloyd as he swings from a rope past the window of his girl friend who is incarcerated in a mental institution.  He's all in, as they say.

So I was kind of, well, ah, er, taken aback when I investigated the web site I recommended at the end of my post about automatons. When I finally looked at it in detail, I found this, this, this - edifice of rules, this - this boarding school, this itchy crinoline, this Little House on the Prairie bonnet of restriction! Compared to this, my Grade Four grammar teacher was a raving slut. 

Yes, I appreciate the fact that the comments have to be written in complete sentences. Most of my sentences are complete, and if they aren't, it's 

I can see ruling out those lols and rotfl and grmlds and stuff like that. I hate them and fear that the language will become irreversibly eroded if they take over any more than they already have.  I can see ruling out abusive language and blatant Depp sexual fantasies, although. . . 

Although. People can't express feelings about him, share dreams or fantasies, or post fan art or Johnny Depp coloring pages or anything like that. No good steamy gossip or "hearsay" is allowed, nor can you quote those scumbag entertainment sites.  It's completely sexless, devoid of the giddy joy these Hollywood gods are meant to provoke in us mortals.  This fan site is under such tight control, it only has something like 33 followers, all of whom seem deeply intimidated when they approach the Headmistress with their timid questions.

I'm just sayin'.  All passion seems to have been squashed down by one of those squashing-down things.

Once you've carefully read through ALL the rules, and don't you dare just skim them like you'd do on a surgical permission form or a divorce settlement or whatever, you discover there is in fact very little that you CAN do on this site. I wonder, then, why even have a Johnny Depp fan site, if indeed that's what it is? And what would Johnny Depp think about it?

I don't think he'd read a web site, to tell the truth. I don't think he would read one about himself, in particular. He'd be out there jumping into his next role, which is what real actors do. He'd be out there shattering the dull tradition of good-looking actors mainly functioning as backdrops on wheels.

But that's just me.

General Forum Rules and Guidelines
(For detailed information, please see next post)
  • All posts must be written in English.
  • No chatspeak or text-message abbreviations.
  • Use proper punctuation, capitalization and spelling.
  • Do not post chat threads (threads that are not about Johnny Depp). The Morning Thread in the Daily Features forum is the place for off-topic conversation.
  • No obscene material is allowed on the Zone. No sexual fantasies and/or dreams about Johnny.
  • When posting material from the Zone onto other websites, please give credit to the Zone and the person who posted the material.
  • No flaming, spamming or soliciting. This includes, but is not limited to posts on the board, private messages or emails.
  • No troll posts—ones that are written to provoke arguments.
  • Avoid using profanity. This is not a community that curses. Please use the “censored” board icon instead.
  • Do not divulge, discuss, or complain about the contents of a private message from a staff member.
  • Do not post tabloid stories, unfounded rumors or gossip. Nothing from No hearsay—information you “heard somewhere.” No “inside sources” from other websites.
  • Do not post items for sale or trade on the Zone. In certain cases, items to give away free are allowed to be posted. Please contact a staff member for approval before posting free items.
  • Don’t advertise other websites or chat rooms. You may use the website button in your profile or post the site in your signature as long as (1) you don’t promote the site in your posts and, (2) the site link you post does not violate any Zone standards.
  • Include SPOILER warnings if you are writing about an unreleased film. Please use the Spoiler button to hide the details.

(Blogger's note. I only posted the bare bones of these rules! Herein is the expanded, complete version. I note that much of what they post on this forum consists of Johnny Depp jigsaw puzzles. Fan fiction is allowed, but it can't have Johnny Depp in it. Oh dear.)

All posts must be written in standard English.Please avoid "chatspeak," random mixtures of capital and lower-case letters, and/or text-messaging abbreviations. The goal is to make every post clear and easy to read; we have many members who are not native English-speakers, and they need words they can find in a dictionary or that can be easily translated by automatic-translation programs. So use "I" and "you" and "because," not "i" and "u" and "cuz." Use proper punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. A message written entirely in lower-case letters violates Zone standards; these and other types of chatspeak posts will be deleted by the staff without notice.

The Zone is a discussion forum, not a chat room.Every thread must introduce a subject to discuss about Johnny Depp. Threads like "Hi, I'm back!" or "Is there anybody there?" or "I'm so bored/depressed/lonely--please cheer me up" or "What's going on?" are inappropriate to the Zone and will be automatically deleted without comment. Threads which are started to discuss a personal problem of the member are also inappropriate; such matters should be discussed by email with one's friends, not posted on a forum. If you have the urge to chat about your private life, post onto the morning thread, which is where such messages are exchanged--along with the latest news about Johnny, of course.

Since this site was created by adult women for the enjoyment of other adults, a certain earthy, appreciative tone is often part of our conversations. But we do not allow explicit sexual references, or discussions of body parts; the tone is subtle and witty, never sleazy. The Zone is NOT an NC-17 site, and there are members as young as 13 on every forum. Please keep them in mind when you post, and be sure to leave plenty to the imagination.

Don't post obscene material on the Zone.Explicit posts about sexual acts and body parts, or images or artwork that would push an R-rated film into NC-17 territory, go too far. Avatars, locations, and signatures, since they appear with a member's every post, must be suitable for reading by all ages; keep these PG-13, please. No profanity, nothing sexually suggestive.

Don't post detailed sexual fantasies or dreams that involve the writer of the post and Johnny Depp, or a Johnny Depp character--that makes us feel icky. We also don't allow the real Johnny Depp to appear as a character in a Fanfic story (or in a "Johnny and me" fiction on any other forum).

