Sheltering Armitage: or, Whence the protective impulses?

[12/29/10: ETA: JUST TO SHOW THE JOKE’S ON ME I WENT THROUGH AND COPYEDITED MYSELF THIS AFTERNOON. — SERVETUS]

This question’s been on my mind a lot every since I started reading Armitage’s press, in which he occasionally comments on the protectiveness of his fans, and now we finally have a concrete, new context in which to discuss it.

Lucas North (Richard Armitage) gazes down in open pain as Sarah Mitchell keens over the dead body of her son in Spooks 7.6. My cap. Armitage characters seem to take it on the chin for a disproportionate amount of the time, and their emotional reactions to the their fates are written on their faces. So much Armitage character fanfic involves the protective, caring impulses of Mary Sues. When we want to protect Armitage, are we responding to the vulnerabilities he gives his characters? Or to something about him?

The occasion: The “Christmas message.” That we all geek out over, though perhaps our geeking out itself is a little silly. That relieved both me and Frenz. That screams out for interpretation with its citations and its references to double negatives. That I didn’t want to interpret for fear of being taken seriously. pi, in a typically incisive and elegant post, reads that there is still some there, there, in Mr. Armitage’s words — that the relative innocent and the complex artist hasn’t haven’t been fully erased by his oh-so-smooth publicist, yet. (And I wonder: is this the last or penultimate year where this style of communication will be possible for him and us? What will happen after The Hobbit premieres?) As usual, and as her blog subtitle notes, the comment’s outside the box, which makes it particularly interesting. She also mimes mimics Mr. Armitage’s style, which is impressive.

Mrs. Thornton (SinΓ©ad Cusack) straightens the tie and coat of her son (Richard Armitage) before he goes out to work for the day in episode 1 of North & South. Source: Richard Armitage Central Gallery. To what extent are Armitage fans channeling Mrs. Thornton, who believes the best of her son and gets aggressive when anyone hurts him?

But my question today relates to a conversation I’ve had a few times in the last few days, in which the pattern is that first no one says anything about the mechanics of Mr. Armitage’s message, and then someone admits that they she noticed some grammatical and mechanical errors in it, and then someone else admits that they have she has to hold back their her impulse to correct the errors, and then someone else says that the mistakes are sweet, and that of course his education concerned things other than the placement of apostrophes.

Having recently graded thousands of pages of undergraduate prose, and having whined about at least three of the errors Mr. Armitage made, I have my own opinions on this topic. One is that speaking and writing language are two different skills. Both require practice. One suspects Mr. Armitage gets more practice in one than in the other. A second is that the use of the apostrophe in English is sufficiently confusing to confound plenty of otherwise bright people, and it’s a frequent error in the student writing I read. (One almost wishes that we could follow the much less complicated rules for its employment in German, although Germans also experience difficulties with it nowadays, apparently.) A third is that my experience suggests that for whatever reason (I have no desire to discuss whether this phenomenon is biological or cultural or a combination of both, I merely observe it), on average, though there are certainly exceptions, the men in my classes display more difficulties with mastering the mechanical and grammatical conventions of written English than the women do. And, of course, grammar and mechanics are popularly attributed to the left brain, and despite the crudity of that dichotomy as it’s understood in the popular press (it doesn’t describe me very well, for instance), probably most of us read Mr. Armitage as a right brainer. Presumably texting will eventually do away with the apostrophe; since I’ve started doing it I’ve noticed a decreasing reliance on punctuation as that involves three extra button strokes to accomplish.

But my own reaction follows the pattern above. I notice the mistakes, I don’t say anything, I admit that they’re there, I want to correct them, and then I end by giving him a pass on the basis that he left formal academics at the age of seventeen. And on the basis that the errors are so inimitably his that I’d rather read this message from him than something with correct mechanics that had been supervised by a copy editor. If this is the one close-to-personal thing that we get from Mr. Armitage in a year, the errors are evidence of the closeness of the text to the speaker, and for that reason attractive, even indispensable.

But the pattern of the reaction bugs me. For me in particular: I’m an oldest child and a big sister who did watch out for her little brother, and I could be Mr. Armitage’s big sister (he’d fit precisely into the gap between me and my brother), so that reaction is pre-programmed. But he’s not my sibling, and many of the impulses I have when watching him are hardly familial. (Unless you consider the impulse to strip off your clothes and engage forthwith, tumultuously, in rather violent procreation, to be familial. Cough. A different kind of familial, I guess. Cough again.) But I do have the protective impulse myself. It shows up in my case when I see him badly dressed (see photo at right). And I wonder where it comes from. Do George Clooney’s fans want to protect him?

Are we Armitage fans peculiarly protective of our wish object? And if so, why? What is about Mr. Armitage that brings out the defender, the mother, the sister, in so many of us? Why will I forgive his writing errors when they’d be a turn-off in any man I met in real life?

~ by Servetus on December 28, 2010.

129 Responses to “Sheltering Armitage: or, Whence the protective impulses?”

  1. Servetus, you made me laugh.

    “and many of the impulses I have when watching him are hardly familial. (Unless you consider the impulse to strip off your clothes and engage forthwith, tumultuously, in rather violent procreation, to be familial. Cough”

    I feel protective of him too. That photo of him really brings out the ???what???not mother…..maybe Lilith earth mother. But is it really protective that we feel? We had among many construction workers who built our new house, two (Lanny and Brian) who brought out the same juices that RA brings. I wished them well and would have kept them several nights from the foggy dew had I been raised differently. So maybe protective isn’t quite right for what we feel for RA.

    Anyway, I have two questions. What do RA’s leading ladies say about their experience with our hero?
    AND When RA is showing the emotions he shows, is he actually looking at the camera rather than a person???

    • I agree that the impulse to protection and the impulse to fornication are not entirely separate πŸ™‚ and I also want to protect the men I love. Though some of them appear to need this from me more than others. Mr. Armitage has a bit of a “little boy” vibe, doesn’t he? Especially in the very thin S7 Lucas guise.

      I think sometimes he is looking at others, but I don’t think he’s ever looking at the camera directly in his roles. Actors are not supposed to do that, right?

      • There is something eternally youthful about him to me, a certain boyishness, playfulness–and yes, when he was sort of pleading with Harry for something to do while they were there in the washroom, there was something so little boy-like and vulnerable about Lucas. Tugs at my heart.

        • And also something that says “old soul,” I think. A beguiling combination.

          • Oh, absolutely. The childlike quality, but not immaturity at all, linked with that very centered sort of pysche. It’s such a lovely combination. Makes him seem ageless, somehow.

      • I don’t know what actors are supposed to do, Servetus. Before Armitage I had no interest in them. The little boy appears in his very early pix and I don’t have the same feelings about him as a little boy that I have since he turned 30.

        • mary lou,

          I think he really “came into his own” in his 30s–appearance-wise and in terms of his development as an actor and a person. He seems more comfortable in his own skin, and shows a quiet, unassuming self-confidence I find really appealing. Some actors try to convince you with how sexy and alluring and magnetic they are–he simply–IS.

