And often for each other flows the sympathizing tear

John Porter (Richard Armitage) dreams of himself as a prisoner during the first night of his internment in Chikurubi Prison, in Strike Back 1.3. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery.

(Not that Armitagemania is a religion, of course.)

I received a kind email this afternoon about the blog that went on to request suggestions for dealing with a tendency to think about Mr. Armitage all the time, and for words of encouragement and support. I did my best, but I thought perhaps that readers of this blog might have additional help for my correspondent, who’s been watching Armitage for two months at this point.

For those who had a strong reaction to the vector of your first Armitage exposure, how did you treat the initial symptoms? What do you do to calm your Armitage addiction now? Have you learned to live with it, and if so, how?

Comments eagerly solicited and gratefully read.

~ by Servetus on August 28, 2010.

77 Responses to “And often for each other flows the sympathizing tear”

  1. Wait a sec…I’m supposed to seek treatment for my RA addiction? But I don’t wanna recover… ๐Ÿ˜‰ Is there really such a thing as too much RA? I think not… ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • I agree, if you’re not troubled by it, it’s not a problem.

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      • That’s exactly my position as well (especially as I have not much time to indulge). On the contrary, coming here brightens my day.

        That’s a wonderful image of RA, by the way. When I first saw it, I was almost moved to tears, as there seemed to be so little hope for him.

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        • I like the backlighting, although I know it’s a cheap technique to manipulate my emotions. ๐Ÿ™‚ Well, it worked!

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          • Yes, of course, but it is also his body language. It makes the cheapness look better, more sincere…Maybe I am talking rubbish now.

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            • Well, a dream sequence is a cheap technique, and this is a particularly cheaply scripted dream sequence — but somehow he makes it all worthwhile, I think.

              Looking at the picture yesterday, though, I thought once again that his rear is just a bit too generous for these anodyne clothes. You can see his underwear when he squats. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Initial 24 hr/7 days a week obsession lasted about four months for me. I was completely consumed and utterly worthless to everyone around me; thank goodness I work from home. I was lucky – “Ondine” and “Crazy Heart” were viewed about that time, so I veered back into a Colin Farrell track for awhile and then on to Leo D. and “Inception”, and thus, never devoted my attention solely to RA again. Though I still must check approx. 6 RA sites at least once a day for news (and a little good cheer), even after a full year. And, of course, when one of his current series is airing, I have to watch every episode immediately. So, maybe Armitagemania is like malaria–you have bouts of coherent thought and non-RA-related productivity, but you are never really cured.

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    • I still haven’t ended my first flare, but the pattern you describe sounds familiar to me — that a pattern for checking for information on him develops and it doesn’t become boring.

      So maybe one suggestion for my correspondent would be to try to look at other attractive actors.

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      • I’ve tried that; attractiveness is subjective, a strong performance does more than anything. But RAs audio work and appeal in interviews bring me back. Although to be fair, have only tried that with one subject(object?:) ) evidence this does not provide.

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        • I should add it did work somewhat. Meaning I overlaped 2 fandoms, explored, enjoyed a singular fandom, transitioned into overlap to re-enter with renewed vigor. So probably failed attempt with worse result. It’s also not about all the performances but the creativity it inspires in people: the blogs, the fics, the vids, the graphics all in this virtual community. Yes I’ve lost moderation and working hard at getting that under control.

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          • I only ever really have two – three day complete breaks because religious holidays are the times when I completely absent myself from Armitageworld. When I come back it’s just as intense, it’s the first thing I want to do when I switch my life back on. I probably should try to move toward a more rigid Sabbath observance — that might help, though I’m not certain.

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  3. Relax. Enjoy it. It is sort of fun to have a crush. Isn’t it? You are def in good company. If it is truly getting in the way of RL, then that is another story. That is something you have to figure out, how far the rabbit hole you want to go bec you can easily get sucked in.

    Again, I go back to the idea that what we are attracted to in others are the qualitites we are trying to develop in ourselves. Your feelings will abate and change, develop mature so to speak, you won’t find yourself in the early stages forever.