Don't post material from the Zone onto other websites without giving proper credit.We request that you give credit to the Zone and the person who posted or created the material. That's only fair, and members who don't treat the Zone and their fellow Zoners fairly won't be members here very long. It is particularly despicable to take another member's personal artwork or personal photos or videos (of herself and Johnny at a meet-and-greet, for example) and post them on another Depp site (or anywhere else) without first seeking that member's permission and then graciously thanking her in the post on the other website.

Please Note: Zone members hold the copyright to their artwork, fanfic, and personal photos and personal videos, and those who post them elsewhere without the member's permission are committing copyright infringement. Even worse, they are betraying the friendship of a fellow Zoner who was kind enough to share with all of us. Anyone who would steal another Zoner's artwork, writing, photos, or video and post it elsewhere claiming "I just found this . . . I can't remember where" is both a liar and a thief, and will be immediately banned from the Zone.

No flaming, spamming, soliciting or trolling.Don't exploit the Zone or its members for personal gain. Occasionally people join the Zone as a marketing ploy, to gain access to a large group of Johnny Depp fans in order to sell them something. We consider that spam and deactivate those accounts.

Don't write any posts which ask other members to send you their email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers, or other personal contact information. This is a tactic frequently used by sexual predators and other criminals to obtain the home addresses of their victims. Never send your personal contact information to someone newly registered on the Zone. Only share it with people you know well.

Don't abuse the Private Message system by using it to harass, harangue, solicit or spam other members of the Zone. Members who misuse the PM system will be deactivated or banned.

Don't post troll posts—ones solely written to provoke arguments among the members. Such messages will be removed from the boards. If you notice a troll post, rather than firing back an angry reply (which we all are tempted to do), please PM a member of the Zone staff and let us know where to find the troll post. We'll handle it.

Never use profanity in a thread title.Do not direct profanity or vicious comments at another poster, the Zone, or members of the Zone community. Other kinds of name-calling, and malicious/slanderous rants, will be deleted. Keep casual profanity out of your posts--this is not a community that curses, except in extreme circumstances. Use the "censored" board icon instead. Zone forums are friendly and always civil.

Don't post comments or complaints about receiving a "correcting" private message (PM) from a a staff member.PMs are private and the staff sends them to you privately rather than posting a list of "Here's who screwed up today," out of respect for your privacy and your dignity. It is in your best interest and the Zone's that anything that violates a Zone policy is corrected as soon as possible. That's all one of these PMs is—a reminder of what the rules are.

Don't post tabloid stories, unfounded rumors, or gossip.This includes any item which originates in a newspaper gossip column or a paper like the National Enquirer (U.S.). Do not post any items from These stories rely on sensationalized headlines and out-of-context quotes and rarely prove to be true. Items from unreliable sources will be deleted.

Don't post news stories from “inside sources” found on other websites, since the accuracy of this information cannot be verified.

Don't post hearsay--information about Johnny Depp that you "heard somewhere" (at work, at school, from a friend) that cannot be verified. The Zone is widely read (we have many thousands of visitors a day), and we have a responsibility to be certain that whatever we print about Johnny is accurate. The Zone adheres to journalistic standards for our Johnny Depp news; rumors about possible Johnny Depp film projects that appear in the press are clearly labeled as rumors (only), and we don't publish hearsay or gossip. Threads that make claims about Johnny but have no verifiable source for their information will be deleted or locked.

Don't post items for sale or trade on the Zone.We have no way of investigating or doing quality control, and we can't be responsible for trades or promotions that don't turn out as advertised. The Zone's forums are a place for discussion of Johnny's films and other career activities; we are not Ebay. In certain cases, items to give away free are allowed to be posted. Please contact a staff member for approval before posting free items.

Don't publish links to articles or websites that violate any of the Zone's standards and practices.This would include sites, including members' personal websites or pages, that feature sexually explicit material, profane language, name-calling or hate speech, gossip about Johnny Depp, pictures of the Depp children, aggressive attempts to sell merchandise, spam, etc.

Don't use a thread on the Zone to advertise another website or to urge Zone members to visit a different site or chat room. We consider this spam--an unfair harassment of the membership.

The Johnny Depp Zone web site may contain links to many other web sites. The Zone cannot guarantee the accuracy of information found at any linked site. Links to or from external web sites not owned or controlled by the Zone does not constitute an endorsement by the Zone of the sponsors of these sites or the products or information presented there.

The Zone staff reserves the right to remove any links in forum posts or members' signatures that we deem inappropriate for the Zone.

Include SPOILER warnings if you are writing about an unreleased film.If your news item has ANY reference to the plot, casting, or a particular scene or effect in a movie in production or pre-production, put SPOILERS in capital letters in the subject line of your post. Please also use the "SPOILER" code available on the message reply page to hide any spoilers. Many Zoners do not wish to know any details about Johnny Depp’s movies until they see them in the theater, and they deserve the right to go to the movie and be surprised and enchanted. Do NOT spoil the movie for them! Also be careful when replying to a thread about a movie in production; unless the thread says SPOILERS, don’t give anything away!

NOTE. I don't think it's fair to assume a fan site about Johnny Depp is going to have a Depp-like, devil-may-care disregard for social convention. But it just strikes me as strange, is all. It's so careful, careful, careful, and seems at odds with his rebellious and often very sexual persona. Oh, but we CAN allude to sex if it's done in an earthy, oh-so-English way ("Quite the ripper, is Johnny, eh, Honoria dear?" Assuming this site is English.) 

Anyway, I didn't write any of this, I'm just using it as an example of internet curiosa. Oh my God, I think that's a run-on sentence!