        • a mature taste for a mature woman? πŸ™‚

  2. Why do I have so strong an impulse to be so protective towards the man, considering he is a grown man not of my actual acquaintance, approaching 40, intelligent, capable and resourceful, not some dull-witted child or vulnerable youth who needs looking after?

    And of course, there are legions of other women who seem to feel the same way about him: eager to champion him, anxious no ill should be spoken of or done to him, worrying he works too hard (Is he eating right? Taking his vitamins? Have I lost my mind??)

    He has referred to his fans as “motherly” before, and like you, Servetus, this impulse to protect and shelter him does NOT come from any desire to be his “mummy.” Er—no. No, indeed.

    No, make all the jokes about Alabama you want, but I don’t want to do the things I’ve considered doing with him to any blood relation, trust me.

    I am actually the youngest in my family, and have no children, so I can’t say he brings forth the emotions of a protective older sibling or parent in me.
    However, I do definitely have a sort of Mother Hen quality in me; I nurture my assorted and sundry pets (who think they are human) and I want to protect and sometimes coddle those I love, like my dear husband, from harm, even though he will remind me he is 51 and perfectly capable of taking care of himself, too LOL

    All the terrible things my parents and in-laws went through really brought out the nurturing side of me, the desire to protect them fro pain and harm, some of which happened before my RAMania took over and some of it after the fact.

    You’ve said Richard’s characters often endure a lot of heartache; sometimes, I think, I could imagine him being very understanding of what I was going through. Maybe that is part of what drew me to him, I don’t know.

    I know how much I wanted to tell him, to let him know, that seeing him, hearing him, helped me through those long, torturous final days with my mom. Is it because he’s helped me, albeit unknowingly and indirectly, that I want to somehow “help” him?

    I cannot get over this sense he is a very special human being and a standout in the world of often superficial celebrity. The fact he has kept up the Christmas messages–and yes, who knows if this will be the last?–speaks volumes to me. How many other actors do or would be bothered to do the same for their fans, I wonder?

    When he urges us to do good and be better people, I think it’s not just idle speech. I believe he means it, and that really touches me.

    As to the issue of his grammatical skills, you are so right, Servetus. I work with a very bright and talented young man with a college degree in journalism and a minor in English. Bless his heart, he can’t get those darned apostrophes sorted out.

    I count myself lucky I had many wonderful English teachers and a vast assortment of books at home. They must have done something right, as I managed to CLEP all my Freshman English for college. The down side to that accomplishment is I haven’t had an English grammar course since 10th grade. I was taking writing and literature courses after that in high school and lots of lit in college.

    He is a great communicator, and yes, I will give him a pass on any dodgy writing skills he might possess. Darn it, I have been looking for ways in which he perhaps ISN’T perfect, and here is one! At last!*grin*

    • Something you bring out here that I hadn’t thought about was the impulse to “help” someone who’s helped us so much — not least because his own messages so stress the “give back” theme. Good thinking.

      Yes, perfect writing does not equal intelligence, of which there are many kinds (and not everyone who’s mastered the conventions of writing is all that smart). And — this killed me — the rules change!

      • I think when someone has been good to us in some way, shown us a kindness especially when life is most difficult for us, there is a natural (well, for most people) desire to return that in kind. I see that even in my work.

        If you’ve been shown generosity, it is easier to in turn, show it to others.

        Personally, I’m an idiot when it comes to higher math (and who had to count and roll quarters today when the office manager needed to leave due to illness in her family? Me. Well, that sort of math, I can do!)Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. What was it Will Rogers said? Everyone is a genius or expert in some area and everybody is an idiot in some area, something along those lines.

        You can be a good technical writer and bore the pants off your readers.
        And yes, the rules do indeed change!! Curses!

        • The CMS changed the apostrophe rules in the US in just the last five years. Hugely annoying. I took on a job as the editor of a professional publication and it makes me want to pull my teeth out — first because the rule changed, and now because I have to explain it to all the authors.

          • AP style has mercifully stayed pretty much the same, but I had to learn it on the job, as I did not have training in journalism in college and it differs quite a bit from other types of writing.

            • I have a hard time making clear to people that punctuation is not a moral question. British authors dislike the serial comma, for example, and feel that they will be misunderstood if they have to conform to the US comma in US publications. I wish I could just immunize everyone on this issue, it would save a lot of time.

    • Like angieklong, I’m the youngest in the family and have no children, so I really have no business feeling like an older sister. But surely a younger sister can feel protective of her older siblings too? And the Mother Hen thing as well. Basically, your comment really resonated with me, angie. πŸ™‚

      With regards to RA’s message, I didn’t really take any notice, even though I get into hissy fit mode if someone uses apostrophes in the wrong places in Swedish. (“Years” would be correct but “Year’s” definitely wouldn’t, but Sweden’s so Anglified nowadays that a lot of people will write “Richard’s” like in English when it goshdarnit is supposed to be “Richards”.)

      As for the serial comma – I think I’m very inconsistent in my use. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t. Haven’t really thought about it, although you’re not supposed to use it in Swedish – I remember that much! πŸ™‚

      • Traxy,

        One of my older sisters is visually impaired (since birth) due to a disease called toxomplasmosis transmitted through my mother. It remains dormant in the body and flares up periodically, greatly affecting the vision during the flare up. She had a major flare when she was 14. I remember sitting beside her at age 8 reading her civics book aloud to her, tripping over words like “totalitariansim.” It was such a bonding experience–we were already close–and it made me feel that much closer and yes, protective of her. Definitely, younger siblings can feel be “Mother Hens” about older siblings.

  3. I have to confess I wasn’t bothered in the least about the mechanics of his message or any grammatical errors (maybe because I’m imperfect that way myself-LOL). I was moved by the message in part because of how informal it is in many ways, how conversational it is – an email message to a group of friends about what’s going on in his life but also to thank us and wish us well at the end of another year. I would have been less moved had it been a more perfect and formal message. (I think many people these days dispense with formalities when writing email messages to each other anyway). The message was so very “him” I thought, from the humor, to the Oscar Wilde quote, to the little clues and asides about what he’ll be doing, to the confession of fear about letting us down…so many little things…I think I loved it because of it’s imperfections. I would have hated it if we had received a formal message clearly crafted by his press agent.

    I’m more interested in his many messages behind the message! I haven’t deciphered them all, or most, but keep thinking about them. He has a tendency to talk that way also, though I think we often miss the little clues he gives us as to his future plans, and his feelings, and etc.-LOL

    Why the protectiveness? Maybe because the more I see him and listen and read his interviews the more I like him as a person. I find him interesting as an artist and interested in the world as a person. He’s more to me than a beautiful face and body and a magic voice. I feel a certain vulnerability there, it really comes accross in many of his roles, but also a “vibe” I feel from him when being himself. I feel a connection there, even if I know I don’t really know the man. Now, is it all an act for our benefit? Well, I’m old enough to be always skeptical, but I hope not. I think not!