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    • Yes. Perceptive, and I notice this in my own Armitagemania — feelings definitely change although the intensity is not abating.

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  4. Like @Rob, I think of my RA fetish as a harmless crush. After having a summer full of RA last year, I started a blog, which has been my therapy and just plain fun. Although I love his work have a site in his honor, my RA obsession is pretty well-contained. (In other words, the first few months of RA fandom is like the “newlywed phase” where you just can’t get enough of him… but then for me, it mellowed out a bit, although I still love his work as much as ever.)

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    • Everything about your blog says charm, balance, and ocmmon sense, Natalie — one reason I enjoy it so much.

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  5. It started on Boxing Day and has been a roller-coaster ride since! From googling him and discovering to my intense delight he was from Leicester (lived there for two years and loved it, but it hasn’t made much of an impact on the modern world!) to catching up on all the articles and interviews, discovering the world of fan vids, fan fic and blogs, enjoying others’ creative output and “dabbling” a little myself. My focus has widened to include exciting people who share this fascination and have expanded my horizons in other ways than the purely fangirly. I enjoy having being initiated into a club with its own special jargon and knowing the in references. And the intense emotion evoked by this actor has turned the clock back and awakened juvenile tendencies in one who never was a fangirl when young!

    A couple of weeks ago RL picked me up by the scruff of my neck at the start of a new school year and has made it clear that it requires my attention for all the projects I’m involved in, so now the goal is to be selective about what I spend time on.

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    • I think this is key — one is probably ok as long as real life is not being neglected. But I also had the initial feeling of being overwhelmed, as if in a blinding blizzard.

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  6. My addiction has lasted, oh, nearly 18 months now. It began when I watched the DVD of N&S – partly because I thought Iโ€™d like Elizabeth Gaskell, partly because I was curious about the rave reviews of RA and his general gorgeousness. On the DVD cover he looked to me rather, well, ordinary. (Ha!)

    There was something compelling about N&S that I couldnโ€™t quite put my finger on โ€“ I know now it was RAโ€™s ability to do intense and angsty. Then I watched, patchily, Robin Hood and that was it. Guy just sent me over the edge. I still look at pix of S3, with that long hair, and have to catch my breath. RA does darkness so well.

    The interviews and humour and the introspecting-out-loud, as I call it; the possible fact that he lives, or at any rate used to live, quite near to me (fuelling the fantasy of bumping into him in the supermarket) have all kept me hooked. The RA performance is endlessly fascinating and seductive.

    Iโ€™ve never had a โ€˜crushโ€™ this long on anyone, and I think the addictiveness of the internet has a lot to do with it. I work at home so can check RA sites and look at endless pix of him all day. The forums โ€“ especially this one โ€“ have become an alternative universe for me, somewhere to share part of my inner world. Because there are clearly other sane, articulate and thoughtful people out there who feel the same way I donโ€™t fight it. But without the internet it would have remained a guilty secret. Iโ€™d just have had to wait until the next TV series and get on with RL. It would all have died back to a pleasant background hum.

    The proof: when Iโ€™m cut off from my computer for any length of time I forget about him. But I can’t give up the thrill of coming back home and switching on again…

    So it’s all technology’s fault Servetus.

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    • There’s something wild about being able to turn on that favorite performance or see that favorite picture in high definition at any time of day, isn’t there?

      I don’t have internet at home, so I used to be partially safe from that, but it went down the drain when I bought the region-free DVD player. Now I go from my office with the internet to my apartment with the DVDs. I’ve been noticing lately, though, that I am starting not to feel a compulsion to watch him every night. I still do most nights, but it’s not a burning, addictive need the way it was in January.

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  7. feefa – I agree the Internet is to blame for duelling this addiction. For example how would I even find out what else he has done. I also blame DVDs. And of course the chat with other addicts keeps the flames burning. YouTube can shoulder a lot of the blame, and also my iPhone.

    How I cope with it and stop it taking over my life – not very well sometimes but I do try to stop it interfering with work and family time, not always 100% successfully but I am not far off.

