Servetus unashamed, or: Many fewer than 95 Theses on Armitagemania

Richard Armitage as Richard Armitage, photographed at the Strike Back premiere, April 15, 2010. The straight-on, appraising gaze. One of my absolute favorite pictures of the man himself. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

Last week I admitted that I had some questionable fantasies about John Porter, and then I admitted that I had developed a certain kind of fantasy life around Richard Armitage himself. So did a sister blogger.

I got a fair amount of off-blog mail about those posts, either expressing concern about my sanity, or admonishing me for my inappropriate action in writing about this stuff (or writing about it and not labeling it as fiction).

That notwithstanding, I say to all of you, I feel so much better now. Because not admitting it did not make all that stuff not real. And since that is a classic coping strategy of my mother (pretending that real things aren’t real in hopes of making them not real), I should have realized by now both what I was doing and why it was creating problems.

As John Porter (Richard Armitage) warns Hugh of all of the things he is likely to suffer when the truth about the Bratton extraction comes out, we see him remembering all the pain inflicted on him as a result of the distrust he received from his family and the regiment, in Strike Back 1.6. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com.

All of which realizations prompt me to try to express a few things that have been percolating a few weeks and since the last time I addressed the issue of what constitutes “appropriate” behavior for fans in general and for me in specific. As in the past, this is probably at least partially a work in progress.

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Richard Armitage and a fan after he hugged her, in the publicity buildup to the Spooks 9.1 premiere. Interview on Radio 1, September 17, 2010. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

1. If you have Armitagemania, pretending you don’t have fantasies won’t work as a means of getting rid of them. Writing about them will also not necessarily help you get rid of them, although it will force you to look at both yourself and your fantasies. Writing may also calm you, however, and you may find friends to sympathize.

2. If you have Armitagemania, admitting that you have fantasies — or even writing about them in detail — will not make you into a “crazy” fan who does “inappropriate” things. (Unless, of course, you are already one of those, in which case see [2] below.) I’ve experienced no impulses to mail Mr. Armitage my underwear or a photo of myself in a bikini with my cell phone number scrawled on it, and not even the faintest desire to move to Wellington and follow him around town, either before making these admissions or since. Why not? Because I am not the kind of person who does those things. Admitting to a fantasy — no matter how “crazy” or “inappropriate” it may be — is not a step on the path to criminal behavior. Without evidence, that’s a slippery slope argument.

3. Writing about your Armitagemania will not cause someone else who’s been “on the cusp” to turn into a “crazy” fan who does “inappropriate” things, either. Why not? Because people who do those things decide to take those steps all by themselves. They were “crazy” people with a tendency to do “inappropriate” things before Armitagemania, and they have a likelihood of being that way afterward as well. People like that are hiding in plain sight by masquerading as “normal” fans, not waiting, susceptible, to be fertilized into crazies by the fantasies of other “normal” fans. Writing about my fantasies does not facilitate the questionable behaviors of other people; they do that all on their own, without assistance from me. My fantasies are a vehicle, I suppose you could argue, but not a cause.

Richard Armitage as Alex Track in The Golden Hour. Putting this here because it pains me to take it off the top of the blog when I publish this post. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com.

4. Conversely, I have come to believe, writing about “inappropriate” behavior and why it is bad will never stop people who behave “inappropriately” from doing so. My disapproval of the action of any other fan will never be a sufficient barrier to her decision to do something she has decided is acceptable. I know this because such statements would be unlikely to stop me. If I claim that it’s okay to trust myself as a rational actor who can make decisions according to a conscience derived from what I find to be a thoughtful moral calculus, I have to assume that others can also make such claims and that they are legitimate, at least on their own terms. Just as I am the only one who can change myself, I cannot protect Mr. Armitage from the “crazy” behavior of anyone else but myself. In that sense, the only way in which I can make prescriptions about appropriate vs. inappropriate behavior is by following my own conscience. Presumably, each of us has her own and doesn’t need to be burdened with the strictures of those of others. You’ve noticed that I never broach certain topics here that are discussed with some regularity elsewhere. That needs to be my decision for me — not for everyone else in the fandom.

5. I want to apologize for steps in the direction of prescription of others’ behavior that I have made in the past, because I really don’t know better than others how they should behave. I believe that on some level this discussion of appropriate fan behavior is a necessary step in the development of any fan’s consciousness, and a way of thinking through a problem that uses other fans as a measure, but I think we have to keep in mind that this is an identity development problem for the fan herself, not an essential statement about the essential appropriateness / inappropriateness of others’ behavior. That is, by looking at others’ “crazy” behavior, we develop our own personal sense(s) of the boundaries of “normal.” I think it’s not surprising that such statements sometimes occur early in the unfolding of a blog insofar as writing in a single authorial voice for the public about the role Mr. Armitage and his work play in one’s life can be read as “too much.” Once one has engaged in the act of speaking about one’s fascination, such statements become part of the process of deciding “how far I will go” or “how far is too far.” At the same time, however, I have grown to believe that to some extent such statements reflect our own guilt, not about our actual or likely behavior, but about our feelings. We see a behavior (for me it was lewd comments on youtube videos) and recognize the emotion or reaction that underlies it in ourselves. It’s not enough to say (for instance), “I will never make crude comments about Richard Armitage’s posterior on youtube”; instead, we use prescriptions we make to others to reassure ourselves that we are not “inappropriate” fans. Let’s recognize that in this case, saying “she shouldn’t do that” is, in many cases, really a statement that says, “I wouldn’t do that, but part of me wishes I could.”

6. Given that prescriptions we make to others are really about our own identities as fans, it’s time for us to abandon the frequent justification that we’re prescribing behaviors to others because we are trying to protect either them (a sentiment I regularly heard in my comments for awhile) or, more commonly, that we are trying to protect Mr. Armitage. Mr. Armitage does not need protection from his “normal” fans; indeed, he needs support from them and they are important to his career. He potentially needs protection from “crazy” fans (or, perhaps, from rude ones), but this is not something that we 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 doesn’t like are members of our community. So let’s ease up on each other in this regard. We risk making each other into shrews, I fear, and all over something that we have no control over, anyway. Let’s prescribe not to prescribe, or rather, that if we do prescribe, it’s that each of us uses her conscience.

Next one in the series. Repeated for the same reason as specified above. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com.

7. Why is this important? For two reasons. The first is that I sometimes think that insofar as there’s tension with this fandom, it has to do with precisely the issue of what it’s okay to say one thinks about Mr. Armitage. (And in rare cases, how should one behave if one meets him — but very, very few of us have that opportunity, so it’s a relatively smaller issue.) This tendency relates not only to disagreements over concrete issues (would Armitage prefer his fans keep their distance, or is he essentially fan-friendly?), but even to what it’s acceptable to discuss (can we talk about his personal life ever?). The reason I think this mutual policing of each other is unfortunate relates to the second reason, which is that every second I spend prescribing behavior for someone else is a second that I’ve wasted in terms of self-expression.

8. Here I am potentially burying a central assumption of this argument in a disadvantageous position, but I’ll write more about this eventually, too — that is, while I think Armitagemania is about many things, in a different mix for different individuals — about appreciation of artistry, about the perception and critique of identity, about fantasy, about desire, about thinking about partners, and certainly *also* about sexual attraction — I am starting to think that its central feature is the facilitation of expression. Armitagemania helps people find a voice — whether an artistic one, a verbal one, a visual one, an analytical one, a personal one. How else to explain the many blogs that have sprung up in the last year? The numerous drawings and paintings of characters he’s played? The unbelievable industry of fanvidders? And all the stories of people who’ve been moved to try something new that they’d never have contemplated without the Armitage example? The number of voices moved to express is impressive. And I remain clear that the plurality of voices is a strength, not a weakness. The more, the better.

9. Every second I spend thinking about what I am not allowed to say for reasons that have nothing to do with my own conscience is a waste of energy and a betrayal of self. Armitagemania happened to free me from the waste and self-betrayal I’ve experienced as a professional for the last decade. No more rules for me except those self-imposed: to follow my conscience, to be forthright, to be honest, to say things the best way I can. Not to waste energy, and not ever to betray my voice, even though it’s only developing now.

~ by Servetus on May 3, 2011.

213 Responses to “Servetus unashamed, or: Many fewer than 95 Theses on Armitagemania”

  1. Could have put this off-blog; but the h with it. Don’t give a second thought about

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  2. Bravo, my dear Servetus. Well said.

    I see Richard as an extraordinary catalyst in my life, an amazing muse who has inspired me in so many ways and has helped me through some very dark days. I like him, I admire him, I respect him–and yeah, I think he’s absolutely gorgeous and very, very sexy.

    But even if I am “larger than life” as Frenzy says, I would NEVER send him undies or photos of me in compromising positions or start stalking him. Even if I was 20 years younger and never mind how many pounds lighter. Because I DO like and respect and admire him. And you don’t treat people you consider special in such a thoughtless manner, do you?

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  3. The laptop bounced. May I finish, WordPress? Thank you. Watching election returns. Multi-tasking isn’t always a Good Thing. having the odd fantasy about the actor himself. Hardly unnatural or indication of insanity. Who doesn’t have such fantasies? Our fantasies might not take all take a similar form. Who cares?

    There’s so much respect for Mr. Armitage within this blog and among the commenters. There is also no doubting that an enormous part of the actor’s appeal is sexual. Please express yourselves, servetus and everyone else. Publish and be….

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  4. @Angie πŸ˜€ you interrupted me – giggle πŸ˜€ and hugs.

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    • Oops, fitzg, Sorry!! I wanted to add, “Servetus, you have nothing to be ashamed about.” Mr. A is who he is, and he is one enormously appealing man on a number of levels. I agree, the occasional fantasy is not something anyone should beat themselves up over (or berate anyone else over). We’re human; he’s, well–Richard Armitage!! πŸ˜€ I rest my case.

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  5. I should perhaps clarify, if it’s not clear from the post, that one of the issues in my mind was the question of whether my expression of my fantasies endangers others. That’s most of what I am claiming to have resolved here for myself πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the encouragement!

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    • That’s the point of course Servetus. You don’t claim them as anything but fantasies.
      You don’t write about doing anything inappropriate with Mr A and you give him the respect he very much deserves.

      Nothing dangerous there that I can see.

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  6. I’m taking a bow.

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  7. Endanger others? If we’re not adults on this blog, then we don’t have to be here. Don’t feel like an endangered species myself. πŸ˜€

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    • That smacks of censorship and Big Brother for me when people start talking about “endangering others” — let’s take this book off the shelf, close down this blog . . . NO ONE is holding a gun to anyone’s head (well, as far as I know) makiing them read this or any blog. It’s your choice as an grown-up individual, isn’t it?

      You guys should be able to speak your mind in your own blog as your conscience guides you.

      Also, considering recent events, people endlessly quibbling over things that are really not of earth-shattering importance kind of irritates me. That and the fact I have “those” cramps for the first time in well over a year. *sigh*

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    • No endangered species here either Servetus. I may not be the sharpest knife in the block, I may be be eccentric and I admit to having treatment for a mental illness ( ie depression ); what I’m not is unable to tell fantasy from real life.