    • @Musa, very well said, I agree with everything you’ve said! I am very imperfect myself. I think he has included some of the mistakes, if not all, on purpose. It is very easy to do a spell check before sending the msg, and the reason why there are always spelling errors in his msgs shows he wants them there. πŸ˜‰ That said, I love the imperfections, deliberate or not.

      Re protectiveness, I also feel the same way. It’s definitely not just about having a beautiful face with that chocolate voice; there really are so other many beautiful faces around. I do feel protective of him, but not in a motherly way. I do not worry about his eating habits or fashion mishaps, but I feel protective when I feel he or his intentions might have been misunderstood by others. But, I am aware that I could have interpreted them equally wrongly but just in a different way.

      We have yet crack the Armitage Code!

      • @Riv good point about feeling protective of his intentions being misunderstood. Love the mystery of the “Armitage Code” as well.

      • Spell check, in my experience, multiplies errors for many writers. Just saying. All my students have spell and grammar check on their computers and writing continues to get worse. I think this is happening because all that spellcheck does is offer you options: you still have to know which one to pick.

        He definitely gives us plenty to puzzle about with these cryptic messages — and you’re right about the worrying about him being misunderstood.

        • Here’s my motto about spellcheck: NEVER, EVER assume it’s always right. Because quite often it isn’t. If you don’t have a good grasp of spelling and grammar to begin with, it can seriously lead one astray.

          Case in point: a former page composer here at the paper had great computer skills but his spelling? Not so wonderful. He lays out a page featuring a photo of a dignitary speaking at the local middle school. He types in the cutline, making reference to the speaker noting what “well-mannered students” attended the school.

          Only he doesn’t type in “well-mannered;” he types in “well-manured.” Hey, it IS spelled correctly! Passes spellcheck with flying colors.

          The principal was NOT amused. In case anybody wonders, manure is waste product from farm animals. Makes great fertilizer, but you don’t want to coat your children in it!

          • So that’s why those kids were so tall!

            Seriously, one thing that spell check could be programmed to do better is alert the user to the appearance of homonyms and ask whether the version in the doc is the one the writers wishes to use. That might not have saved your editor, of course, depending on how well it was programmed.

            • Miracle-Gro!! That is a good suggestion re honomyms. That was one of his chief areas of weakness. He used “weight” instead of “wait” in a headline once, too and caused many a chuckle. And he’d never admit he made the goof, somehow it was always someone else’s fault–which made no sense since we weren’t holding guns to his head telling him to type the wrong thing in. *shakes head*

              It was after the well-manured incident that we all started typing our own cutlines and continue to do so today. Really cut down on the goofs . . . but they still happen.

              A paper down in Dothan was advertising a job fair at the local army post. It should have said Fort Rucker Job Fair. Well, someone hit an “F” instead of the first “R” in Rucker . . . someone lost their job.

          • ‘well-manured’, LOL!! He misspelled succumb as succomb, I’m sure spellchecker would have picked that up though! I am more inclined to think that he is aware of those errors. He is definitely a more ‘verbal’ person. (I would say I am more numerical than verbal). And, verbal people generally do have a rather good command of language. Plus, he reads a lot and even quotes Wilde. Seeing how detailed he is as an actor, he would be quite the perfectionist or at least pedantic enough proofread a message before sending it. That’s why I think he has intended them to be there. Sort of like a form of self-depreciation.

            If you look at his earlier message (5th August 2008), he has said he included those errors to appear down-to-earth and even joked that he couldn’t possibly be smart enough to do so. (I personally think he is) If anything, this message proves that someone has told him about his errors and the reason why there are still errors in the messages would be because he wants them there. I did not write this to defend his verbal skills, but rather, I believe this to be the case. That said, I can’t confirm it.

            • Riv, I think he has great verbal skills, above and beyond the pleasure I take in listening to that beautiful voice. I love hearing him in recorded interviews, especially as he has become more comfortable with the process, and seeing him on the morning shows. Very intelligent and thoughtful and insightful–and lovely sense of humor.

              You know, Agatha Christie was a very intelligent woman–not a high-brow writer, but extremely good at plotting her stories–and she liked to present herself as a rather dotty, giddy eccentric, rather like Ariadne Oliver, her lady mystery writer character.
              Aggie was very self-depreciating and a very shy and private woman in real life.

              Sometimes RA reminds me a bit of her in his approach to fans and the media. Again, that English aspect of it? Very different from Americans and our affection for tooting our own horns.

            • Writing and speaking are separate skills. When I speak German, in certain parts of the country, on a very good day, I can get mistaken for a native speaker. When I write it, no one would ever do that πŸ™‚ Typing also complicates things a great deal, I’ve learned. I can be convinced that I am keying in one word and something entirely different comes out. And keyboard skills are small motor skills, another separate issue. A decade in the classroom has taught me that some of the most articulate speakers are poor writers when it comes to mechanics. Saying that someone has not mastered the conventions of written English is not the same as saying they lack strong verbal skills.

              Re: messages, I ventured onto the terrain before of trying to sort out when Mr. Armitage is exploiting irony during the early summer, and it caused a lot of annoyance, and I’m not up for provoking any more aggravation today, so I’ll just agree that given varying sense of humor and cultural differences across varying audiences, it’s difficult to tell when he is being serious or not.

            • A few years back someone (I think on IMDb) criticised his spelling and also that some of the gifts he had been send were weird. Shortly after that we got a message with the word “weird” and the word he misspelled in a previous message in capitals.

              It may not be the case any more (and may be better for his sanity) but he used to be very well informed of what peopled discussed online and referred to it in his messages. Only those involved in the discussions in question noticed of course. So you can bet that he is aware that people discuss his spelling and is deliberately not bothering to change it.

              BTW if you want to examine a piece written by him, have look at the Vulpes Libris interview. I believe he was send and answered the questions via email. As grammar and spelling are my weak point as well and I would be lost without a spell checker, I cannot judge it, but I think he can do considerably better than he does in the messages. He wants them to feel like a casually typed note by a friend.

              • My memory of the Vulpes Libris interview is that it reads a little more formal and most definitely better punctuated and spelt (but who wouldn’t make an extra effort on a literary website…).

                What is still pure RA though is his liberal use of quote marks – very idiosyncratic. It personalizes things though, as everyone has said, and that feels special.

                • The constant use of scare quotes (what my students call “bunny ears”) is part of what makes me read him as very ironic in tone, I think.

              • I guess I’d differentiate between spelling the way one spells when one writes and just deciding one doesn’t care to correct it, and deliberately inserting errors in words that one knows how to spell and/or punctuate. I can certainly imagine he’d do the first; the latter seems unlikely to me.

          • Well, it’s a good thing I swallowed my sip of wine already, otherwise my laptop would have received a shower! LOL. A while ago I recieved one of those fun e-mails, with newspaper ”errors” like these. They are always fun, like those with word-play.
            I agree with the comment Musa made; when I read his message it felt like it was informal, between friends. I did not mind the errors. Mind you, I also make a lot of errors, that mostly I spot after the fact because of the fact I should magnify the letters on my screen more (sigh)).
            Am I protective of Mr. Armitage? I’m not sure. I certainly wish him well, but I’m not worried that he eats well, or dresses warmly. I do worry that he is understood, and that he fulfills his dreams. So in a way, yes, I am a bit protective I guess.