    I commute by train every day giving me 2 – 2.5 hours when I can listen to audiobooks without guilt though I find that I actually listen to non-Armitage stuff as frequently.

    Regarding watching shows, the answer is that I don’t – much. I have N&S on my iPhone though.

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    • Of course I meant to say fuelling, not duelling (that’s iPhone error correction for you) but perhaps duelling is actually more appropriate!!!

      I realise I didn’t suggest much to your emailer in terms if how to manage Armitage addiction. I think it depends on the commitments you have and how much it interferes with them, the kind of person you are and your attitude to your addiction (how much of a problem it is to you). Some people are more naturally drawn to become addicts I think.

      I think you have to have an outlet so I wouldn’t go cold turkey unless you really have to, but you could try exercising some kind of discipline upon yourself. Eg limiting yourself to certain times of day, or as a reward to yourself for doing another job well. Another method would be to throw yourself into something else that will act as a distraction. You could also try methods such as cancelling your Internet access, getting rid of DVDs etc but this seems quite a cruel way to proceed. I guess it comes down in the end to understanding what you see as the right balance and then taking steps (even if just baby steps) towards that.

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      • That is a tiring commute — wow. (I know a Californian would see that as normal, but my commute is seven-twenty minutes depending on traffic).

        It does seem cruel to have to cut oneself off from media in general to tame Armitagemania. It might be necessary, though.

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        • The commute is not so bad and is broken up, car, train, tube, walk. It’s 1 1/4 hours each way, but I have done longer commutes by car. Eg 2 hours each way which I did part time for a year then full time for a year and a half. I won’t do that again!

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  8. Balance is definitely the key. As are respect for the actor and his work.

    After 5-6 months of “excitement” generated initially by N&S and RH, investigating the Net for more information and checking sites and blogs, I finally try to limit time to early morning and evening. (I try,she says…) ๐Ÿ™‚

    Features of the best blogs (this being one), are the courtesy of bloggers and commenters, the respect for the actor, interesting in-depth discussion of his work, and the varied directions in which the discussions tend. Mr. A’s wardrobes to tailoring etc. indeed! Feeding Mr. A and our favourite regional meals and recipes!

    One’s own self-awareness can definitely assist in providing the balance between obsession and just plain good fun. And blogs such as this go a long way in that process.

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    • Of course I am going to say this, since it’s my blog, but I also think that attempting to intellectualize, analyze, and learn are good ways of handling the mania. If we can’t stop the fascination, at least we can channel it in productive directions, right?

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  9. I wanted to add one more thing. I do enjoy the the “community.” For me, it is less about “the crush” and more about what everyone is saying about the posts. At this point, five years later, ๐Ÿ™‚ I am more interested in reading the posts and the comments, than the actual RA news.

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    • This is one thing that has really surprised me. On days when other stuff is going on that cannot be ignored, I miss seeing Mr. Armitage on screen, but I just as much miss reading what you guys have to say and talking to you. So Armitagemania has created a new community for me, one in which certain things that I feel and think that would not really fit in my real life are understood and accepted. I don’t kid myself about how this would work if you were all in my real life — we center on one issue here and I purposely filter out things that could separate us, like politics, from my comments — but it’s wonderful to feel accepted on this particular issue.

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    • I agree Rob, a big part is the community. I also feel soemtimes I’m not as eager to look up news (I know in either of the blogs I visit I’ll find out) as to know what you think about it, how you feel, are you excited as I am?
      It is wonderful to have a crush/be a fangurl and be able to relate and share.

      OML ๐Ÿ™‚

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  10. The proposal scene from “North and South” popped up as a recommended video while I was watching “Sense and Sensibility 2008” on YouTube. I had no idea what it was or who RA was but I watched just that scene and he broke my heart. I looked it up on Wikipedia but didn’t think it would be my cup of tea. My two favorite period films are “Amadeus” and “The Age of Innocence” so I’m admittedly pretty persnickety about what I like. My step-mother badgered me until I finally watched it and it was pretty much all over for me then. A few Guy of Gisborne fan vids and fan fics later and here I am.