      I’m also able to appreciate a highly talented, intelligent, hard working, modest, polite and charming actor who I happen to find incredibly attractive; and keep it at a distance and be respectful both to him and fellow fans.

      I’ve certainly never read anything (and since 2006 I shudder to think how many words that amounts to ) that would ‘endanger’ that.

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  8. The problem, Fitz, is that everything you see on this blog is not everything to be seen.

    Servetus, I think you know I needed this post. Thanks. There are times I get so close to really letting go, well, I may do it any day, and Damn! I know it will be good even if it pisses everyone around me off.

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    • Frenz, if you do decide to let go, know you’ll only tick off the ones who probably need to go elsewhere anyway. The rest of us will cheer, “thank goodness she finally said it!”

      I always wonder: do these people have anybody to tell them when to stop, the sort of person who they admire and respect, who says their crap stinks and they’re out of control? Because I get the impression nobody else has.

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      • That was supposed to be “Because I get the impression they think nobody else has.”

        Can you tell I abhor thought police?

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        • Thanks, Judi.

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        • Me too, Judi. Please don’t tell me what I should watch, read, or listen to or how I should think. I am an adult and I can make those decisions for myself.

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          • I agree that there should be no thought police. I abhor it too, but usually the problem in communication doesn’t arise from an explicit statement of do’s and dont’s directed toward someone(s). It often comes when someone just gives an opinion, and not necessarily directed to anyone in particular, for example,if I were to say, “I don’t like slash. I think it has an ick factor, and I don’t want to read it, and I probably will never feature it on my blog.” If I were to say that, what would you think? Would you think I had overstepped my bounds and was trying to corral what you’re doing? Those are honest questions. I’m curious what you think, and no, I’m not trying to be antagonistic at all.

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            • Ah, but you aren’t saying, “And no one else should be reading or writing this kind of stuff.” You are not setting yourself up as the Hall Monitor for Armitage-Related Creative Stuff.

              That’s the difference for me, Frenz.

              You aren’t writing RA and his agent and complaining about slash or mounting a campaign to end all slash on fanfic sites.

              Plenty of people don’t like slash and I respect that. I don’t like all of it, anymore than I like some people’s writing of hetero relationships or some fanfic writing, period. All fanfic authors are not created equal, let’s be honest.

              But I am not going to tell them they can’t write what they choose to write. I just don’t read it.

              And I think you know me well enough by now to know you coudn’t corral me if you wanted to πŸ˜‰ You are one of my peeps, girl.

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              • You’re right; I would never be try to corral you. πŸ˜€

                But you and I know that someone reading what I just wrote is hacked I said that and has already construed it as a type of control since I guess it’s a restrictive (disciminating?) statement. But really, it’s just my opinion, which begs the question: do you never share your tastes, which by their very nature are restrictive?

                Is this where I slip in that I didn’t like the LOTR movies. Yes, I’m one of those who didn’t like the movies (ducks). The second movie was so boring to me that I fell asleep in the theater. BUT I’m willing to take a second look. LOL! 😎

                I did say earlier I might cut loose at anytime. πŸ˜‰

                I’m really, really not trying to be antagonistic.

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                • LOL! I hope the Wrath of the Tolkien fans doesn’t rain down on you, dear Frenz. I read the books and loved them as a teen, but I haven’t seen all of any of the movies, so I can’t really weigh in on my feelings.
                  (I do love other things PJ has directed, though.)

                  Seriously, it’s a shame if we feel as if we can’t express our own views and tastes because we fear someone is going to beat us up for it if they don’t coincide with their views and tastes. How boring and Stepford Wife-ish if we all thought exactly the same way.

                  Of course, I have no shame. I’ve made two videos with Ke$ha songs. And bought her CD! My guilty, guilty pleasure . . .

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                  • I liked the books. OOh, maybe that makes it sound worse. LOL!

                    The fact I run an anonymous blog should indicate how I feel about potentially getting beat up but certainly not by someone in cyberworld. Although a few of you do know the “real me.” I hate that term. This is the real me dammit! πŸ˜€

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                    • And we like the real you. The real you on blogs and the real “real” you offblog. Wait. I’m confused. Who’s on first? πŸ˜‰

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                  • Should I even go on about understanding guilty pleasures? πŸ˜‰

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                    • I think we all have them, don’t you, whether or not we admit it. I would love to know what RA’s considers his guiltiest guilty pleasure . . . πŸ˜‰

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            • I agree that this is a real problem, but I think on some level we could conclude that the Internet is a way of circumventing it. I’ve noticed how this works in my class at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution lecture, when I ask my students how many pairs of underwear they have (usually dozens and dozens) and then ask them what they would do if they didn’t have automatic washing machines and dryers and cheap textiles. Some classes are willing to be creative (can I turn my underwear inside out?) but in some classes, someone expresses a restrictive opinion about how people who don’t change their underwear every day are gross, and then everyone feels they have to agree. At least part of this dynamic is due to the fact that they see each other all the time. no one wants to be known as that kid who doesn’t change her underwear enough.

              But on the Internet, we can be freer, right? We don’t have to be afraid of the consequences of having our fantasies known. I’ll never run into one of you in the hallway and know that you’re thinking, “ah, she’s the one who dreams of bondage.” Obviously, that freedom has its negative outcomes too (social constraints also restrict trolls from being too trolly in real life), but it has to have some positive outcomes, no?

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              • Yeah, we can be freer and yeah, there are pitfalls, but I still love it, and when the issue is raised about free thought I wonder how much people really mean that. It’s just like the statement of underwear being gross. Who is going to disagree and say we need more thought control?

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  9. I’m a fan and heartily endorse everything you said.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and add an observation from my years in other fandoms:

    IMHO the most strident and loudest “fans” who attempt to police others are the ones fearful of or in denial of their own potential craziness. They don’t understand boundaries, see only in black and white and don’t get nuances in behavior. They are unable to distinguish between wholly disturbing behavior/thoughts or innocuous ones. Hence they straightjacket themselves into a unreasonably rigid mindset and attempt to foist this thinking on everybody else. Personally, this type of fear-based repressed thinking is exasperating because it attempts to shutdown thoughtful discussion and keeps things on the level of superficial squee where these fans are comfortable. This element of enforced mindlessness is one of the reasons I don’t participate in fan forum discussions.

    The fantasies you described were harmless, and truth be told, they weren’t particularly shocking. The only surprising part was you felt free to say them, based on your earlier posts. I saw it as a watershed moment of liberation for you.

    This type of fan will never understand your blog; it’s too esoteric for them. However, I applaud you for that post and this follow-up. I can’t imagine you saying any of this a year ago. Your tone and language is becoming more direct and true as you discover and find your voice. I’m thrilled for you.

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    • Totally agree.

      OML πŸ™‚

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    • Or perhaps, just perhaps, they’re not repressive Calvinists, but they’ve seen the damage obsessed fans can do to the fandom as a whole?

      Fanfics about RA and the woman who starred in North and South with him, written as though they were a real word couple, exist and are excruciatingly embarrassing to read, and would probably seem intrusive to RA if he searched them out for some reason. But I doubt he has, and presumably they haven’t hurt the fandom as a whole.

      But a few years back someone wrote a fanfic about Guy of Gisborne, post series 2, capturing Marian and abusing her sexually in revenge for her rejection at the altar. There was a certain logic about it–he did torture people for a living–but to say it was graphic and violent S/M would be to understate things. It caused a huge reaction in the fandom. Some posted that it was not their usual cup of tea but disturbingly sexy all the same. But apparently many concerned fans wrote him about it. Eventually RA waded in to say that he felt it was inappropriate to post such material about a character in a show that was watched by children. The writer removed it from the internet, which was surely the appropriate thing?

      And since that time he’s distanced himself from the fandom–sometimes his “spokesperson” announces things, but there have been no more messages to fans and he’s mentioned frustration with fans more than once since then. There haven’t been any more references to how he feels like he has an army of fans supporting him. (If you look at his messages, which I think are on richardarmitage.com, you can pretty easily see when this transition happened.) Sometimes posting fantasies is neutral; sometimes, and I hope most often, it just gives pleasure to admiring fans; sometimes it takes readers to places where they read things they wish they could forget. Sometimes it makes a person a little bit embarrassed for the writer, and sometimes it has a real-world negative effect on the fandom.

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      • Truthfully, I think the lunatic fringe element is, sadly, always going to be there in any fandom. And because they are lunatics, they are going to draw more attention to themselves.
        Then there are those who are obsessively overprotective IMHO of Richard Armitage.

        He’s almost 40 years old; he’s intelligent, astute, thoughtful and more than capable of managing his life without us. I think he does appreciate his fans but his fans also have to remember he doesn’t owe any of us anything. I think fans demanding too much of him and trying to police not only what fans said and did but what Richard said and did put the nail in the coffin for those regular messages.

        He learned to be more wary, and who can blame him?

        Not sure I approve of any fans contacting him about fanfic good, bad, or indifferent as it may be.
        That seems to me to be a further invasion of his privacy, somehow, and is more troubling to me than the fanfic concept.

        Just my two cents worth.

        I wouldn’t ever choose to write about Richard and any other real person in a relationship nor would I read that sort of thing, but I can’t imagine writing Richard and complaining about it to him. He has far more important things to do than manage our silly quarrels, don’t you think?

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      • I don’t want to hijack this thread but since you offered a long considered reply, I’ll offer a response. I knew RA had distanced himself from fandom, but thought it was due to the BAFTA brouhaha that he was gay. I had not heard about the S&M story.

        I don’t like RP fiction. I find them creepy and disturbing; there are ample fictional characterizations to use for stories without bringing a real personality into it. That does strike me as invasive. But I wouldn’t insist they not write the story. Instead I’d suggest it be placed on a password protected forum where like-minded people can read it and the celebrity can not find it.

        As for the concerned fans that went out of their way to tell RA, I highly question their motivation. They didn’t like a piece of sadistic fiction about fictional characters. Did they actually believe the story or the writer by extension was somehow personally harming RA? It’s probable RA knows little of fandom and nothing of fan fic. His reaction was no surprise, and of course the story had to be removed which they knew would happen. Removing it was appropriate because he objected, but telling him was not.

        This “concern” is a perfect example of what Servetus was pointing out in her post about censorship and policing. Was RA in actual danger of anything? Was that really necessary? This strikes me as an overwrought kneejerk reaction over an issue that should have been resolved within the fandom. To run straight to the man himself has the taint of spitefulness, if not maliciousness. RA was only distressed by that story because *they* told him. If they were supposedly viligant for stalker craziness, that wasn’t it. Meanwhile, RA’s sweet interactions with his fans got pruned. So who did the most damage in the zeal to police the actions of others? Who was obsessed, the writer of the story or the concerned fans?

        A personal story: in an old fandom, a writer posted a real person fiction on our closed mailing list that was revolting by any standard. The list mom told the writer RP fic wasn’t allowed on the regular or EF list but she was free to set up shop elsewhere, which the writer did. Nobody cast aspersions and it was resolved quickly and quietly. And nobody dreamed of telling The Man. For what?