        • RE: Spellcheck, I think it makes worse the writing depending on your approach to it. If you don’t care about how well you spell but you do know you just can’t present something with mistakes, you write on your laptop and let the spellcheck change it, not giving it a second thought what was your mistake. If you use a spellcheck and focus on your mistakes, after some corrections you’ll know the correct spelling and you should be able when handwriting to do it well. There are words in english I stopped misspelling after corrections with the spellscheck.

          OML πŸ™‚

          • I found spellcheck quite helpful to me in German — it kept forcing me to look at my dative / accusative errors in the predicates of sentences, but I still had to decide which case to use, which was my problem in the first place, so it’s useful at a fairly high level of examination. It’s a bit surprising to me that it’s not more helpful to native speakers of English.

    • Agree that we don’t want a message that’s been “polished” by the machine. This sort of message underlines the “realness” that we love and that keeps us watching him, I think.

    • @Musa,

      I really think RA’s unassuming, sweet nature is the real thing. Not that I haven’t been fooled along the way in life, but my BS detector has greatly improved with the years, and I don’t see the insincerity in him I see in some public figures. I honestly don’t think it’s just “an act.” I’m not saying he hasn’t become a lot more savvy in interviews, he has, and that’s a good thing, all things considered–but I think that nice, shy stringbean from Leicestershire is still very much in there.

  4. I think it is because he is so expert at showing his vulnerabilities in his roles (baring his soul — if you like) that we can vicariously feel his pain. So the impulse to make him better is really us trying to make ourselves feel better. (Just a thought, I don’t know…)
    As for grammatical errors, they bother me too. One of my favourite books is “Eats Shoots and Leaves”. (I find it hysterically funny! I have even entertained the thought of carrying around a black marker to correct signs. πŸ™‚ ) However, both my father (a fairly literate man, certainly a huge reader) and my husband (only lately a bigger reader) make both spelling and grammatical errors which I might sometimes find annoying, but more often amusing.
    I do think RA’s literary errors make him seem more human and less divine, which as usual makes him even more appealing! The man can do no wrong, because even if he does wrong, we like him even more!! **shakes head in wonder**

    • @phylly3 Re ‘he can do no wrong’, the sooner he realises that, the better it’ll be for him. Why does he worry about letting us down, we know that he never will no matter what he does. πŸ™‚

    • I should explain to Musa and Riv I have no intention of being a Grammar Dictator. I write for a newspaper for a living, and as we have to act as each other’s copy editors as well, proofing for mistakes is part and parcel of what I do in an effort to turn out a professional-looking product and keep winning those awards.
      I also have the wonderful MillyMe as my beta for my current fan fic, and she keeps me in line with using proper British phrases and spellings (so if this American sometimes uses a British English spelling in a blog, it’s all her fault!)

      I’ve done this for almost 11 years, and taught for several years before that, so it’s ingrained in me at this point. I’m like Pavlov’s dog!! If something is going out with my name on it professionally or in fan fic, I want it to be done right, I guess.

      That being said, let me repeat, I was charmed and delighted by Richard’s sweet message, including the errors, because it revealed his humanity (maybe he isn’t actually a Greek god fallen to earth?!), his humor and his personable qualities.

      Trust me, I would never correct the email or note sent me by a friend or family member. I get in a hurry, I get tired, I make goofs, too. We all do. I am finding younger people seem much less certain of what to do with apostrophes, for example–is this some failure in our educational system?

      @Phylly3, I LOVE “Eats Shoots and Leaves,” absolutely hysterical!! I need to re-read that . . .

      • Oh, there’s no need to explain @angieklong! It doesn’t bother me personally because I often make stupid spelling mistakes too. I can’t spel really. πŸ˜‰ But that doesn’t mean that I think people who are bothered by those mistakes are Grammar Dictators! πŸ™‚

      • I’m with Riv on this Angie. No fears and no worries πŸ™‚

        • Good, Musa and Riv, the grammar thing is just the little hobby horse I happen to ride. *grin* A knee-jerk reaction, as we say around these parts.

          My French (which I taught for a few years) is so rusty at this point you would all be appalled along with me at the mistakes I would make in THAT . . . zut alors!

          Something that continually impresses me is how multi-lingual many people are here on the blog. Kudos to all who can communicate well in more than their native language, I say.

      • I agree — those of us who work with words for a living in whatever capacity tend to be very focused on this issue. I don’t want to see errors when I am not grading, but I do.

        Last night when I got home from work, I found a memo stuck to my apartment door about repairs that are being done to the water provision system in the complex. I am glad they are doing the repairs, but the memo was atrociously written, such that it’s really hard to divine what exactly they were trying to tell us about water outages. I had to call the manager this morning to find out exactly when I’ll have to be showing at my friends’ houses. Now: I completely trust that the manager and her employees are competent to be repairing the water, so that’s some consolation, but I found myself very irritated by the memo!

        • Honestly, I really can’t help it. It really distresses me when I get a submission from one of our local educators which is riddled with errors–they need to be setting the example (and yes, more than one of them has told me, “Oh, I know you’ll fix it, Angie . . .” Well, yes I will, but what are you teaching the children in your classrooms?)

          I think it’s extremely important, no matter what you do in life, to have strong basic reading and writing skills, to be able to comprehend what you are reading and to write in a coherent manner. Let me step off my soap box now.

          • It’s embarrassing when it’s teachers who are involved, although as this blog shows I make plenty of mistakes myself. Part of the problem is that pupils are not writing as much as they used to. Writing pedagogy itself has changed to a quality over quantity model (vs the one operative when I was in school, which was that you just wrote and wrote and wrote and you improved gradually), I think because the incessant grading is so hard on teachers and because class sizes are getting bigger.

            • The whole “No Child Left Behind” has put such a burden on K-12 teachers in terms of paperwork, too, and the constant barrage of standardized tests . . . teachers sometimes feel as if they have lost those precious teachable moments, and it is frustrating. In theory, I totally agree, no child should be left behind; in practice, there are not enough resources and manpower in place to accomplish that goal. And how to get some of these apathetic parents to CARE?

              Re writing, I am really grateful for the composition classes I had in high school with a great teacher who still cheers me on. And let’s face it, having to write for deadline on a regular basis helps sharpen certain skills in that area. I might even get faster at counting quarters if I did it every day (and yes, we have to roll them by hand, no auto coin counter/wrapper for us . . .)

    • Yes, more human and less divine, Phylly3. I recall a character in a sitcom from years ago . . . we never saw this character on camera, only heard him referred to again and again in such glowing terms. The ex-husband of his current love became thoroughly sick and tired of always hearing about what a brilliant, gorgeous, saintly, talented, perfect fellow Mr. X was . . . he would have been thrilled to know Mr X wasn’t flawless, after all.