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    • Sounds like your step-mother is also a fan!

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      • She is, which is a little strange. While I’m enjoying the camraderie of fans on the internet hearing the woman who married my dad wax poetic about RA’s voice is a wee bit creepy sometimes.

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  11. My love is for his characters especially for Thornton, Gisborn and Standring. I did go through a stage where I thought it was RA himself I loved. Loving a real person I have never met it not possible, and any real person will be flawed. I love the fictional characters because they are perfect in all their imperfections. Fanticies which include RA’s characters also include some sort of me which is perfect and perfectly flawed. Know what I mean???

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    • Yeah — it’s a hard line to draw because of Mr. Armitage’s acting style, I think, but my fantasies about his characters are a lot more detailed than the rather lame fantasies I have about him, and I think it’s because I know a lot more about his characters than about him.

      He’s fantastic at portraying the flaws in the characters he plays.

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  12. I first saw RA in “North and South” on US Public Television, 2004 or 2005. I loved him and the series and bought the DVD, but never really visited the RA fan forums or blogs. I watched him next on Robin Hood, and kept watching because of the gorgeous man in leather, Guy of Gisborne, my second favorite RA character. I followed RA through YouTube vids once in a while. I was already a fan of Spooks/MI-5 from the start of the series, but fell in love with Lucas North through Netflix and Series 7. But my more dedicated RA fandom now at this moment really started this spring. I was, and still am, in a very sad point in my life and alone at home was looking for something, anything, to bring me comfort for a minute or two. Nothing I had used before, favorite books,movies, etc., was helping me in any way. Then one sad and lonely weekend I suddenly thought of Richard Armitage and “North and South”. I hadn’t revisited this series for a few years. What a revelation! I spent a weekend watching and crying over John and Margaret and suddenly a cloud lifted in my soul. But it was more than just N&S, it was Richard Armitage! I was, and am, suddenly drawn to him in a wonderful way. What a lovely man…in every way. So here I am now checking out the blogs every day, I’ve even joined the Army! Will it last, I don’t know, there’s only one other actor I’ve ever followed in this way for many years, and still do. But for now, RA is what I need to make my life a little brighter and help me find my “new normal” moving forward. My advise, reach out for whatever gives you a bit of “escape” from the trails and tribulations of life. Enjoy it and have fun with it…

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    • What you describe plays a central role in my situation, as well, Musa. Assuming our correspondent wanted to end it, closer examination of the reasons why she turns to Armitage might make it easier for her to deal with her fascination, then.

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  13. I’ve been following RA’s work for well over 3 years. Like Musa above, there was a kind of solace I gained from watching VoD and N&S at a particularly difficult time in my life. I joined the fansites and read his messages and that was what hooked me fairly comprehensively. Nowadays, despite still visiting the sites daily, and writing a blog, I am finding less and less to talk about. I guess this is the consequence of there being a dearth of RA activity recently, and I have seen and watched practically all his work a number of times to the point where I could quite easily repeat part of the script.

    I’ve had some wonderful conversations onlne with fellow fans and enjoy the humour. Recently though I have picked up a sense of tetchiness on some of the threads on the fan forums which has served to distance me – I encounter enough of that in RL. I’ve therefore been contuinung to read the blogs and have been also reading and watching a number of works that are totally non RA related.

    In response to the original post therefore, I think for me there has come a time when the initial enthusiasm has waned a little. it may re-ignite with a new work however … time will tell. As we have all commented numerous times, an innocent crush is quite harmless – it’s when it becomes a full blown obsession, boundaries are breached and people try to get close to RA offxcreen that it becomes harmful :).

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  14. It’s always distressing when something that’s supposed to be fun turns into a bone of contention.

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  15. Great post / discussion and interesting comments! I don’t have much to add except to reiterate what Mulubina said – although all this RA stuff ought to remain light hearted and fun, I wonder if “as a community” we ought to be more mindful, concerned and proactive about those in the community with full blown obsession – do we have a duty of care here? To help those whose obsession has drifted into unhealthy territory? To do/say anything other than being encouraging of fandom risks spoiling the fun and being labeled a party pooper. Some friendly, fun yet genuinely informative/educational material about managing, moderating and monitoring ones obsession might be useful. Whether this is actually a genuine problem/issue out there, I do not know.