        I’m aware in every fandom exists a few who are genuinely disturbed and there is a real fear that one may act out and make us look bad as whole. However I’m confident, at least with this blog ring, that we will be able to identify such people and act accordingly. Here’s an example of legitimate craziness that was appropriately reported: it was leaked in my Other Crush’s fandom that he was first, engaged, and then his fiancee was expecting a baby. This news outraged one fan so much she ranted at great length that the unborn should die, among other things. BTW, OC also had a stalker. This is the type of behavior we should watch for, not fictional character based stories or Servetus promoting an honest discussion about fantasies by discussing her fantasies.

        Personally I tired of this trend towards of unthinking hysteria, no matter what the issue. It’s so pervasive today.

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        • Let’s see if my connectino will hold this time. Judiang, as you can see by my latest comments, you and I seem to be on the same page.

          As a community newspaper journalist, I have to say I am heartily sick of mountains being made out of molehills and people taking idle gossip and thinking it’s the gospel truth.
          Tired of “unthinking hysteria” myself.
          And I never have liked tattle-tales or bullies.

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          • Connection. Well, I am home under the weather today. *sigh*

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            • Sorry to hear that, hope you feel better soon.

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              • Thanks, Judi. A combo of FMS, allergies and my female hormones trying to bring back the “bad old days” have conspired against me. I have still managed to write a couple of stories and cutlines, IDed folks on a picture page pdf and send them and photos to the office while reclining on my bed. Hooray for the Internet.

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          • @Angieklong, learning about the all the unnecessary furor over the sadistic story made me angry. RA took precious time to write those missives and court the fans; it was very sweet. Then along comes “concerned” fans who couldn’t think past their zeal and “protectiveness.” They didn’t consider who he would feel or what the lasting consequence might be. This incident plus the gay rumor nastiness must have been a shock, like petting a dog and it suddenly turns and bites him.

            It’s a damn shame.

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            • Yeah, a nice guy like RA with that purity Frenz mentioned in her latest post–that sweetness of spirit–certainly wouldn’t have expected some “fans” to behave as they did.
              (And note I put “fans” in quotes, because I suspect they aren’t as considerate of and concerned for Richard Armitage himself as they are holding up some priggish plaster saint image of him they’ve created in their minds . . . I don’t think he wants or has ever wanted to be put on a pedestal.)

              He’s older now, and more savvy, “wisdom from the pain.”

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            • I’m sure plenty of actors are squicked out by fanfic on general principles – some of it is quite excruciating. But seriously, what was to be gained by writing to him about it? That, to my mind, crosses a lot more boundaries than any fic I can imagine.

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              • Exactly, CP. Re fanfic, we’re not saying it’s all great stuff–I still can’t believe someone wrote slash stories about the guys from Top Gear!– but why, WHY would anyone feel compelled to write Richard about some fanfic they didn’t approve of?

                What good did that really do anyone? A writer, who was receiving no pay for her work BTW, was hounded off the internet because some fans freaked out over her stuff?

                Thst’s not an accomplishment I would be particularly proud of.

                In the immortal words of the drill sergeant in Stripes–Lighten up, Francis!

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                • Slash about the guys from Top Gear?! The mind is a curious thing. Wait, that means there’s Guy/Vasey slash too! Ewwwwwww! πŸ˜‰

                  As for telling RA, that’s why I sense an element of spite; they need to protect their view no matter what.

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                  • yeah, there is definitely Guy / Vasey slash.

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                    • Well, as you know, Servetus, I have written slash, but I have to do it my way, which is definitely kinder and gentler than some of what I have seen out there. For me the dark and sadistic route just doesn’t work. It’s not “me” as a writer. Not criticizing others who do write it, just stating my POV. Someone said it’s like a sweet, funny romance that happens to feature two guys LOL

                      The thought of Guy/Vasey slash creeps me out. Although I always thought the Troll put his hands on Guy just a little too much for Guy’s comfort . . . in this “children’s” show.

                      Guy manipulates Vasey in “Dangerous to Know” playing upon those kinky thoughts Sherry has about Guy. Much to Sherry’s detriment Muhahahahahaha!

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                • Wait. Top Gear slash?

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                  • Yeah, I know. The mind boggles.

                    But a fellow RA (and Top Gear) fan whom I trust said Top Gear slash is out there, although she hasn’t been able to bear the thought of reading any of it, even though she does read slash (can’t blame her there . . .) The Hamster and Captain Slow and Jeremy doing the nasty? With each other? I just don’t want to go THERE . . .

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      • Some people have taken things way too seriously — including Richard Armitage at times. Yes, I really said that. No offense to him, but he should have never deigned to address that issue or others, and I’m not down on him because he felt it was a reflection on him. It was not at all. He is not responsible if someone who happens to like him misbehaves. I’m sorry that he felt it was, and I’m so glad he’s distanced himself from that crap.

        And it’s amazing to me when fans feel entitlement beyond paying to watch something and wanting to get their money’s worth for it. Almost two years ago now I remember a fan who frequented IMDb (as I did in those days) getting their knickers in a twist over one of his interviews where he seemed to be criticizing some fans. She wrote to his agent to complain. Color me shocked when he replied with one of his messages. I’m so jaded I thought it was a joke at first and laughed about it.

        Thankfully, he’s learning that an arms’ length relationship with the public is healthy. In his innocence he didn’t realize at first how ferocious the public can be. No, innocence is not a euphemism for stupid. I think it’s more the case of “to the pure all things are pure.”

        And now I need to listen to my own words.

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        • I seriously doubt RA has been part of any fandom; he’s unaware of what goes on. Mostly likely he surmised from the letters that the story was a rare aberration and a Big Deal, and he was expected to address it. Had he known about fan fic, its varieties, and that such stories are common, he probably would have ignored the letters. So, yes, his innocence played a part too.

          Apparently from his Christmas greeting, he’s venturing a toe in the water again. Hope nobody bites it off. Again.

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          • Judi, you’re probably right about his addressing the fanfic situation, but he’s been part of his own fandom at times, which is not an accusation at all. I realize he was not a big name and had time and was kind and innocent enough to interact with fans.

            Funny enough, my next diary entry is about discovering his messages to fans. It’s interesting to read my reaction to that now.

            Of course I agree about his annual greetings. I hope they do not swell expectations to unrealistic proportions. LOL! I couldn’t help but laugh. It is so absurd that this is even an issue. But then this is the general public, and with it come some nuts. Just hope I’m not one of them. πŸ˜†

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            • Frenz, it’s my unqualified but considerably hot-aired opinion that the ones who are self-ware and keep tabs on their sanity usually aren’t the ones we need to worry about. You’re fine. πŸ˜‰

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        • That is the thing I recall I’d been a fan about year when that broke. It was a really sad episode on so many levels. Fans taking sides and RA withdrawing from fandom.

          I write FF but I would never write about a real person that is just creepy. I cannot stand slash it just does work for me. Do I complain about them no, I just don’t read them

          I guess that the wonderful people who write the blogs do in a way lay themselves open to criticism if a poster does not agree with the point they are making. But as I said those people replying don’t have to read it.

          I wonder if his fandom is evolving as well. When he first came on the scene it was really period dramafans who liked him. That has changed over the years the fan base is wider and more diverse. So RA does not have a hope of pleasing us all and nor should he try.

          The other thing I notice about the internet is that

          1 peoples comments get misunderstood. There is no body language or change of tone in a typed comment.

          2 people can be unbelievably rude when they hide behing a user name.

          No 1 happens a lot in RA fandom especially on a certain board.

          NO 2 happens rarely but is normally found where there are no mods.

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          • Khandy,

            I do think his fanbase is definitely evolving. North & South was the catalyst for the intial furor over him and it’s been–what? seven years since that originally aired?

            Since then, he’s done what has been called a children’s show (Robin Hood) and two contemporary action series, Spooks and Strike Back. Now he is playing a Nazi spy and warrior dwarf. Quite different from the romantic period hero many initially gushed and swooned over.

            Some fans will fall away (or already have) because they don’t like his choice of roles; others will continue to support him because we know no matter what character he chooses to play, he will bring something special to the table. And new fans have been gained along the way who are perhaps quite different than those original JT-oriented fans.

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        • That sense of entitlement some “fans” feel still amazes and confuses me, Frenz. To me, THAT is something to be concerned over, not somebody’s fanfic or vids or artwork that you in some way find objectionable . . . read, watch, listen to what you like and enjoy and leave the rest ALONE. If a particular forum or blog distresses you greatly, then don’t go there unless you are a glutton for punishment.

          But don’t assume you should have the power as some sort of Red Queen of Armitageworld, shouting “off with their heads” every time someone, including RA, says or does something with which you disagree.

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        • I had a former boss who once told me that if you are unhappy/angry about something that you have read, write your reply, but then wait 24 hours and read it through again before deciding whether or not you should send it. Giving yourself this time to think about your response, you invaribly find that it is unwise to press the SEND button.

          I was never “the sharpest knife in the drawer”. I have always been of ‘C’ grade intelligence and should have listened my boss’ wise councel.

          Because (RAFrenzy), I’m the “fan that got her knickers in a twist” about reading an interview where I felt that RA was criticizing his fans, and consequently, as you correctly stated above, I wrote to his agents. I was misguided and don’t know what I thought I was trying to achieve by sending the e-mail. It backfired on me, big time.

          This is one of those stupid/foolish moments in my life that I still regret on almost a daily basis. I was naive, to say the least, and was terribly hurt by some of the cruel replies, and, some say, deserved backlash I received. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I should have certainly have waited 24 hours and read it through again.

          I was incredibly shocked at the response from his protective fans, who told me in no uncertain terms what they thought of me, and it was not pleasant, I can assure you.

          To this day, I still feel physically sick, as I did on reading you mention the event in your post above. And when RA wrote a message a couple of days later, I wished the floor would have opened up and swallowed me.

          It made me ill at the time and shattered any confidence I ever had about making any comments about RA on any blog again. This is extremely scary and painful to write, but isn’t confession supposed to be good for the soul?

          I know admitting that I am the person responsible for my lunacy on this blog today is very risky and I’m dreading reading the comments that you will post in reply.

          Also, I understand if I’m banned from posting comments or am removed in the future.

          Before this happens, I’d like to say that I’ve enjoyed all threads and posts from all on this blog.

          I now don’t feel so alone in some of my thoughts about RA and I’m not as crazy as I once thought I was, although you may all disagree with this. He’s a man that inspires us all in so many ways, such an incredible human being, and VERY easy on the eyes.

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          • Wow. THIS WAS BEYOND BRAVE.

            Nobody pick on lizzie. Seriously. Questions and comments are allowed, NO CASTIGATION.

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          • Bless your heart, lizzie.

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          • It takes a big person to admit what you have, lizzie, and I have a lot of respect for that.

            And that was great advice from your former boss. I think if some of the people who comment online at my newspaper would do just that–give themselves 24 hours to think things over–they wouldn’t post or they would certainly re-word things.

            No castigating from me, I assure you.

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          • Lizzie,

            I echo what others have said in their admiration of your making the post, and yes, confession can be good for the soul. But please know that you owe me nor anyone else a thing. You were and are entitled to an opinion even if someone disagrees with you — as I did about this incident.