      There is something comforting in a reminder he is human, flesh and blood, like the rest of us. But truly, unless he is hiding some very deep, dark secrets, I agree with you and Riv: he really can’t do any wrong for me. The more I learn of him, the more I like him.

    • Grammar Police? Nah. I read it like it was a letter written to the folks back home. Ma and Pa sitting around the table, reading Jr.’s letter. Sweet, sincere and comfy. Nice guy. His mamma taught him good. Can’t you just see his Mum standing over him saying, “You aren’t leaving this house until that letter is done young man.”

      @phylly3 I haven’t read “Eats Shoots and Leaves”…flashes of a vergetarian who scrounges for food due to a massive worldwide food shortage are going through my brain. Or is it a epic Western portraying a native American who eats everything in his tent, shoots a deer, then leaves. Instead of Dances With Wolves, we have old Eats Shoots and Leaves? Off to Amazon to check it out.

      Disclaimer: any misspells, dangling participles or double negatives are solely the reponsibility of the author, whether she likes it our not.

    • Another favorite amphibology of mine created by punctuation omission: “Let’s eat grandmother!”

      Interesting point about how the grammatical errors sort of work in synergy with the character vulnerabilities.

  5. I think apart from other things he has inspired protective-ness from the beginning because of the way he presents himself in interviews/messages. He makes us smile, make us say “awwwww” and “poor Richard”. He’s gently making fun of himself, showing himself in an unfavourable light, but never others. He present himself as a geek and a looser, not only making us feel protective but identifying with him, in spite of having long stopped being a geek and a looser. Remember the short article where he says that in the school nativity play he was always a donkey? A classic way to make us feel sorry for him. I’m not saying this is intentional, many co-workers have confirmed that his modesty/humble-ness is real, but I think that is what makes him irresistible. Unlike other attractive/successful men he’s not threatening, does not make us feel small, he inspires the opposite effect.

    • Good point, Jane. Here is this very attractive, charming, intelligent, talented man who still seems very–accessible. Someone we can relate to. The donkey story was so disarming, wasn’t it?
      We feel “good” in relation to him, on somewhat equal footing, even though we are in awe of his talent and beauty. He just might be the friend we haven’t met yet. I don’t feel that way about celebrities in general, and really don’t care to, quite frankly.

    • Excellent point, Jane. I am convinced by this outlining of the self-deprecation, and I wonder if there’s some cross-cultural misunderstanding going on there among U.S. Americans like me: Americans don’t self-deprecate like this, and so that makes him seem more vulnerable to me.

      Also most of us remember having to play the donkey when we wanted to be the angel, I think πŸ™‚ I wonder what kids who got to play the angel remember?

      • I always played the angel, Servetus. Typecasting. Long blonde hair, pale skin, big blue eyes and deceptively sweet-looking, that was me.

        But what I really wanted to play was–a Wise Man! We had no men in our church who could sing worth a darn, so I imagined donning a beard and crown and pushing my voice down a couple of octaves and making “We Three Kings” less–cringe-worthy.

    • I don’t think I feel so much sorry for him, but more that I can relate to him when he makes fun of himself like that, makes himself not stand out so much. If he would be all self-assured I would definitely not feel that way, and would probably not have been drawn in like I am. The way that he comes across now for me is that, like Angie says, he is a friend that I haven’t met yet.

      • He just seems like a fellow who would be a pleasure to work with and to have fun with–a good, down-to-earth guy.

  6. I think that Richard’s message was very English in many ways. He’s said before that he’s been brought up to be polite, so his instinct is to get in touch and let us know how he’s doing and how the charities are faring. He is self-deprecating, also typically English. It’s not done to sound your own horn so you play down your achievements and your own significance! The humour is also recognisably English. Perhaps the errors are a part of that genuineness. Rather than a soulless, polished product overseen by an agent, a charming e-mail.

    Cultural elements aside, the message on the whole is Richard as we seem to know him from how he comes across in interviews, thoughtful, kind, caring of others, fun. I was instantly keen to wassail with him!

    @November Bride: Eats, Shoots and Leaves, a book by Lynne Truss, is an amusing look at the history of punctuation and the rules governing the use of apostrophes, commas, dashes, hyphens, colons, and semicolons.
    The title refers to the panda which would normally eat bamboo shoots and leaves, but which can turn into a dangerous animal by the placement of a comma! πŸ™‚

    • MillyMe, after our many discussions, I definitely agree: this seems quintessentially English–and completely charming. A message written by an awfully nice fellow you would definitely want to go wassailing with.

    • Aside from everything else I was grateful for the mention of the charities. It would have been a blow for me, I think, after encouraging people to donate to these, if he hadn’t come out and thanked people for doing so. Virtue is its own reward, no doubt, and people should be donating to charities for their own reasons, not for his, but even so, politeness demanded he say something.

      • He has extremely good manners, and that is very important to me, I think. You can be someone from a less-than-privileged background, and if you have good manners and know how to conduct yourself in society, what a difference that can make.
        Just my observation. And yes, I love that he hasn’t forgotten the charities.

    • I greatly appreciate his sense of humor and find it a very adorable part of his personality. I find him very funny. But humor is very personal, very subjective (if you know what I mean by that) and there are certainly cultural differences that influence humor. I see comments sometimes from fans that don’t find him very funny, they still love him, they just don’t find him funny. So I’m sure we all have certain aspects of his personality we are drawn to that have nothing to do with Richard Armitage, but everything to do with us as individuals.

      One thing I first noticed, and at first didn’t understand, was why several of the RA sites corrected his use of “Spooksperson” and used “Spokesperson” when it was clearly a funny reference by him to being in Spooks, even if at the time he was writing these messages he was often filming RH. I do wonder sometimes if some of his humor is not “lost in translation” to many of us, even to native English speakers πŸ™‚

      I also want to say I’m certainly in favor of correct grammar πŸ™‚

      • Among other things, he does not write with emoticons. I used to think emoticons were silly, but I am starting now to understand why they are so useful. As someone who’s often ironic, I note that I often read him as being ironic when others do not.

        • I agree, I think he is ironic.

          I think he has a satirical view of the world, and his own profession, and his own person πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      • I think he is absolutely delightful, but you are right, Musa, humor is more subjective and what one person finds amusing, another may not. However, I really like Richard’s type of “funny”–he reminds me at times of my husband and his sense of humor, and the man can make me laugh when my world otherwise seems ready to crash in.

        I think Richard takes the art and craft of acting seriously; he wants to do his best. But himself, no–he does not seem to ever put himself on a lofty pedestal.

        • Once or twice during the last publicity round when he was asked “what are your future plans?” he said something like “trying to get as far as possible in this career with the least possible talent.” I have a suspicion that that remark sounds radically different to a British audience than to us. To them, it probably sounds self-deprecating; I read that and think, “no, don’t say that!”

          • It is the perfect way to disarm anyone who criticises him. There will always be people that say he is not talented enough to do anything beyond light TV series or that complain that he has only two facial expressions. What better way to deal with it than saying he wants to do comedy and work on developing a third expression?