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    • I actually think we DO have a duty of care, even to people we don’t know personally, but it’s hard because we only know each other on the internet. One thing I said to my correspondent was that she needs to find support IRL, and I said that just because one can tell so little from an email message. I do think we have an obligation to tell people when we think they might be going over the top, BUT I also think it’s hard to tell when that might be, AND I think it has to be done in the kindest possible way. There seems to be an internet mobbing dynamic at work in a lot of fan encounters that disturbs me. People become so convinced of their stances and nothing stands in their way because they are not interacting with actual people.

      I do think when someone asks seriously for help or advice we are obligated to do our best, even if our best is saying “you need help from someone who knows you personally.”

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      • I think we have a duty of care too. Tricky to know when and how to intervene, though, as you say.

        Perhaps this is your new career, servetus? Online counselling for RA fanatics!

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  16. Skully, you bring up a good point. I’ve been attached to a few different fandoms over the years and they all have their obesessors, especially the ones where the Object of Admiration is more open to fan contact. Unfortunately there is nothing really that can be done because a.) we’re all on the internet and so we don’t really know what’s going on and b.) those in the grips of an obsession don’t want to hear about it. I could tell you stories that would make your jaw drop about fans — otherwise normal people — who have paid good money for cigarette butts smoked by their OofA, who have maintained against all proof to the contrary that LeadingMan is REALLY the father of LeadingLady’s child and not her husband because that kind of screen chemistry must come from somewhere, who have called the children of their OofA derogatory names because they hated OofA’s mate. It gives us all a bad name and it annoys me, but what can we do? It actually took me a long time to register on the Armitage Army and C19 forums because of a message RA sent to the fans in which he wrote that he felt that he had to “rap knuckles again.” What? I don’t know what happened and I don’t want to bring up something that is probably long settled but why in the world would RA be prevailed upon to settle a dispute among fans who are all presumably adults? It really gave me pause. I’m glad now that I did but it took me a couple of months.

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    • I might have issues with finding balance, RA demands to much my respect. I still regard him as a stranger but I’m objectifying his performances. I have been a fan of another actor (not the one I mentioned earlier) I allowed myself to believe I “knew”. That person stressed enough in interviews that it was the character and couldn’t take any credit which made me realize that we as viewers add so much more. I have been wondering ( oh geez, we’re supposed to talking cures!) to what extend do we transpose Richard’s performance as Richard onto his characters?

      Cures I’ve thought about or better call it remedies, but haven’t managed yet.
      Designate one blog a day, perhaps another if time is spread out.
      Set timer for half an hour. If I ever do find that cure, I’ll be sure to bottle it! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Must confess that WordPress has been messing with my mind because no matter me checking email notification each time, I am
      not getting any! Dr. S & RA you’d let me know if I comment over my limit, right???

      And to think earlier I originally only wanted to say:
      “I’m sorry, I can’t answer that question”

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      • We absolutely read Richard and his characters back and forth. Absolutely. And some of his characters back and forth on each other. And then fanfic authors read those elements into fan fiction. This was why I started writing about “how we can know who Richard Armitage is,” because I felt like all these levels of perception were uncomfortably conflated.

        Don’t know why wordpress would cut off comments, iz4blue — there is no comment limit here.

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    • I believe it was something on the IMDB forum that caused that controversy that led to Rich making those remarks. However I am sure RAFrenzy can correct me if I am wrong.

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    • Yeah, I read that, too, at the beginning of my fan experience, and it bugged me as well, even without knowing what happened, because the statement implies it’s happened more than once.

      He has enough to do without having to settle disputes between fans. At the same time, his interactions with fans have been one of the more interesting facets of his career. That fan reports uniformly confirm his kindness / niceness / generosity is certainly part of his charm.