            I do want you to know that I’ve never condoned anyone being nasty to you, and I really hate that the situation was so painful for you or anyone else. I hope that your post and this discussion will allow all of us who may have a need to put it behind. I know I had put it behind, and I should not have made that comment about the entitlement as it was a direct hit on you.

            What’s so ironic about this is that when the interview backlash happened, I also felt I shouldn’t have written that long diatribe on IMDb about how I hate the word fan. Imagine how it felt to see it in a postscript from Richard Armitage. It felt pretty weird and had me wishing I had never said a thing. Now I find myself in that situation again with the same incident. LOL! Yes, I’m chuckling at how this bit me again. LOL!

            So tell you what, let’s just move on. You game for that? πŸ˜€

            Pax,
            Frenz

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          • OK.

            -Lizzie, I want to agree with what everyone has said here, in particular that you have the right to an opinion even if people disagree with you, and you have a right to express and explore it on this blog.

            -Second, I need to think a bit more about my own ethical position in writing something that essentially was a criticism of your behavior when I am asking people not to criticize. This is a really hard tightrope to balance on, and I beg your forgiveness for saying something that hurt you.

            -Third, I really think you should not blame yourself, and certainly not on a daily basis (though I completely understand how guilt roots itself in one’s soul). What the comments on this blog argue, and I agree, is that the trend was always going to have to be for Mr. Armitage to take a more distanced stance toward his fans. “Good behavior,” whatever that is, wasn’t ever going to change that. He had to “grow up” and his fans had to realize that they weren’t going to control him with their behavior, no matter what kind of behavior it was. I don’t even think we can say that you were in the wrong place at the wrong time with your comment, that it was a bad coincidence, because I’m not sure it was you (that is, your letter could have been just one, or the last complaint in a series of complaints — we just do not have enough information to know) that caused anything. And anyone who blames you or makes you feel responsible for something that practically had to happen anyway has an awfully big axe to grind themselves, I am guessing.

            –fourth, even if if you are right, and it was “your fault,” there *has* to be forgiveness in the world, both from others and from yourself. No one can live with that kind of guilt. Anyone who feels they have to keep making you feel guilty is really expressing something fundamental about themselves, not about you. I urge you: say to yourself: “I learned from this, I would do it differently now, I can’t change what happened, I’m sorry.” Don’t shut yourself off from people, because then you can never experience their forgiveness, and you end up trapped in pain and guilt. This is also a dynamic I am all too familiar with from my own life.

            Fifth, a sum total of one person has been blocked from posting on this blog (and there’s been one other person I’ve thought about blocking). No one is ever blocked here for diversity of opinion. I shut down one thread when I felt that I had caused a flame myself by not adhering to my own rules, but as long as no ad hominem attacks take place, you are *always* free and welcome and encouraged to say whatever you think.

            Again, I really admire your bravery. You get the purple heart for today. πŸ™‚

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            • Granted the things that human beings can do to hurt each other . . . you’re in the clear, Lizzie. You didn’t really do anything wrong in expressing your opinion; you just did something other people disagreed with.

              Anybody here who hasn’t written an upset or angry note at some point in her life? One that you regretted? I thought not. Your misfortune was to write something which happened to upset a number of people who were very vocal and hostile, I gather. If you were “wrong” to write what you did, they were “wrong” to write things that made you feel miserable and guilty. Perhaps a general forgiveness on all sides is in order? It’s a shame that something I truly believe most of us have done backfired so harshly because a number of people learned of it, but the people who criticized you were part of the problem. It certainly sounds as if their contribution wasn’t always peaceable and benign. It’s a shame when such things happen in a fandom; we all are fans because it bring us joy, and then occasionally we stumble into something in the fandom that causes HUGE grief. You’re not alone in experiencing that.

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          • Many months late, but I am going to come in support of Lizzie here. I’m sorry it is so tardy. I was the OP on the thread Lizzie is talking about. The topic related to “Do Actors need fans” and was very much a topic all of you have discussed from time to time on the blogs. In fact it was a discussion with regard to fan behaviour and we were reflecting about whether RA’s fandom was becoming a bit unmanageable and whether he was a trifle embarrassed by it all. Does he (or any other actor), “need” fans or does he not “need” fans and their expressions of support/presents etc. The rationale behind all of this came from comments he had made, (or was reported to have made) in the print media during the promos for Spooks 7 (2008) with regard to the fandom/the AA and the presents some fans have given him including a pair of boxer shorts with a caricature drawn by an artist placed on the leg (I believe these were the “knickers” everyone so loves to refer to) – if you can be bothered to search, you can find a lot of the interviews on Richard Armitage Online where fans are being described as going into paroxysms of orgasmic delight over him; where he described some of his presents as “weird”… well maybe they were, I don’t know. All in all the impression that was given by the journalists was that RA was ambivolent about, to the point of embarrassed by, the fanbase. Those of us who were original posters on the thread were questioning whether actors like RA really need a fanbase of the intensity it was in those days (at the time of Guy of Gisborne RH S2); and/or whether actors find fanbases at times, annoying and embarrassing. There was some confusion about what measure of support and respect RA really wanted from the fanbase. At no time in my opinion was there ever any implication that RA “owed” his fans anything … I still don’t understand where that misconception came from, but the IMDb posters of that time became a target for every recrimination that could be hurled at us simply for expressing our confusion about the comments made. None of us to my knowledge had ever written to RA, sent him presents, or were even interested in meeting him – we simply watched his work and liked to discuss on IMDb.

            As Lizzie has mentioned, she, in the heat of the moment, sent an email for which she deeply regretted, and had to suffer absolute vitriole, ostracism and nastiness from the fandom. We all did, but she was given the harder time and I’m sorry for it. Like her, when RA chose to reply, I was ready to sink through the floor as I had felt responsible for starting the discussion which led to the response. To this day, I don’t know why RA decided to even respond and I was upset that he did. Lizzie, I think suffered at the hands of the fandom way more than I did, but I did not visit the forums for over a year, and I still avoid that particular message thread as we were labelled “crazies” and no doubt other derogatory descriptors simply for expressing a concern we had on a public forum. I personally have learnt my lesson, and as a person who is very sensitive to criticism, ridicule and downright meanness, I am very careful these days to avoid any sort of conflict within the fandom. Apologies to Lizzie for not commenting earlier and clarifying the circumstances surrounding that RA message before now.

            MHJ

            PS: I’m really glad RA continued to send a message at Christmas after that August 3rd message, as it showed we were not entirely to blame for him stopping communication.

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            • Thanks for the thoughtful comment, MHJ, and the helpful context. I do think it’s easy for communities to pick on each other — I know there are RA communities that I like better than others myself, and it’s tempting to condescend or allow oneself to be mean.

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      • It was in 2007 that he mentioned that he got complaints about an “adult only Gisborne site” (though I never found out what that really was) but the messages continued for more than a year after that. I don’t know what caused them to stop but I don’t think it was connected to speculation about his private life either. I always was under the impression that it had to do with something happening behind the scenes that was pretty serious.

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        • I came on the scene in early 2008, and this was still being talked about. I never knew what happened either, and frankly, I didn’t care. I was never going to frequent that site, so I blew it off, and therein lies the most important part of having fun with this — blowing off things that do not matter.

          IMO (yes, it’s just my opinion you know what they say about opinons; yes, it’s true. : D), too many people take themselves too seriously. I think we all do that at one time or another, and I really resist that urge ’cause when I don’t, I bore myself not to mention others it probably bores.

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        • I read in an print interview in which he said he was distancing himself from fandom or words to that effect. It was the first time I realized some sort of implosion had occurred (a phenomona I’ve unfortunately encountered in every fandom in which I’ve participated). It made me wonder why he would feel the need and expressly say so after being so interactive.

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          • Judi, I’m not surprised this is a common phenomenon. Is the general public involved? LOL!

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            • Yeah, amirite you know? LOL!

              Sigh. This is why we can’t have nice things. BTW, I also learned fans aren’t the only ones who can hurt a fandom. I also keep an eye on the source of adulation. Happily RA seems a stable agreeable bloke.

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      • I just want to mention that Calvinists have some of the most intellectually curious minds of the European seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It’s mostly to Calvinists that westerners owe their tradition of religious dissent.

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        • Very good point, having Calvanistic leanings myself, and being from a church based on that kind of theology.

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        • I just want to thank you for having less than 95 theses. : D

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        • Well, this bucks me up, granted that my ancestry is so heavily Calvinist. It’s used as though it’s a swear word.

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          • How right you are aaa! Made you almost afraid to mention the name as folk would come down on you like a ton of bricks. I have found that some have quite erroneous ideas about him and his theology!

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            • I think the problem comes in with something called tulip. In an effort to simplify it, a stumbling block was created.

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              • Very well put!! That is exactly what happened and didn’t help at all!

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                • yes, although the dynamic was a much older one. In much of his writing on free will, for instance, Calvin is already trying to resolve problems set up by Augustine and raised again by Counter-Reformation era controversialists. So even though Calvin was at best a shaky endorse of limited atonement (I can think of at least twenty articles or books on this topic and whether he did or didn’t), the TULIP people were only taking up themes that were already under discussion by the mid-16th century. DO NOT ask me how I know this stuff πŸ™‚

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          • Calvin should certainly be included in any rousing discussion of identity, and I’m sure there will be some oaths. πŸ˜‰

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            • Absolutely, since Calvin was so critical of people who pretended to be something they weren’t.

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      • OK, I think I’ve read this whole train of comments now regarding things that have happened in the fandom in the past.

        I can understand that not every fan is comfortable with everything that is written about Mr. Armitage, either as himself or in the guise of characters he has played. I’m certainly not. However, how is it not coercive to Mr. Armitage to write to him or his agents to complain about what other fans are doing? Of course, once anyone writes to say, “here’s this fic of questionable taste about a character associated with you,” he *has* to react. What is he going to say? Social mores being what they are, it’s inconceivable that he could say, “write what you want.” I have to agree that he was not personally hurt by the fiction (since the vast majority of readers, even those under the age of 18, can distinguish between a real person and a fictional role) — but he was pushed forcefully into a corner about complaints about it. If he had not responded, he’d have been understood to have been condoning it. But I think it’s important to note here that it wasn’t that he was surfing the web and ran across something he found offensive and asked the author to remove it. He was told by a segment of his fans that he should do so. I agree that it’s the fans here who are hurting the fandom by acting on their insecurities and then insisting that Mr. Armitage do so as well, putting him in a position where he had little choice as to how to respond.

        I don’t see how fans can possibly be under an obligation never to do anything that the object of their attentions finds questionable, embarrassing, or whatever. That would suggest that becoming part of his fandom requires that I adopt Mr. Armitage’s conscience for my own. First of all, he’s never asked that of any of his fans; he’s limited himself to rather generalized moral discussions along the lines of modesty and the Golden Rule. But secondly, that would be difficult. The lines of what constitutes an embarrassment are drastically different in England than they are in the United States. Probably cultural mores in the UK require that he’s somewhat embarrassed by having fans in general. Does that mean that because I know it’s embarrassing to him, I should avoid being his fan? That would seem counter-intuitive to his success as a performer, which requires to some extent that he has fans.