            • Even to a Brit the idea of β€˜the least possible talent’ sounds a tad overly self-deprecating! Though you’re right, there is a US/UK cultural divide when it comes to owning your talents. He may have to learn to talk himself down less when he goes global.

              Agree with Jane that he puts himself down to disarm criticism. No tall poppy he. But I love his humour and think he’s genuinely quirky and inventive and enjoys word play. Humour also protects against intrusion of course and irony provides him with even more of a smokescreen.

              Pi mentions his earnestness, and I think that quality is often there underneath. Earnest can be a turnoff, but I find it touching in someone like RA who’s not remotely pompous or self-important.

              • To me as an American saying “I have little talent” even humorously reads as fishing for compliments. When you say it in earnest (as I do from time to time on this blog, in desperation), it’s read in the US as a cry for help. I could get that it was meant as funny but I had to tell myself that consciously. Americans are much more into self-promotion, but I don’t know if I’ve ever read an American actor speculating in jest about his own talent. They do say things like that earnestly when they win the Oscar or something, I guess.

                Earnestness usually needs to be tempered with humility — I think that’s why it works for him.

              • I also think he realy likes wordplay and has a quirky sense of humour; I remember listening to one of the radioshows where he was on, during the ”Strike back” promotions. The host mentioned something like the ”flying pants” that were thrown at him some time, and he immediately came back with ”flying pans”, and something in the vein of what a ruckus they made.

  7. Long time, no talk:) I am behind in the blogging community as I have been too busy to be online. I hope all is well for you. I am trying to catch up on all my dear blogger buddies blogs. I am WAY behind.

    I wish you a Happy and Safe New Year.

    I have wondered at his mistakes as well and wondered if perhaps he thinks he is funny? I cannot correct him as my writing is not the best. I am border line dyslexic and tend to leave out words as if I am in a rush and sometimes I write my sentences out of order. I know my blog has MANY mistakes, especially with my southern grammar πŸ™‚

    • He may have some minor learning disability himself. Nowadays they test kids for that kind of thing meticulously, but it wasn’t the standard a generation or two ago. I was very convinced by speculations that President Bush jr. had some sort of linguistic coding disability. About ten years ago I had some tests that established that I have one (! — just think!): my inability to read maps turns out to be a sign of a deeper cognitive problem. Haven’t had the courage to have the adult ADD test yet, though I have some symptoms of it.

      I wish you a great New Year, too, Avalon, with lots of health. We’re so happy to have you here!

      • I have no sense of direction, I mean–none. Is that some sort of learning disability, I wonder??

        • It depends on the severity and whether it’s a cognitive problem as opposed to just laziness :), but yes, it would qualify as a visual-spatial disability.

          • It’s not laziness, I just have no natural sense of north, south, east or west. However, I do read street signs and look out for landmarks and manage not to get lost too often. My father didn’t have a sense of direction, either, but being a man, he would NOT stop and ask for directions.

            “Daddy, we are going the wrong way.”
            “No we aren’t.”
            “But the signs say I-65 south, and we are supposed to be going north.”
            (Daddy eyes sign with great suspicion)
            “I—don’t think they’re right.”

            So perhaps such conditions can also be hereditary?

            • No doubt πŸ™‚

              I remember always being told as a child that if I would concentrate more, I’d be able to read maps. That’s just really not true. Learning that was hugely relieving.

              Now, this problem has led to some interesting adventures and seeing things that I’d have never found otherwise πŸ™‚

  8. As for me, it never had a peculiarly appropriate protective of Mr. Armitage. I admire him both as an artist and as a man. Even if he commits errors. And maybe that is why he becomes more human and more like me. I also make mistakes and gaffes.
    Although I can not help thinking that he did it deliberately to prove all the fans that he is not divine (excellent) how many of us perceive him. Perhaps in some sense our adoration for him is troublesome, since it still has to watch what he says and how to proceed and even be careful what you do not want to say. I believe that this must be a great burden.
    I know that we live in times where good appearance (good look) is important, particularly for people from show business but I really do not mind if he has dressed badly, because I know that in this garment hides something more, a true sensitive artist. He is an inspiration to me

    • It’s weird — if he were my personal friend, I could care less how he dressed. Really. It’s been odd for many people who know me IRL to discover via this blog that I think about how men’s clothing fits, because I pay so little attention to my own clothing. The impulse for me only emerges when I see him in an ensemble where he’s being photographed for publicity reasons and it doesn’t fit quite right. And there it is motherly / sisterly: I want my kid to look good in public, somehow πŸ™‚

      • I LIKE that he’s sometimes badly dressed or makes spelling errors, it is not just that I don’t mind or overlook it, it adds to his charm and I don’t think I’m the only one who feels like that. It is proves that he is really normal and grounded. Perfectly dressed and perfectly eloquent some of his charm is missing. I think it is so cute when he tries to dress properly and it doesn’t quite work. Remember the BAFTAs a few years ago when he wore a tux with a bow tie with a visible plastic clip? Or that interview when he disappeared before he got photographed to change into a shirt he obviously bought on the way to the interview and that still had the creases from the package? And if he has to have human flaws I cannot think of anything that would be more harmless and more easy to forgive.

        • Jane, the point for me wasn’t that his clothing made me not like him or find him less attractive, it was that the particular issue of clothing arouses my protective impulses. I could discuss why that might be — and it certainly relates to my own insecurities derived from situations in which I haven’t been dressed correctly — but it’s definitely about me, not about him. I’ve noticed for example, that sleeve length is an issue that gets me. When he’s wearing a jacket where the sleeves go below his wrists, that makes me want to pet him behind the ears (and then fix the sleeve length). It’s certainly charming that he buys a dress shirt on his way to a photo shoot — but it does set off a particular reaction in my mind — as it obviously does in yours.

          The spelling issue is completely different, though.

          • I probably wouldn’t be thrilled to see a real life friend dressed like that or write like that or invite me into his messy house (but it wouldn’t bother me greatly either). But this comes down to the much discussed “is he real” question and those little human flaws seem to indicate that he is indeed real and not just pretending to be that nice, down-to-earth guy next door.

            Or it is all part of a very clever act πŸ˜‰ – but then why bother to create an act for such a small audience? No newspaper has ever mentioned the messages to the fans or printed a single pic of him at an event.

      • I’m like you, Servetus, I want my “kids” to look good in public. When I see him in that photo above with the pin-striped suit, the first thing I think is, “That looks just like Benny’s old burgundy pajamas underneath–wait a minute–I think those ARE Benny’s old burgundy PJs.” LOL

        It just makes me want to take him in hand and go shopping with him, or send him out with my husband, who does have a good fashion sense for a hetero male. Come to think of it, they would probably enjoy talking about all those crazy women and how Richard has Benny’s deepest sympathy *wink*

        That doesn’t mean I look down on him because he doesn’t have a keen fashion sense, or the world’s best grammatical skills necessarily–our shortcomings can also be what endears us to others. And I find Richard very endearing and loveable and adorable. Very human.