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  17. I find it interesting that when reading the comments that most people take part in this for the exact same reasons, people join organized religion — for either a sense of community or because they are going throu challenging times and need the extra support.

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    • …and there are even dogmas that one has to believe that in turn cause controversy. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • So so true. Religion isn’t the problem, it is man’s interpretation, which can then turn the word into the dogma.

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        • There are definitely orthodox beliefs and heresies in Armitageworld.

          For me, one significant difference in this community vs. my religious community is that I have a higher degree of affinity with others in Armitageworld — or seek it, anyway. For me the community in religion is a secondary matter. (I realize that makes me differ from a lot of Americans.) I would practice the religion anyway. I’m not sure I’d adhere to the dogma of Armitageworld if it weren’t so constitutive of our community.

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  18. I think, that if one develops an absolutely absurd crush on a particular actor (Honestly – where’s my head?!), that certain blogs are about community, too. What I find intriguing with this and a couple of other RA blogs, is that someone always notices something I hadn’t, in performance, in photography, production in general. And that adds to my own initial perceptions.

    There are couple of other blogs, which are RA, but also about books and authors and history, not necessarily related to this actor.

    Which is something for which interest in Mr. Armitage has been a catalyst; that expandsion into discussions with others on related/semi-related etc. topics. Which makes it not THAT absurd? (She rationalises ๐Ÿ™‚ )

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  19. […] to own everything he’s done or even to have seen everything he’s done to be great fan. I referred briefly yesterday to my perception that a certain sort of fan dogma surrounds Armitage — and a resulting […]

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  20. It will have been a year this month since I first clapped eyes on season 3 Guy on BBC America. I think it was episode two where he rides into Locksley like a complete brute and has Kate’s brother dragged off. I thought “Whoa there, who IS that?!” And so it began. It is funny since that is one of the less appealing Guy moments. But I always love the villans.

    My obsession has not slacked off since then. I suppose it is maintained at a reasonable level, but that is really in the eye of the beholder (I’m sure I’d be a complete nut to some!) I have been a fan of other actors in the past, so am no stranger to such obsessions, but this man seems to really take the cake as far as being worthy of my attention. I’m not really sure how long this obsession will run for (they have always died off gradually or been replaced) but I’m guessing that it has a while longer to go, to say the least. Sorry, that this doesn’t help the correspondent much.

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    • Thanks, darkjackal, and welcome. I think it helps her just to know that other people have similar problems.

      Armitagemania seems to be a relatively long-lasting obsession, though, which your experience confirms.

      It’s hard to define reasonable when it comes to an obsession. When it begins to bother oneself, I suppose.

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  21. I’ve been truly madly deeply head over heels in love with Richard for four years now, and accept that I am absolutely addicted. And it’s getting worse. Sometimes watching him on DVD is the only thing that keeps me sane and calms my soul after a frantic day at work. It doesn’t make you fat or kill your liver, and sometimes living in our fantasy world is a hell of a lot better than living in the real one, so where’s the harm? He is unbelievably gorgeous and wonderfully talented. Why on earth would you want to calm this obsession? Revel in it, soak up every delicious expression on his beautiful face – he is one in a million and we have exceptional taste.

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    • I have to admit that I am from time to time bothered by the amount of time I spend thinking about him. It’s not strictly speaking bad for me, it’s just worrying to be so preoccupied. I think that’s the sentiment my correspondent was expressing.

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  22. It’s like an adult version of a fuzzy blanket. I go to N&S when I need to get to my happy place. He’s like a balm for a wounded soul. No kiding, after watching N&S or RH life always seems a little bit better.

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  23. Er, the “rap knuckles” thing: as I understand it an S&M fanfic about Guy of Gisborne and Marian appeared on one of the fan boards, and it was apparently pretty graphic. Some people on the board went barking and didn’t just report it to the owners of the board, but wrote to RA himself. He put a message out saying something like “Remember that young people read the boards and don’t do anything inappropriate”–it was kind of veiled. I think the message board had to get rid of all their Mature fanfic and put it on another site in order to keep the board going. I think the experience must have upset him a lot. Someone who had been less close to his fans might have turned fans’ complaints over to a PA or somebody but he seemed to feel that the best thing to do would be to address fans directly. I don’t know if the messages are still there. I wonder if he read the piece and was horrified by it! The tone of the message was kind of weary, as if he was thinking “One more fan conflict! I’m sick of it!”