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        • His reaction to the alarmists who were outraged by the S/M story was interesting. If I remember the message, he sounded sort of half-hearted about even mentioning the issue and, I think, was careful to say that posting S/M material about Guy was a problem because Guy was in a kids’ show. And so they might see it, which wouldn’t have been a good thing at all. Fair enough. But it did seem as if he was backed into having to respond in some way. That seemed outrageous to me at the time. Bullies by proxy.

          Wasn’t there also at some point a message saying that he didn’t favor one message board above another, didn’t communicate personally with anyone who runs a message board or fan site, and so on? It made me think “Somebody’s been saying that she and RA are friends, at the least . . . yechhhh. How pathetic to have RA as an imaginary friend you brag to other people about!” I don’t actually know what happened behind the scenes that led to that message, though. Those messages left me thinking “This poor man is being made miserable by fans who want him to control his own fandom. He doesn’t want that, and in any case, it would be impossible. Poor man; some fans must drive him batty.”

          I read the half-hearted “please don’t post stuff inappropriate for kids” message and thought “This is a grown man, and unless he’s very unusual, he’s probably seen some porn in his life. He’s probably seen S/M porn in the past; it’s out there. I assume he knows that reading porn doesn’t automatically turn a person into a slavering sex maniac, and S/M porn doesn’t necessarily make readers race out and buy whips and chains. For all we know he read the piece as a piece of fiction and enjoyed it! Who knows?”

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          • On the first, I’d need to check my chronology on this before making any definitive claims, but there was an article that interviewed him and Keith Allen heavily, I believe from 2007, in which he was asked directly about fanfic and he referred with what seemed to me like amusement to “sadomasochistic stuff.”

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  10. Well said. Bravo. πŸ™‚

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  11. Spot on, Servetus, and beautifully argued! πŸ™‚

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  12. I wonder, Servetus, do you regret all this? I mean finding Mt A and becoming a fan with all that that has entailed for you? Do you wish. It had never happened? Or do the benefits (for you) outweigh the costs (I don’t mean monetary costs obviously).

    Mr A has a pretty special fandom (I think) and if you had latched onto another actor or celebrity then you might not have found the level of interest and responsiveness to your writing that you have going on here. Perhaps. And your interest (in that other actor/celebrity) might have fallen away quickly as a result. What am I trying to say here? Not sure. But I think the community aspect of this “hobby” is important and has many facets.

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    • He is very special. I have never had such a strong reaction to a performer (and never such fantasies, but only about his characters), although I had my crushes, naturally. He is different and his beauty is different – he has an inner beauty and a way to move and inspire that must be very unusual.

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    • Wow, what a question, and again I feel “seen through,” kaprekar πŸ™‚ this isn’t the first really shockingly intuitive comment you’ve made.

      On the whole, I don’t regret things, period. There’s one post on this blog I really regret making, because I wasn’t mature enough to follow my own rules and see what was going on when I responded to comments.

      Maybe I should save this for a post much later, but on the whole, no. On individual days when I get a poison email I want to throw in the towel, but the good outweighs the bad by a large percentage. When Armitagemania happened, I was in desperate straits — something was going to have to happen. I was grateful that it happened. And I am very grateful for the many *kind* and supportive readers I have.

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    • I feel a little weird barging in here, since many of you are friends, but Servetus’ brave post about her fantasies has brought this lurker out of the shadows. πŸ™‚ Lots of fans say they spend hours online watching RA because they admire his acting skill and would never fantasize about him (and that’s probably true in some cases–I don’t mean to offend anyone) Still,I have wondered if the fans making the raunchy posts on youtube are more honest than the rest of us. πŸ™‚ I don’t generally crush on celebrities and never to this extent– my RA fascination sometimes seems more like an illness than a crush. πŸ™‚ I’m now at the point of asking myself “Why him?”, “Why me?”, “Why now?”. For what it’s worth, here are my thoughts:
      1. Why him? I could name a dozen talented, beautiful actors who I admire but have never fantasized about. My current theory is that RA represents a powerful masculine archetype, a masculinity that is capable of both extreme brutality and extreme gentleness. His characters seem to swing on a pendulum between those extremes. They spend more time at the extremes than in the middle, yet he somehow makes the character completely believable. He sort of referenced this when talking about the monstous mill-owner versus the “vulnerable boy” in Thornton, or when he said: β€œIf I’m offered the role of the hero, I immediately look for the antihero within; I see everything in terms of an outer skin and an inner skin.” Women respond to RA much more than men, so maybe the tension or attraction of this archetype (or duelling archetypes) is especially powerful for women?? I think this could also explain why he inspires such creative growth and expression in his fans; he stirs the psyche and the psyche responds.
      2. Why me? Where am I in my life right now that makes me respond to RA in this way? My current thinking is that I’m struggling to access my masculine self. I need to connect with the part of myself that is strong, effective, powerful, that focuses on action rather than feelings, that does what’s necessary, that isn’t afraid to be confrontational. I think perhaps RA portrays these qualities, and at the same time (especially in Guy and Lucas, haven’t seen Strike Back) he shows an ambivalence and even self-disgust at his “masculine” behavior and actions. I think that
      ambivalence resonates for me emotionally at this partcular time. I’ve also toyed with the idea RA often conveys a certain self-consciousness or shyness which I, being fundamentally shy myself, find attractive. I also liked Servetus’ post about the way he draws in his audience by both withholding and revealing at the same time. In a couple of interviews he’s described trying to both conceal and peel back layers in his characters.
      3. Why now? Well, there’s the issue I mentioned above, about my
      stuggle to release my more masculine qualities. Also, while I have a good life, I’m dissatisfied with many things right now: my work, my relationships, my feelings of irrelevance as I age and become less attractive and productive in a society that puts a premium on both, my lack of expression, my lack of a creative community. I don’t think it’s an accident that I’m drawn to RA at this point in time. I also don’t think I’m actually in love with a total stranger who I’ve never seen and probably never will see. But, as Servetus said, ignoring the experience isn’t good, and in my case at least, nor is pretending it isn’t significant. My current plan is to study my fantasies and try and learn from them. I’m hoping that when the fantasies end, I’ll even be a wiser and happier person as a result of this experience.

      I’m vaguely off-topic here but that’s my 2 cents and thanks for all the thought-provoking comments and the great photos. I’m not very computer-savvy, so I’ll slink back into the shadows now.
      P.S. If I was computer-savvy, I’d make a screencap of Thornton at the first (male-only) dinner party. There a beautiful candlelit image that I haven’t seen in a screencap anywhere. Cheers.

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      • Daisy,

        You make some excellent points here and please don’t stay in the shadows. This is a very good place to be, lots of food for thought, and civilized behavior, two things you don’t find just everywhere on the internet. πŸ˜‰

        Richard registering in your life at a time of crisis and/or reaching a crossroad in life, wanting something more from your life; so many of us seem to fall into those categories.

        Richard Armitage is an amazing fellow, and how he affects me certainly goes above and beyond being a handsome, talented and charismatic performer. He seems to strike a special chord in us and it is, yes, I have to say this, a life-changing experience.

        And one I do not regret. I love the way he inspires me and indirectly encourages me as a great role model in life–his dedication to his craft but lack of self-importance; yes, that shyness and sweet-naturedness that shines through, his support of charities, his gentlemanly behavior.

        By the way, have you checked out all the N&S screencaps at Richard Armitage Central Gallery and at IHEARTRichardArmitage? I could swear I have seen the screencaps you are speaking of . . . There are links here to access them.

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      • Hey, Daisy, thanks for the great, detailed comment and welcome. I apologize that it’s taken days for me to get back to you — it’s been a big five days or so. I really like this point about masculinity and ambivalence. I’d like to expand on it in future if you don’t mind. My Dear Friend the feminist film blogger thinks something very similar, and the body language involved is interesting.

        A year and a half ago most of us didn’t know each other. So we hope you’ll be friends with us, too πŸ™‚

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        • Thanks for the welcome, Servetus. Please do expand on anything I said — that’s why I put it out there. Sounds like you’re going through some big career changes in the last few days, so best of luck in whatever you do next.

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  13. Oh, and the suffering, introspective gaze in the Porter picture is amazing. Great acting moment, haunting grey-green almond eyes. Wonderful cap! πŸ™‚ Lucas’s memories cause different expressions.

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  14. I am guessing being fan is different for each of us. I certainly don’t regret it. On the whole it has been positive experience for me. Any disputes I have been involved in have been easily resolved.

    Although I don’t fantasize abour RA himself, but quite obviously I do about his characters. Why is that I wonder, I think it is because he immerses himself in his roles so completely that I know his characters better than the man himself.

    I’m not a dreamer as in close my eyes and dream while asleep. Infact I have probably only has five or six dreans in my entire life. I have no idea why I just don’t. So I certainly don’t dream about the man or his characters. It is only in my writing that my thoughts are played out.

    I do find that I am protective of him and find myself defending his choice of roles. It got so bad that I actual in the main avoid those discussions. That is my choice and as I think Angie says we do have a choice about whether we join in with a discussion or not.

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    • I need to write more about the protectiveness issue. The last time I raised that I got a comment that sort of shut down my desire to continue, but it’s been on my mind.

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  15. Amen! I think finding your voice is not only liberating for YOU, but it liberates all of us because it gives us the freedom to do so, and I don’t just mean in our fan lives but in RL. We are all grown women and it is for each and everyone of us to establish her boundaries. As for Mr. Armitage, I agree he does not need our “protection” as he is as a grown man and is more than capable of taking care of himself. He seems to be doing a great job thus far.

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    • I feel exactly the same way. Everytime I see a new blog emerge or a new fanfic author, I think, “someone else is finding a voice.” It’s really gratifying and inspiring. I think that’s the aspect of the fandom that we should emphasize and promote.

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  16. I second what Kaprekar is saying. Having been a part of another fandom for many years, I can’t imagine anyone having the type of discussions that RA fans have, all the many unique blogs, and especially here Servetus, you challenge us to think about RA, being fans,and so many things. I agree this is all unique to RA fans and a reflection of the wonderful man that he is.

    Of course, I also believe people have a right to disagree, as long as they do it politely and in a civilized way.

    I admire your honesty Servetus. As for Richard Armitage, he’s an adult, a very level headed adult as far as I can tell, an intelligent person,and it was his choice to become an actor and a public figure. As a shy man he may not love the red carpet moments and other things, but I’m positive he knows it’s part of his job as an actor, and I’m positive that most of the time he’s grateful to have loyal fans who support his career after struggling so many years. I’m sure he can tell the difference between supportive fans and fans that cross the line, and there’s nothing from what I have seen or read of him that tells me he hasn’t handled all of it well.

    Not meaning to sound pompous, but here’s a quote from a favorite writer that sums up what I believe better than I can:
    Liberty is the right of every man to be honest, to think and to speak without hypocrisy.
    Jose Marti

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  17. Wonderful! You really describe an ideal fan-world and I admire your courage and energy to fight for your believes. RA is a freeing energy and a wonderful motivator, not a ‘bean-counter’ (= German: ErbsenzΓ€hler; absolutely intentional reference to “Strike Back”). I feel the same effects of him for my life and wish you all the best with your efforts! (Besides, I want to read more of your wonderful posts about fandom. Your analyses are absolutely addictive and brilliantly written ;o)

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    • I suppose the next step in this analysis is to talk about why watching him promotes self-expression … thanks for the kind comment.