        • I should probably say that it’s not like I choose my friends IRL on the basis of their ability to punctuate sentences. πŸ™‚

          • I don’t either. I really don’t. Or even whether or not they look like they will show up in Us Magazine’s Fashion Police feature LOL

            • I’m likely to show up in that feature. I’ve gotten down to telling people who call to have lunch that I’m badly dressed and don’t plan to change so they have to go somewhere where it doesn’t matter or live with it.

      • Thank you Servetus, showed with me that, compared an ensemble to the RA can look quite odd, which made me as his fan is not a problem but it probably will be hard for him to gain new fans, so overlooks the fact that I have to take him shopping (and I can be like sister – although it will not be easily) πŸ™‚

        • “I have to take him shopping (and I can be like sister – although it will not be easily” Too cute, Ania!!

        • Most BFs with whom I have gone clothes shopping have ended up wishing I was their sister and not their lover — I am incredibly picky and I have an ability to sort of abstract a problem from a person in that situation that frightens some people. Really, I never talk about people as if they are only bodies, but I can end up doing that with a clothing salesperson, and it has frightened past BFs.

          • It’s your love af analyzing, most probably πŸ™‚

            • yeah, for better or for worse. I can turn practically anything into an abstract problem, give you the arguments for and against from every position, and horrifying you into the bargain πŸ™‚

  9. I haven’t noticed the errors besides a couple of typos so I can’t really say what my natural reaction would’ve been, though I tend to forgive typos, not so grammar or true spelling mistakes (in Spanish).
    “…I end by giving him a pass on the basis that he left formal academics at the age of seventeen.” I felt that statement too condescending, we know directly/indirectly he reads a lot. I think that a person that reads regularly in spite of how much (or little) he/she has studied, usually has a good writing/spelling and if he/she has mistakes, IMHO shouldn’t be attributed to his degree of academic preparation.
    On the other hand, I accept it is possible RA has bad spelling or grammar, because we haven’t seen regularly his writing as to know for sure this is something he hasn’t proofread himself (as usually we do before posting or emailing anything) and so has mistakes he normally wouldn’t do or he has and didn’t spot the errors. I’m just saying the statement felt as giving a veredict.

    This sounds protective, doesn’t it? Truly, I don’t feel that my protectiveness has arised though.

    Why are we protective? Because we see all the good things in him that sometimes others don’t, we might be protective of RA as to defend him from those that don’t realize how worth of admiration he is.

    OML πŸ™‚

    • I want to be clear: I don’t think that making mistakes in written grammar or punctuation is a sign that he’s not smart or a sensitive observer of the world or creative. He frequently says things that make me think for weeks. I’m also more tolerant of this specific issue since having to struggle through it twice (in MΓ©xico in college and in Germany in grad school) and since teaching for a decade, in which I see that the level of struggle most people have with it even in their native language is much greater than my own. I’m lucky not to have fought with this — and my own learning problems (math) are not as obvious in everyday life.

      But I was thinking about this last night and in my real life I do find people who can’t write their native language effectively and reasonably error-free less attractive. All of the important relationships in my adult life have been with men who were skilled writers. That might be more important in my life since I’ve had so many long distance relationships. But no, I don’t tend to see making punctuation errors as sweet on the whole — except in the sense that first year college students do it. And I’m employed professionally to help them stop.

      Re your comment on protectiveness: who are we worried about? Those masses of people out there who constitute themselves as “people who don’t really appreciate Richard Armitage”? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      • Maybe we can’t compare our reaction to our everyday friends writing to an actor we admire and have never met. If a colleague or a friends sends you an email you take for granted it is him/her that typed it with his/her own fingers and send it to you. In the acting world, the connection with admirers, unless you meet them in person, is usually done my PR machine and we know it. I think we translate our reaction -fining it sweet, or endearing- into the misspellings or typos because those are a signal it is him and not some other person paid to do that, we find sweet that personal gesture that is ‘proved’ by those mistakes.

        Re protectiveness: I don’t think we’re trying to protect him from the world, LOL. Sincerely, I can’t explain (my)protectiveness right now, it has to arise as to get hold of the feeling, analize it and then I might be able to give an answer :S

        OML πŸ™‚

  10. Before I start individual responses I want you all to know that I found myriad errors in the original text of the post and have now gone back to fix them. They’re marked. πŸ™‚

    • ‘a myriad’ Only 2 or 3 and a typo, that’s not a myriad!

      OML πŸ˜‰

      • well, one was a subject / verb agreement error. This is such an elementary matter that if a student of mine does it even once in a formal essay s/he loses five points. Bad Servetus. That was quite embarrassing.

  11. Oh he was just drunk when he wrote it. First he thought, I’m not doing it this year. Then he started Wassailing. Then he thought, hm, ok maybe I should say something because I don’t want to disappoint anyone or have anyone mad at me. Usually he proofreads his stuff better but he was 2 sheets to the wind. Hey it’s Christmas!

    ha ha, I love that about him. My sweet, you can drunk post, drunk email, drunk Facebook or hell, drunk dial me, ANY time. hee he.

  12. I noticed the errors in the Christmas message, but I assumed that he had written a quick email via his phone or some other small electronic device. I think we’ve all written an email and hit “send” too soon. I enjoyed the message regardless.

    As for feeling protective about his poor clothing choices, I think it makes him look like a regular bloke rather than a just a pretty-faced actor. In my family, we often comment on celebrities who don’t look as good when they do their own hair and make-up. Very few people make the effort to look good ALL the time. Although I do wish RA would look a little better sometimes, because it could help his career — and the more work he does, the more I’ll get to enjoy. I’m reminded of Cary Grant who took his appearance very seriously. I read in a book about how he had his shirt collars tailored to disguise his thick neck. THICK NECK? I thought in dismay, but when I looked at various photos, I realized that Cary Grant had taken the effort to present himself in the most flattering light. I admire that dedication to detail, especially when I do not always take the effort myself. I clean up well, but sometimes, when I’m in a hurry, I don’t do everything to present myself in the most tailored/precise light. That’s one thing I’m trying to improve upon because experience has taught me the importance of visual impressions.

    • Good comment, b6ft. I hadn’t thought of him writing it on a phone, but that would make a lot of sense, esp all the punctuation problems. It’s really hard for me to put punctuation into a text msg on my phone. Good thinking.

      I was thinking after my last response on this topic that it probably has something to do with my being American and seeing all those US magazines that make a sport out of making fun of poorly or oddly dressed celebs and how it would hurt me to see him belittled. Perhaps it wouldn’t bother him as much as it does me. One gets the feeling, observing his career (and I think he said this somewhere, too, in an interview) that he trained most heavily on stuff that relates to his actual performances and has been a slower starter on the other aspects of the job (like physical conditioning, e.g.)

  13. I love that the piece has not been edited, either by his agent (if it came via that route) or by Annette because it means it was probably written by him.