    You know what I wonder? Sometimes a fandom goes into shock because they learn something really unexpected about an actor, something that disillusions them about his personal life. I don’t think that many people had any idea that Mel Gibson’s brain was a bin full of racist rubbish when he first became a star and gained a huge following of admiring women, say. I feel SURE that Richard Armitage doesn’t have any skeletons in his closet because he’s obviously a nice man, deplores S & M, suggests contributions to charities and . . . wait just a moment; I don’t really know much about Richard Armitage as a person at all. Some of the things I do know make me think he’s got genuine good qualities, and I really want him to be the nice bloke I think he is, but how can I know?

    If the context to this post is “How does a person stop thinking about him all the time?” I’m pondering this question: would our attitudes toward him change if we learned something genuinely unsavoury about him? Would it be hard to engage in our fantasies about the characters he plays if that happened? How much of our admiration of Richard Armitage is an admiration of a man we think we know, but really don’t know very well? How much of it is a desire to inhabit fantasies with his characters, and who cares about what he’s like as a person?

    I guess if it was unsavoury enough his fans might think “He’s disgusting! I don’t want to watching anything he’s been in just now!” There! Problem solved! All we have to do is persuade him to pursue sheep in a lustful manner, or dismember people, and we won’t think about him all the time!

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    • Thanks for the info. I had not heard this story before. I know you meant your final suggestion in a humorous way — so I’ll say he wouldn’t actually have to pursue sheep with intent to corrupt, just say that he liked to. ๐Ÿ™‚ Under the rubric of “not getting Mr. Armitage involved in resolving our problems,” maybe we should tell people to think about the possibility that he would do that as a means of turning them off — like they tell men with PE to think of dead babies as a means to lengthening their stamina. ๐Ÿ™‚

      (Hope we haven’t shocked anyone.)

      This is such a fascinating contribution that I’d like to make it the subject of an independent post, but I’m afraid of the sort of discussion it might engender. It transgresses on a fair amount of the dogma of Armitageworld. If I ask, “what thing could you discover about Richard Armitage that would make you feel differently about him?” I am going to get a lot of answers that I don’t want to read — people confessing that the dealbreaker for them would be something I consider totally trivial, for instance. Or they might deplore something in general that I think is deplorable under certain circumstances (particular sexual practices might be an example, though how we all got the idea that it’s legitimate to be so interested in the details of each others’ sex lives in the last two decades is a mystery to me). Maybe if I can figure out a way to narrow it down a bit I can ask that in future. It could be helpful to him — he could find out what transgressive political opinion or hobby would scare people off, and when he was ready to end his career, he could take up that cause. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I think he’s been pretty smart to stick, in his public opinions, to things that we can all get behind. We don’t know how he votes, for instance, and I am really grateful not to know.

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  24. I too wouldn’t advocate a discussion of what he might do to disgust different posters, in part because it might leave us knowing too much about other posters!

    Some fans were pretty put off when he told a journalist about his first sexual experience and how he didn’t even much like the girl or think he’d been any good at what he was doing. It was pretty clear that he thought he was off the record and was entrapped into imagining he could speak frankly about something that happened 20 years or so before and was ancient history, but she printed it and some fans were not impressed because the girl would have been recognizable to his schoolmates. I think it was very uncomfortable for him to be so unbuttoned, as it were–an uncomfortable-seeming message came out the next day. But I’ve seen posts on a message board generated by seeing an old picture of him taking a break on that dire-looking Roman movie; he’s holding a cigarette and has written a note on the picture saying that he’s taking a fag break (fag as in British slang for cigarette, of course). Discussion ensued about how posters feel this is an OLD picture, he runs now, he certainly couldn’t run if he smoked, obviously he smoked only very casually or had long since given it up, he doesn’t smoke now. People were doing absolutely everything they could to persuade themselves that Richard Armitage, their Richard Armitage, the one they feel they know, could not POSSIBLY be a smoker today. If he is, they couldn’t accept even THAT, and smoking is a perfectly legal pastime, though one I don’t like much. I thought about how it must sometimes be a bit of a burden to live up to fans’ expectations if you’re not Kevin Spacey and you actually care what fans think of you, and I think RA does.