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      • I will look forward to such a post. I know he has unleashed something in me that I can’t imagine would have happened with any other performer.

        I desire to express myself all the more, even in ways some may not agree with or condone (and as a people pleaser, that is something of a breakthrough for me); a wellspring of creative impulses seem to flow out of me. And I have seen this happen to others again and again and again through fic writing, blogging, vidding, artwork . . . This is the only fandom I have ever been involved in, but surely, this is a somewhat unusual communal experience?

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        • I look forward to her take as well. The inspiration has puzzled me exceedingly. The effect on me has been marked. Sorry I can’t share what as so many have been willing to do, and I’ve enjoyed that thoroughly.

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          • I’ve scratched my head over this question more than once. Why Richard Armitage? Why the Armitage Effect?

            I can’t imagine making more than 40 videos on little more than a month NTM writing all that fanfic and commenting frequently online for ANY other performer.

            I remember consciously looking for things I could dislike about him because I questioned my sanity over going so gaga about a fellow at this stage of my life. Didn’t happen.
            Don’t really anticipate it happening, either.

            But it’s wonderful, it really is, this effect, and all those I have gotten to know through my various efforts. Being part of the fandom has, in fact, been a blessing.

            But what else could I expect from a good man sent by God? πŸ˜€

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            • It puzzled me too, and I did think about it a lot, but I realized something along the way, and that’s what my diary is about.

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            • I wonder why I felt the need to write about this man’s character. I mean he is not the first actor that I have admired as my Mum pointed out yesterday I have watched a lot of Kevin Kline, Harrison Ford and Tom Hanks movies.

              For me at least It was timing he entered my life when things were grim. Writing was something I could do away from society while m wounds healed to stop me going mad from boredom.

              Servetus and all the other bloggers I think were I you I would try and hold on to the fact that these people who criticise you are very much in the minority

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              • Khandy,

                I’ve said this before but it is worth saying again. RA seems to come into our lives–to register on our radars–just when we need him most. For me, it was struggling with the decline and deaths of parents and in-laws while dealing with my own health issues.

                The fandom and becoming a fanfic writer and now vidder allows me to escape some of the pressures and strains of my daily life without resorting to less healthy things like alcohol and pills.

                And I agree. I think the joyless, humorless ones who try to rain on the parade are definitely im the minority

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  18. Servetus,

    I was struck by something you mentioned early on in this post, about how you were taking flak for not “labeling [the Porter vignettes] as fiction.”

    Firstly, I applaud you for NOT calling these fiction. It takes a lot of nerve to make this kind of disclosure. The fact that you’re willing to look hard at things – sometimes difficult things – is the reason I follow this blog.

    And secondly: what? Do “inappropriate” thoughts somehow become acceptable when narrated in the third person? Is that why the video that launched a thousand comments was artistic, but talking about how it makes us feel is lewd? Where does that leave the performer, when the purpose of a performance is to be seen and reacted to?

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    • CP,

      Excellent! I should just quote your entire post. : D

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    • Thanks. I think your second point is essential. One might say that one desired effect of theatrical performance is (inter alia) to produce discomfort. Now, of course, Strike Back is not theatre of alienation — but one would guess that for an actor part of the desired goal would be to deliver something that makes his audience struggle a bit with their reactions.

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      • Actually, in all forms of art, the desire is to move the spectator, the reader, the audience in some way, is it not? Whether it is happiness or pleasure or fear or anger or guilt, the artist wants to spark a reaction.

        In the newspaper biz, we say if we aren’t making at least one reader angry every day, we aren’t doing our job.

        I’ll make no bones about it. I wrote the first paragraph of my story on the drunk driving demonstration with the goal of making my readers very uncomfortable. But as my co-worker said, it grabbed their attention and held it. If I can save one kid from drinking and driving, it will be worth making a thousand people squirm in their chairs.

        When people tell me my fiction makes them laugh, or cry, or feel all tingly for that matter, well, then I think I am doing something right. When your blog entries spark spirited discussions, Servetus, then surely YOU are doing something right.

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    • I’ve been thinking a lot about this “it’s ok if it’s the third person” thing. Historians wrestle a lot with the problem of what the difference is between autobiography and fiction. The distinction isn’t entirely obvious. My students have trouble with it, too.

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  19. Why I like to read this blog? because the author is not “crazy” fan of RA. Writing about Mr. Armitage you always write with such esteem. Your analysis also helps me to understand the phenomenon of this artist. I think that your fantasies do not endanger others. They are beautiful and I thank you that you’ve shared with them

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  20. On a more general level, may I offer felicitations to servetus and other RA blog-owners (yes, Frenz) for the courage in speaking?

    As simply a commenter, I don’t feel exactly the responsibility of the blogger. As for commenters, the courtesy, tolerance and unity engendered by common appreciation for this actor, has been striking. We might not agree all details, but the discussions are, and have been broadening and enlightening. Appreciation to fellow commenters, too.

    Any who come with agendas less tolerant and express themselves sans courtesy and respect, (only a few) do find that this is not their environment. That can be a tough call for the bloggers, and I’ve been impressed with your reluctance to eject anyone except as a last resort.

    I truly hope that everyone will continue to speak their minds, with politesse and the good humour that has characterised these venues.

    I do lurk on one or two sites and forums, without comment, because I won’t shut my eyes to opinions which are far from my frames of reference. I also subscribe to diverse TV news networks and print media in the same spirit. Pointless to shut eyes.

    Good on you all.

    And major support for Richard Armitage.

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    • I’ve always thought it was healthy to read and listen to opposing viewpoints. That’s how I was reared, and I can’t imagine changing. Or to be blunt: it never bothers me for someone to disagree if it’s done with courtesy,and sometimes when it’s not.

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  21. I am just so grateful for your erudite and well considered comments on such a variety of topics. I am constantly being made to think by your writing and it has enhanced many RA scenes for me. I love your work and it enriches my life. I know of no other actor who has the same effect as Mr Armitage which seems to be an opinion widely shared here. I greatly admire your honesty and integrity and please don’t stop. What would I do without your musings?

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  22. Wow!! All these comments already! I should have guessed it would generate a lot of interest. Haven’t read all of your post yet or the comments but just wanted to say that I’m with you Servetus on the picture at the top of your blog today. Since everyone is so good at admitting things here, this is the picture I have enlarged a bit and look at last thing every night and first thing every morning! Would love LOVE to know what is going on behind those compelling eyes. I feel he is looking right into my soul!!!

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  23. RA fans have a certain honor, grace and respect for the feelings of the man who seems to be a bit shy and humble – which most all of us share.

    “Every second I spend thinking about what I am not allowed to say . . . is a waste of energy and a betrayal of self.”

    You said it best. It’s your blog. Say exactly what you want to say and be true to your self.

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  24. I can only agree to what has been expressed in the previous comments.
    Although I’ve hardly ever commented here, I’ve been following your blog for almost a year now and I am still looking forward to any new entry. Your analyses are extremely well written, your arguments are well balanced and your meticulous observations provide a lot of β€œfood for thought”. I’ve sometimes felt that you are too demanding on yourself but I’ve NEVER found your posts disrespectful either towards Mr. Armitage or your readers. I very much hope that I will be able to enjoy your blog for quite some time.
    I am really thankful to you – and to your regular commentators – for making me feel more at ease with my Armitagemania.

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    • I don’t think Servetus has it in her to be disrespectful, and this is a wonderful asset, but it is also what makes for the struggle in speaking without feeling like you’ve crossed into something forbidden. I pray for wisdom for her, and selfishly, for myself as well.

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      • Got it in one, Frenz. I don’t want to be disrespectful, but I have to be myself. I have no other choice anymore. How to balance those things for myself is hard enough, without the intrusions of people who think they know better.

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    • Very much with you Suse in what you have written there. I love this blog and so happy to be a part of it now. I find it a learning experience so many times and have NEVER EVER found Servetus disrespectful to Mr Armitage or us, the readers. On the contrary I have found just the opposite and feel very comfortable being here and thankful that others are part of this Armitagemania too and to know I am NOT crazy – even at my age!!

      Servetus – know you are LOVED!!!

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  25. Wow, didn’t expect all these comments! Let me get at it.

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  26. I really want to thank you all individually, severally, and collectively for these thoughtful comments. They were really helpful, reassuring, and also made me think about the next stuff to talk about. I really look forward to continued honest conversations on this blog with your support.

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  27. This is such a rousing discussion. There are so many issues raised, I’m still collecting my thoughts. (I DID mention I’m a slow thinker.) There are points raised by servetus and Frenz that have been immensely intriguing from the blogger PoV.

    Even for the commenter:

    One issue is, just how free do we feel post or comment? Even on such congenial and collegial sites as these. Personally, I still have a fear of making a donkey of myself and measuring below the radar on IQ. So, I have to think responses through. Which is also very self-conscious. There is also the fear of revealing oneself in too raw glory. etc.

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    • If you’re a slow thinker, there’s no hope for me. LOL!

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    • You made me laugh re: your comments about “slow thinker” and and below the radar IQ. Don’t we all sometimes suffer mental lapses? LOL

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    • I’ve been wondering lately if there’s any communications research into the conditions that facilitate speech on a blog. People have to feel comfortable. Maybe. Or they have to feel outraged? I’ve never wanted to encourage an atmosphere where people just deliver manifestos or statements and then march off into their corner to sulk.

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  28. Speaking of donkeys, touch-typing, after all these years, escapes this donkey. Proofing from the screen does, too. Failed the IQ test on both counts. 😦

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  29. I hadn’t been to see any of the LOTR movies when they were in the theatres but I saw part three of the Trilogy in a store, bought it, found that my son had the other two, watched all three in as short a time as I could and really loved them even though I wasn’t sure I would! HAD to read TH as soon as I found out a certain TDHBEW was to star in it and thankfully one of my granddaughters had a copy so devoured it quickly! I’m sure it will be magical as I think Sir Peter is a genius! Sorry if this is a little off topic but LOTR was mentioned above.

    A little anxious after hearing about, and seeing video of, the NZ tornado – thankfully (and selfishly) NOT in Wellington. Not on anything like the scale of the ones in the U.S. but scary none the less.

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    • Somehow I’ve found myself in a household of LOTR zealots. We own several copies of the LOTR books and two complete sets of the movies, and now they’re all laughing at me ’cause Richard Armitage is going to be in ‘The Hobbit’.

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    • I mean the household laughing at me and not the movies although I wouldn’t rule that out.

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      • I know the feeling! I can hear mine groaning inwardly (and sometimes outwardly!) or see them rolling their eyes when I mention him yet AGAIN!! Just wait though! WE know “The Hobbit” will be fantastic, especially Thorin!! So who will be laughing then, we ask! Some of my grandkids want to see CA with me though, so that is a start!! I am seeing some of the girls (there are 11 girls and 4 boys among my grandkids) taking a bit more interest though, so I’m doing my part!