    • Yeah, you know with the level of Annette’s skill in editing that stuff would not get past her, so the fact that it got posted like that is “proof of authenticity”. πŸ™‚

  14. […] found the ideas that emerged in this comment thread interesting and wanted to ask some questions. (Also, I have to finish an overdue conference paper […]

  15. His Christmas message was nice and considerate, but also unexpected, since he has no real obligation to do so. The fact that he did, says more about him.

    I find I don’t feel protective of him, I feel more annoyed, and therefor more or less defensive, when people presume to know him.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t assume I know him either. Some of the things he says & does just make me wonder, but I’m fully aware only he knows the answers. And it’s completely up to him to see fit with any of it.

    I guess it’s one of my pet peeves, when people think for someone else and presume to know all the answers.

    I don’t feel that way if people have harsh words on his acting, his outfit du jour and whatnot, everyone’s entitled to their opinion. No matter how much I may disagree. πŸ˜‰ Then again I learned early on that I don’t like everyone and not everyone will like me. And that’s perfectly OK.

    • I appreciate this level of honesty (and I must verge on annoying you a great deal). I feel the same way. I hate when people who don’t know me especially well give me some definitive judgment about who I am.

      • LOL Oh no, dear servetus, I find your posts and analysis more often say something about how you experience & view the world. And how your reactions to RA seem to make you wonder things. At times he may be your starting point & finish; other times he only seems to be the spark that ignited your train of thoughts.

        If I truly thought you presume to know his thoughts, I wouldn’t be reading your blog regularly! My tolerance only goes so far, before my annoyance takes over. My eyes can’t roll that far back. πŸ˜€

        You want to understand and therefor you go off analysing things. You’re also quite aware of what belongs to you, there isn’t this personal feeling of indignation when Richard does something you don’t fully agree with. Or put the blame on him, when you feel disappointed about his words & actions.

        So no, you haven’t annoyed me (yet πŸ˜‰ ), besides if I am, I always have a choice to stop reading. I see this blog definitely more as your play starring [i]servetus[/i], where Richard Armitage has a recurring cameo.

        • Whew, that’s a relief. I do try to stay on my side of the me / Richard Armitage boundary, but sometimes it’s hard not to try to get inside that creative brain of his. But you read me exactly right. This is about me, and he’s the supporting actor.

          I actually think the punctuation issue was a good test case for me on this point. My approval of him would probably be higher if he could punctuate. Then again, we’re talking 92% vs 98% or something like that on the basis of what I know πŸ™‚

  16. I do sometimes wonder if it is really about protecting/defending HIM or more about justifying our crush – for some of us and with regards to some points (first and foremost his acting talent)at least? It would be quite embarrassing to make an error of judgement and invest so much in an object that proves unworthy. I think most of RA’s fans pride themselves to be different from the silly fangirl clichΓ© and the object of their admiration to be different from the usual type “fangirls” have crushes on, both as an artist and as a person.

    • Yeah, exactly. OK — so if he turned out to be unworthy in whatever way (probably each of us has her own definition — there’s been some discussion off and on here about “what could he do / be that would turn you off” and most of the answers are fairly conventional, but some have surprised me a little) — then that would be about us, right, not about him? I think you’re probably exactly right about how the self-image of the Armitage fangrrl is as “a little better” than those crazy chicks who get infatuated — and if he turns out to be unworthy, that makes us — just like all the other crazy fangrrls?

  17. @ Sev i hadnt ntoiced your typo buit thats just me. πŸ™‚

  18. To go off on a tangent, spelling and grammar? I can be quite a perfectionist, so I do tend to notice the little mistakes. However I usually don’t care that much, since I make them as well.

    Funnily enough, I usually don’t make that many typos when typing, but I do find myself skipping a letter when I write things.

    • Interesting. I find that my typing has gone to heck since getting this particular computer at work and then having to switch between the U.S. and the German keyboards (my laptop has the German keyboard) and my writing has gone to heck since having to write in German. I never used to have any problems dealing with the myriad homonym questions in English until I learned to spell German. Now I expect everything to be spelled phonetically (as opposed to realizing that I have to know how it’s spelled and that the spelling will often be arbitrary) and it really mixes me up.

  19. @servetus,

    Sorry, I’m so late to this. I haven’t read any comments- the number is too overwhelming.

    I like the questions you ask.

    Here is my view on any product of someone’s schooling or ability or skill. I take the Jewish POV which is that of lovingkindness. I have no comment about anyone’s schooling or the product thereof. And frankly, in the big cosmic scheme of things, it’s beyond irrelevant. Any comments really say more about the commenter than the subject of that comment.

    I have been blessed with verbal gifts and so has the Armitage. They’re just different. Meanwhile, I just wish that his messages were still as directly earnest and fun as they used to be.

    Reminds me of Lloyd Dobbler in ‘Say Anything’ complaining to his sister about her: “You used to be fun. You used to be warped and twisted and hilarious… and I mean that in the best way – I mean it as a compliment!”

    Once the element of play fades it gets deadly and uncreative. IMO.

    Thanks btw, for your comments. You did understand. πŸ™‚

    • That was kind of my point — the academics are the issue for me. In my waning months as a professor. And in my guise as a woman who is often written to on various levels. Not for him. I don’t think that my or anyone else’s comments strained the boundaries of lovingkindness, but of course I could be wrong, as I often am.

      Anyway, pi, I hope that you’re right about this message and the continue presence of the man underneath everything. For his sake as well as ours. It’s something I’d like to believe in the possibility of, anyway. Happy New Year. πŸ™‚

  20. […] can give him from our position as writers. Our forays into Armitage protectiveness mode are really all about us. Honestly, I hardly think that people who are doing the sort of things he occasionally reports he […]

  21. […] that typing with thumbs is tough! No more references to the typo or we’ll revisit the apostrophe debacle. πŸ˜‰ Also, I’m going to spare RA some more today by not waxing on about the topic of middle […]

  22. […] [In case any doubt remains, this was a spoof. Servetus writes under the assumption that Richard Armitage, having turned forty this year, is finally all grown up and can take it as it is meant, all in good fun. She also re-affirms herewith that fifteen years of employment in a university have revealed to her no necessary or automatic correlation between anyone’s ability to spell and punctuate English correctly and either his intelligence or his educational level. If necessary, any angsty discussion about this issue can be joined to last year's angsty discussion about this issue.] […]

  23. […] Wow. I’m digging this discussion of typos, and I may never recover from the thrill of understanding the nuances of the apostrophe (see comments as well)……………. Sorry, my head almost came […]

  24. […] Jane likes Lucas’ face best in Spooks 7. She learned medieval poetry at school. Jane thinks spelling errors are charming, but she is annoyed by Umlaut erasure. She keeps her eye on Armitage’s Spotlight page. She […]

  25. […] over the years as I become aware of them and work through those battles for myself. A possible struggle with punctuation — and the jokes I made about it right afterwards and a year later). Or smoking (though it […]

  26. […] to be an intellectual hairsplitter. I am one. But I loved him anyway. So while it bothered me, I gave him a pass on things that are actually important to me (and was then charged with being too perfectionist). Many of the things he says about history, for […]

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