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    • I find endlessly interesting how fans react to the article you mention. When I read it, I thought, “how interesting and amazingly open of him,” and then I thought, “hmm, the girl doesn’t come off very well,” and then I thought, “but she kind of deserves it if she deflowered it and then told all their friends.” I thought more potentially damaging the statement that he never thought his drama school gf was the one — just because he stated in the article that they were still friends. (This must be one amazingly secure woman, I have to say, whoever she is.)

      I don’t get the mania over whether he smokes at all. That’s come up several times. But I am hostile to Puritanism of all sorts. Context, context, context, folks.

      It speaks well of him that he has shown care for what his fans think. He’s not exploitative of his fans in the least, unlike some Hollywood stars one could name.

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  25. Wow. What a hornet’s nest. I think the less we “know” about him the better. I find when I watch the behind the scenes with actors, it totally breaks the illusion for me.

    I think he is prob a quiet unassuming guy with excellent manners. He is really focused on his career to the detriment of his personal life. How do I know any of this? I don’t. It is me projecting these attributes to him.

    I’d hope that fans could see him as a human being with failings just like the rest of us. He’s human. Even if he appears larger than life on TV.

    @Sev I’d be interested to read your post on this, still waiting for the “darkest fantsies” post. BTW I googled your moniker that servetus was a rightous dude to challenge the calvinist. I want to read his writings.

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    • that was how I initially felt about the N&S interview — that it strongly detracted from his performance in the production. Now that I understand its place in his professional development, I get it a little more.

      I’m hoping to get a lot of stuff out over the weekend. Today was a wash. I taught, and I got interrupted regularly, and then I had a very heady two hour conversation that gave me a lot of food for thought, and since then I’ve had nothing but a stream of visitors. And it’s half past 7! Thankfully, the worst offender, my friend and colleague the former Cambridge professor, is off to Blighty now, so hopefully this will be a very productive weekend. I love him to death, but he’s always stopping to chat.

      Yeah, Servetus. He was crazy — and so convinced of what he believed and its rightness that his insistence eventually got himself killed. There are certain metaphorical parallels. But for those who dislike the Reformed church he is a sort of folk hero. His books were burned by all Christians — I believe that only three copies remain extant of his most important work.

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  26. There’s been an on-again, off-again discussion of his chest hair or lack thereof, weirdly enough, and until the issue was settled for good in Strike Back, it seemed like some people were bizarrely invested in insisting he had no chest hair, as if RA having chest hair . . . kind of natural on a man his age . . . would pop their bubble. So they insisted he was hairless. They really, really cared. No wonder he waxed for so long. I gave a little cheer when I saw that he’d outed himself as an actual grown up man with chest hair in Strike Back. People’s expectations and desires for him and for lots of other celebrities may seem like a prison at times. You can’t have chest hair, you can’t smoke . . .

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  27. To hair is human… Sorry for the bad joke. Couldn’t resist. Bady hair is normal our obession with removing it is abnormal.

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  28. […] edgy feeling, like the ones published in US women’s magazines, this post will disappoint you. This problem — preoccupation with Armitage or the news about Armitage — has been known t…. Doing that may be difficult or near impossible for those of us who have to work with a browser […]

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  29. […] you’re concerned about your fandom in ways that you can’t deal with in the fandom, then it’s time to talk to someone about it (and not just me or other fans — here are some of …. I use this blog as therapy, as many fans use the fandom, but if you’re so seriously troubled […]

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  30. […] and needed to separate themselves from Armitage. I used to get a question about that from time to time. Or someone would leave with the explanation that her partner couldn’t handle her […]

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