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        • Oh, I hear you. We will certainly have the last laugh. My Significant Other is taking great delight that I’m now going to relent and see ‘The Hobbit’ when I swore I wouldn’t. So much for oaths. But I’m taking great delight that he will pay to watch Richard Armitage. MUHAHAHAHA.

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          • Revenge is sweet, isn’t it? *evil grin worthy of Vasey. Only I’m much cuter*

            Yes, I am very much looking forward to taking Dearest Benny to see both CA and TH.

            And I love having the last laugh. πŸ˜€

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  30. Prof, Thank you for the beautiful photo of RA that blew into my face when I switched on last night. I believe it takes a lot of guts, courage, responsibility, time, dedication even financially to be a blog owner/moderator (is that the right term)?

    When I ventured into this blog, my thoughts were this is a place for intellectuals, not that I am one.. but try to keep up with the discussions. I’m not a critique of topics, just comments at times but I love reading all the long discussions… and I learn historical facts. Thru this blog, I’ve gone to other sites too reading their fanfics, some I like some I don’t. It all depends on individual taste..which topic we love to read.

    Reading is also entertaining, so as the vids and the photos. Most probably there is envy around this blog for all the positive discussions and analysis going on. Who are we to antagonize one another in the pretext of constructive criticism? We have to be tolerant and develop a thick skin to deflect the arrows coming our way and learn to explain if our comments are construed the other way or taken out of context. Nobody’s perfect!

    This is no ordinary fan blog (not to offend the others). The bloggers seem to be good, nice people. The atmosphere around is informative, fun, loving and dedicated to the craft of the actor we so admire. If we fantasize, so be it, we don’t harm anybody and we don’t go over the top. We maintain the decency expected of us as fans of a modern society.

    I believe the most appalling aspect of cyber blogging is envy and squabbling. It would be more shameful I think if RA picks up the intrigue going on to think that we have one common denominator. I hate to think also that the reason for him staying under the radar is to avoid too much attention on his part as an actor and a person that even his private life is being scrutinized.

    I think we can assume that he loves his fans and he knows to stay in this business, one should have a fan base. We cannot blame him if interaction with fans’ within arms length ’cause he can’t choose the kinds of fans to have. Hope we all learn from the discussions.

    Keep up the good work! Thanks

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    • nice point that he can’t choose his fans. I wonder what kind of fan he would choose? The situation is complicated by the problem of humor — if he says, my fans are mostly mature Radio 4 listeners, he may be making a joke about himself, but not everyone may realized that. I’ve fallen into this, not liking to be called motherly, for instance. It’s nice that in the summer when asked about his fans he admitted, I talk about them like they’re one person but really they are very diverse.

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  31. Just a heads up that I will be slightly revising my ‘desire’ thesis. I have another one in the works… but are concerned it goes into terrain some folks will not want to think about. I may, once again, disrupt the fun of fandom.

    I’m a firm believer in reading and writing dangerously though, so keep at it, Servetus!

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    • Look forward to reading the revision. It’s my opinion that one reason there is such policing of other fans is the fear that Richard Armitage will cut off his communications completely. I think I’ve even read statements to that effect, e.g., if we don’t stop, there will be no messages. Or maybe that tone was there so much in some parts of RA universe, that I read that in. Whatever the case, the desperation was made starkly evident when I made my request for a verbal message.

      I love the messages, but I think the day I feel I can’t be honest about what I think of his performances or of anything to do with him actually, I will not want to participate in whatever this is — group, fandom, collection of fangirls, not sure what to call it.

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      • Forgive me, I’m rather new to this sphere, but it seems strange that people are so wrapped up in these missives from Mr. Armitage. I think it’s sweet that he has sustained this conduit to fans for as long as he has, but I don’t see this continuing except perhaps as an occasional gesture for old times’ sake. And I don’t believe it has a thing to do with what individual fans say or don’t say. As Martin Freeman so eloquently put it, Mr. Armitage “is in “The ***ing Hobbit.” I think fans are accustomed to a sense of intimacy with him that he simply won’t be able to deliver once he hits the mainstream.

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        • Hmmm. I think you are misunderstanding what I’ve said, so at the risk of being repetitive, I’ll try to be more clear.

          Part of the fan base is indeed used to the intimacy the messages bred and hates to give it up. It was cool that he was that connected and developed a type of relationship through his messages. So I can understand the desire for him to continue. But I take exception to the lengths to which some have gone to make sure the fan base is well behaved in the misguided belief this will induce Richard Armitage to continue. This kind of policing, no matter the well intentioned words with which it’s couched, really makes having fun a lot of work, and I’ve got plenty of work elsewhere.

          When I made my request for a verbal fan message (when or if he does one again), it was amazing the emails I got. Some were concerned for my mental health should he not reply. LOL!! Sorry I had to pause a moment and roll around on the floor at that. Some were put off that I would deign to make a request and how it would probably be offensive to “him” should he hear of it. Oh brother. LOL! I’m sitting hear having difficulty typing this for laughing, and I’m sorry if some who sent me those notes are reading this and are offended, but a lot of you need to lighten up. This is supposed to be fun. I know I’m having fun, but I did have a stutter step at all the amdonishments I received for supposedly overstepping a boundary. One good purpose it’s served is that I’m not sure I will be so responsive to them in the future. It was a drain, and I don’t need a drain.

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          • Did I misunderstand? I meant my comment to refer to the aforementioned “other fans” who seem so anxious to preserve the relationship (I’m resisting the urge to put scare quotes around that word).

            From my vantage point, the present state of Mr. Armitage’s interaction with fans seems congenial and perfectly normal. Then again, I’m a latecomer and don’t know how it was before.

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            • Aahh. I see I misunderstood, and we are agreed.

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              • Definitely agreed! And for the record, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with lobbying for a fan message. It never hurts to ask. If you later put it about that he was a jerk for not providing one, that would be excessive. But you don’t seem particularly prone to excess. πŸ™‚

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          • Some people just don’t get humor. Sad, but true.

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          • I do want to clarify that I have no problem with asking for a verbal message or an interview or an autograph or having him sign your copy of one of his shows. Heck, I made the sound bite asking him to consider coming to the US and playing a southern gentleman which RAF posted at her site!

            There’s no harm in asking . . . I just have a problem with fans who get all stroppy if he doesn’t do what they expect of him or says something they don’t like. Again, that sense he “owes” us something.

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            • It’s a bit like the crowd in front of Buckingham Palace shouting “kiss her” to William and Kate, I think. The joy is in making the request, not in having it fulfilled. And the addressee can fulfill it or not.

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              • Yep. I think of the fan who cheekily asked RA if she could feel his bicep muscle at a red carpet event. Well, he could have flashed one of those grins, crinkled his brow and said no, but he flexed and let her do it.

                Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

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          • I think it’s true that the first time you end up the object of some distress, it’s harder to take then later. A year ago, when something I said was misunderstood, I tried hard to clarify, until I realized that there are some interlocutors for whom you just can’t make it good. The growing significance of that realization has made some aspects of blogging easier.

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        • yes, I mean to say “here.”

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  32. I think there can be a self-consciousness even about commenting on a friendly blog. Which leads me to question: is this the real, unadulterated me? Or what image do I wish to present? For my satisfaction?

    Just ruminating.

    Behooving slow-thought grazers anywhere…

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    • I love ruminating and haven’t embraced it enough. I’ve always been moving too fast.

      Today, I’m actually sitting here grading papers and then saw this pop up. Unlike Servetus, I only have two students (a senior and a fifth grader). I know how hard this is for me, and I respect her all the more for what she is able to do.

      Moving on.

      Based on my experiences online, which has reached the 25 year mark this year, people who post long enough reveal what they’re about whether they intend it or not, so this idea that someone can craft a false image is somewhat of a myth. Oh, some can do it for awhile, and a very few can do it for a long time, but eventually, people get comfortable and their real personalities emerge.

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      • Emphatically agree. I’ve often found that I’ve developed a line for how much I can say about myself on the blog and then realize that I’ve implicitly crossed it later. Pseudonymity is increasingly a pro forma exercise for me. Of course, all this may change depending on what happens after June 1. And even if I said nothing about myself at all (though there are significant things I don’t say about myself here), basic facets of my personality emerge through my writing. Servetus is a piece of me that has significant overlap with the actual writer here.

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        • I always feel certain qualities in me end up in my fiction and even in the way I approach feature writing for our magazines. I don’t mean that the characters are me with a different name, please understand; just that certain elements–my humor, my tender side–tend to shine through. But I think that is part of finding your voice as a creative person.

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  33. RAF, you are so right. We can run, but not hide. That doesn’t prevent me being self-conscious, and therefore – what? spinning? Yeesh. I shudder to think what I’ve revealed of my pompous self on this, and other blogs.

    As for ruminating: spent so many years rushing among family/education/career etc responsibilities and trying to catch spaces to “ruminate”. We’re all a bit familiar with that. And I’m so not high-energy, go-go, always needing action. Just action in travel. Cows, goats and yes, tortoises come to mind πŸ˜€

    Rumination and chewing the cud is a bit easier now. (Oh, the fence blew down, and the carport requires remedial action? More manageable).

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  34. @CP, Complete agreement. I see no reason whatever for Richard Armitage to establish a web site/blog or to return to writing notes to fans. His earlier notes, from the RH days were charming.

    It is delightful of Sir Ian McClellan and Peter Jackson to communicate their thoughts via “new media”. Mr. Armitage is at a completely stage of his career, and somehow, it doesn’t seem appropriate. I’d like to offer more analytical reasons for this feeling; but it’s purely intuitive. Actually, I’d feel somewhat that he was pandering to fans, and it’s just the wrong time.

    Please maintain your privacy and discretion, sir, and allow your talent to speak for you.

    Naturally, I’d love to interview the gentleman, and enjoy thinking up questions, but in RL that’s best left to professionals who just might refrain from ask about circuses etc. in future. Or regrettably, not. Fun to play with, though.

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    • He has moved to a different stage of his career, and we have to accept that things change.

      I love the messages. They are charming, funny and disarming. But expecting him to keep it up now, to maintain these close ties to the fandom, when he is moving into the big time–it just seems to be asking a lot.

      I think he has already gone above and beyond in his treatment of his fans.

      But we are not automatically entitled to anything from him. He doesn’t belong to us.

      I would also love to interview him as I think he is such a fascinating, talented and interesting gentleman. And I definitely would NOT ask him about the bloody circus. πŸ˜‰

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  35. Late in 2008 when I discovered that there had even been those charming messages from Richard Armitage, he had already said he was ceasing. Imagine my surprise when there was a Christmas message in 2008, and then it happened again in 2009 and again in 2010. Great fun to receive those, and of course the one wedged in there during the summer of 2009 about the interview issue. So I think it’s fair to say it’s not clear he’s ceased his messages. If he does, then it was great fun while it lasted. If he hasn’t, I don’t feel the least funny about having requested a verbal, and there’s about a snowball’s chance in hell he would even know of my request anyway. But I had fun doing it and would do it again. πŸ˜€ And I might be the only one to make so public a request. I could be wrong about that. If so, please feel free to correct me.

    In the meantime, I’m continuing on with what I’m doing because as I’ve said over and over again, I’m having a blast. I wish I had done something like my blog sooner. Great fun, which thankfully has not been marred enough by all the angst over what Richard thinks or is inclined to do. LOL!

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    • I had said, when mulubinba asked whether it was time for him to have an official fan site, that he should do as he pleases. I stand by that. But in a way, I think that the official site would solve some of these fan factionalism problems. He would then be officially neutral with regard to communication.

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  36. @Frenz, we (fans, or I prefer “supporters”) exist in a different, parallel sphere from actors who capture our imaginations. I think the wish for a verbal message is a lovely one. Why should we not dream?

    Please just keep doing what you do. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not inappropriate, and crosses no lines. I hope I am clear about this. i don’t think you said anything that is construed as demanding of the actor. Good grief, we’re just enjoying discussions. Dreaming, and making no demands of the gentleman. .

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    • Thank you, Fitz, that is exactly what I’m doing.

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    • @fitzgj4, so true about fans existing in a different sphere. I worry though, that we will have our particular bubble burst when The Hobbit comes out, especially if he is attractive enough in that to generate squee. And also at the other extreme if his career does not take off spectacularly as is generally expected now. But I have a lot of confidence in him, which tends to pull me through my doubts. He’s fab. Squeeee!!!!!

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      • I worry about this, too. Sometimes I think that people who’ve been “fans from the beginning” are bothered by us newcomers because we’re ruining their beautiful little secret, and then I think, what will happen in the winter of 2012? How will I feel? Already the number of people who come to this blog daily has exploded beyond my expectations. When I started I thought I’d be writing to at most two hundred people or so. Cough.

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  37. I feel where Servetus was brief in her theses, that I’ve been making up the difference in my comments, yet I would much rather read all of yours.

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  38. Ahhh. Then you’re saying I should cancel my ticket to fly over in Aug. w/birthday cake in hand? Crud.

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  39. NB πŸ˜€ Don’t give up that ticket!! And bring the sideburned cake!

    So good that we can laugh at ourselves, and each other. Let us never take ourselves or fandom TOO seriously!

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    • Actually, I am thinking Richard needs a really large birthday cake–what with it being the big 4-0–and Deb can pop out of it. Now that would be a surprise! πŸ˜€

      I have great difficulty relating to people who cannot see the humor in life and particularly in themselves. Richard seems to be a person who takes his craft very seriously; himself, not so much. That’s the kind of person I find sympatico. I hate the feeling of walking on eggshells I get with some people. Makes me “noivuss.”

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      • @Angie…honey, that would be ONE BIG cake if I popped out. ROTFLOL!! =0)

        @fitzgj…you know the sideburn thingy is kinda growing on me. Off to grab my sketch book…

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        • @NB I forwarded a picture of that amazing cake to one of my granddaughters and she replied that she could see why I liked the SFR spoon!! I loved that cute raised eyebrow BTW!!

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  40. @kaprekar, Yes, I actually worried that Mr. A would be seduced by Hollywood, and have his nose “fixed”! For heaven sake. He turns 40 this year, and he’s learned a few things on the way. He seems to have a sensible team around him. No worries about his portrayal of Thorin. It’ll be fine.

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    • I know he had a lot of years of struggling and wondering if he was ever going to make it in this business, but I think all this happening now rather than much earlier may be a blessing. He is older, well-grounded, wiser; I don’t think he’d be tempted now to have rhinosplasty as he might have been in his youth(I consider that nose one of the national treasures of England). I can’t really see him “going Hollywood.”

      Whatever else the movie is or is not, I feel Richard’s performance as Thorin will be terrific. And I suspect it is going to be one of those critic-proof movies that will do well at the box office even if it doesn’t get great reviews (of course, I am hoping it WILL. Especially good things said about RA).

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      • Well said! Once again you have taken the words out of my mouth – or at least a lot of them!!

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        • Yeah, that’s why they pay me the (not-so)-big bucks to write . . . ’cause that’s how I roll . . . πŸ˜‰

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      • If he were younger, then he might be coerced into going Hollywood, but he’s definitely of an age that allows him to be who he is more. At least I hope that’s the case. I hope that for everyone frankly. Be who you are, and no, the irony of saying that from an anonymous id is not lost on me. LOL!

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  41. PS kaprekar, I loathe the word, but SQUEEEE πŸ˜€ One for all, and all that.

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  42. this is just a general comment, to some extent in response to lizzie, but also as a bookmark for myself to reinforce: I think we may have to give up the idea that we can really understand anything meaningful about “the real” Richard Armitage based on (esp) print interviews. We are asking those media for information that they don’t deliver. I’ve had various discussions with people about the meaning of these statements he’s made about fans, and they seem highly ambiguous to me. I backed off of this after “Armitage epistemology” because it made people so angry but maybe it’s time to go back there. It’s been a year, my nerves are a bit calmer now and my skin a bit thicker.

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    • Print interviews are certainly not good source material with respect to picking up the tenor of someone’s comments — especially if there is dry humor. SO has a fantastic sense of humor and has been interviewed countless times, but it’s amazing how different the printed piece sounds from what he actually said. Of course he’s learned, as I’m search Richard Armitage has learned, that you have to think for yourself and the interviewer when you’re being asked questions for publication, and the dry humor rarely works.

      In fairness to journalist, they are usually under a deadline and have only so much space, so they can’t always develop a piece to convey humor effectively.

      RE: Armitage Espistemology, I’ve been waiting for you to go back there. Let’s get into a rousing identity discussion. I say that selfishly since that is my favorite topic no matter who is the subject.

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      • I actually quite often prefer his audio interviews because we get that lovely voice, of course, but there is also the addition of hearing how he says things. I remember that distinct growl when asked about Guy killing Marian during a radio interview–“No. He should have married her.” I really don’t think he was very happy with TPTB at Tiger Aspect re certain developments (oh, how little we knew, it was all going to get much, much worse at Kudos for Lucas . . .)

        And yeah *raises hand* journalists DO have deadlines. Sometimes very tight ones. And space in print editions is more precious than ever.

        I would LOVE to be able to write a feature such as you would find in Rolling Stone on someone like Richard. Lots of space, plenty of room to get descriptive and fully convey the personality, temperament, aura of the interviewee. And, of course, this would require me to spend a significant amount of time with said interviewee. πŸ˜‰ A journalist can dream, can’t she??

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    • Agree on print interviews, they are always filtered trough the eye of the journalist and more often than not they like to give the article a slant they think pleases the reader. If it is a tabloid they try to sex up his statements, if it is a high-brow newspaper they are dismissive of the fans etc.. IIRC The Stage and Reader’s Digest from last year were quite good though. A formate like the Vulpes Libris interview is different because as I understand he was sent the questions and answered them via email.

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      • Forgot to add, with his frequent and eloquent facebook updates Sir Peter Jackson has found a good way to work around having his words filtered by journalists!

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        • I think Sir PJ is a marvel with everything he gets done. I’d love it if Richard Armitage had a facebook page he updated, but I know myself how much work it is to keep that sort of thing up, even if it’s just a few paragraphs every month or so.

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  43. Just go ahead and re-visit that issue, servetus. Let the chips fall. Respectful discussion can only be enlightening.

    Very thin-skinned myself, literally and figuratively; but age has withered and seasoned (if only it had offered the ability to tan rather than sunburn, literally, not figuratively). So, perceived affront or criticism have a shorter term effect of grieviously hurt feelings now.

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  44. OK. I may do a prelude before I get into full blown interpretive mode again, though. Those posts take a lot of time, and I’ve got finals starting a week from today.

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  45. Just wanted to say that this blog post and all the comments is a COMPLETE TOUR DE FORCE!!! Sorry for shouting but I had to say it. I know that what you write, servetus, and what others, me included, add in comments will be regarded by some fans with horror, embarrassment or simply “rolled eyes” but you know there are many people (me included) who love it (warts and all) and whatever your stance there is no denying this blog is a simply amazing work, the like of which I have never seen or heard of before. I’d like to say more but now I need to go and vote. Later, perhaps.

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    • Wow, kaprekar. Have to tell you how much this meant to me when I read the other day. I think it’s the commentators who really make the blog. I learn so much from reading the comments!

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  46. I know I’ve enjoyed it, but I feel compelled to apologize for all of my comments on this entry.

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  47. I should have said “so many entries.” I’m not apologizing for all of them just the number of them. : D

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  48. […] Protection Mode,” see what Frenz said today, in a very intelligent post. I can only reiterate what I’ve written about this before: that I personally don’t think that on the whole, other fans are endangering him, or that if […]

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  49. […] I’ve come out against prescription with regard to other fans’ behavior, and I stick with that. If you are so motivated to express your convictions about Armitage that you’ll hack a poll to do so, I trust that you must have some significant reason for coming to that conclusion, and I won’t tell you not to do it or try to burden your conscience. The people who do it must understand themselves why, or what they think is fun about it, or why anyone should care enough about a poll like this one to hack it. […]

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  50. […] If this is how you feel, that’s great! Nothing in what I say below seeks to make anyone feel guilty or move them to think or behave any differently than they are. I write here about things that move me to think about them, about problems that concern me — so what I say I am saying only about myself and my observations. It may or may not be of significance to you, but if it holds my attention, I’m going to write about it. I can’t control what you think about that, of course, but if you think that the simple (re-)opening or continuation of the discussion of sexual objectification in the case of Richard Armitage somehow constitutes an indictment, nothing I will ever say on this topic will make you happy. I will say honestly that I think that a clearer discussion of it would defuse some of the apparent anxiety and/or outrage around this issue much better than criticism of the attitudes of other fans. But above all, I say, as I’ve been trying to articulate for months: Let each woman question and follow her own conscience. […]

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  51. […] yeah, I’m breaking my rule about not disciplining other fans. Because this kind of behavior is cruel and destructive and it damages the very thing that many […]

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  52. […] an initial misstep in that direction, I’ve tried hard not to police other fans, except when a clear case of bullying occurs. When I say why I am doing or not doing something, […]

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  53. Could anybody tell me about that fanfic thing? I see a lot of you have mentioned it in your comments, but I don’t know the background. From what I surmised, a person wrote an RPF with Richard Armitage, and a fan told him about it, cauing him to ask it to be removed. Is that correct, or?

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    • Thanks for the comment, and welcome to the blog.

      The story as I received it was that in the wake of RH 1, a fan wrote a fanfic in which Guy captured and sexually abused Marian for her behavior at the altar. After fans pressured the author to remove the story unsuccessfully, they turned to Richard Armitage to achieve the same end. The story was removed (or hidden?) and Armitage issued a message urged fanfic authors to remember that RH was a story for children. This happened about two years before I was a fan of Armitage, so if you need more info than that you’ll need to find someone who’s a fan of longer duration than.

      As far as we know, Armitage has never commented publicly regarding RPF written about him. (There was very, very little until The Hobbit premiered.) Any statement a fan makes about his feelings on that particular issue are thus speculation.

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  54. […] Every second I spend thinking about what I am not allowed to say for reasons that have nothing to do… […]

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