Armitage leads with the feelings, or: How thick is Richard? A beginning.

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Warning.

What’s in this post is charged material both for me, and I assume, given things people have said to me, for some parts of the fandom as well.

I’ve mentioned before that I have a “greatest fear” with regard to Richard Armitage, but was unwilling to elaborate. I’ve never talked about it in detail on blog, although I have spoken about it with people in private, and left clues, and wondered how many people guessed. It relates to the nature of Richard Armitage’s intellect, something I ponder a lot, and one of the intentional no-go areas of this blog up till now. Now you know why I don’t respond with enthusiastic affirmations when someone comments about how erudite Armitage is, or why I haven’t queried more closely the regular apparent surprise of reporters that he says intelligent things about his work. (Maybe they are so overwhelmed by his appearance that they don’t believe a beautiful man can say smart things.) But I’ve stayed away from the topic because of my fears.

My greatest fear with regard to Richard Armitage has always been: that he might not be very smart.

Last night, among six other topics that he raised that kept my head spinning and made it literally impossible for me to sleep, I heard him broach the question of his intelligence. He said,

“I do think that I’m a visual actor, like I see things rather than hear them, so, if I read a line, I’ll see an image, I won’t have a cerebral understanding of it. So it means I can be quite stupid as a person, I can be thick, and [tone of voice rises, perhaps as if in amusement? hard to interpret without seeing his face as he said it] still enjoy the process of acting. ‘Cause for me it’s an emotional-physical response rather than anything else.”

I need to respond to that. Not just because it doesn’t square well with a previous statement in which he described himself as having a fast mind. But rather, because I can guess that the impulse in the fandom will be to say, “No, Richard, you are not thick!” Or to conclude that he’s being self-deprecating, as usual.

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A9Mv9XVCcAAydUF.jpg_largeRichard Armitage, interviewed for MTV, December 3, 2012, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Source.

***

Instead, I’m going to agree with him. Emphatically. Not with the statement that he’s thick in a pejorative way. No one can make a judgment of someone’s intelligence based on the kind of evidence accessibly to us — interviews that are like a game of telephone most of the time — I’d have to meet him to evaluate that. But I emphatically agree with the rest of that statement. It coincides with my assessment of him, and why it’s perhaps the most decisive factor in my fandom. What follows is far from everything I have to say about his intelligence, but his comment lent me a visceral need to make a start. And maybe if I start I can talk about this facet in his acting — the question of how he mobilizes the emotional / physical, or, riffing on a remark made by an interlocutor I quote below, how he “leads with his emotions.” This practice — the fact that we almost always guess how his character feels before we know what he thinks or will say — is a huge theme in his acting for me, and, I think, a significant piece of why Mr. Thornton kept me exclusively mesmerized for so long.

Because I know that even saying this will make some people angry, I always thought I would wait till I decided to stop blogging to elaborate on or publish, if then. So good on you, Mr. Armitage, for pushing my feeling button and getting me out of my head. For, as you so often do, helping me abandon my fears. If you can talk about it, I certainly can.

***

MarilynDenis-02Richard Armitage, interviewed on “Marilyn,” December 3, 2012, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

***

To avoid at least some of the negativity that might result from potential misreadings of my position that I’ve encountered before, I want to be understood, unequivocally, on the following points:

  • First, please avoid false dilemmas. This blog consistently urges viewers to consider matters outside of dichotomies. People are not either smart or dumb. Armitage’s intellect is quite complex, even if, as my correspondent below implies, he doesn’t “lead with the brain.” Once I can articulate this stuff, once I can get rid of my own issues about intelligence and my struggle with the way people tend to use that trait to describe Mr. Armitage, I can move on to talking about how I view his mind and see it manifested in his acting.
  • As a subsidiary point, in case readers are tempted to pair “not cerebral” with “only a pretty face,” I link to my post on why Armitage’s beauty has been so essential to me. I personally can’t separate his body from his talent and his talent from his mind — even if I don’t think of him as a great intellect. And his beauty has awakened me to important things.
  • Second, by asking how smart he is (or: how he is smart?), I am not implying that Richard Armitage is stupid. Don’t read the argument that “Richard Armitage is not primarily cerebral” as the affirmation of the potentially most obvious variant of its positive antithesis (“Richard Armitage is dumb”). Whatever he meant by it, Armitage’s remark suggests clearly that that is not the distinction he is drawing. He is saying — my acting is about something else. Indeed, I find it interesting to watch him dealing with the challenges of playing characters whom scripts have required to be not as intellectually quick as he is — Guy of Gisborne (which I’ve discussed a bit before, assessing the extent of Guy’s awareness of what’s going on around him in certain situations) and John Porter are two key examples. Armitage’s statement to Crouse, with its employment of the term “cerebral,” also casts an interesting light on his remark, in the Strike Back DVD extras, on his evaluation of Jodhi May’s contributions to the character of Layla Thompson. Armitage described May as bringing a “cerebral” quality to the character  — the only other time I ever recall him using that word. And yes, I’ve wondered for eons what that evaluation meant to him, what exactly he was saying or implying about May’s performance.
  • I hope everyone understands that I am not saying the only way to be smart is to be “cerebral,” or a tangential association that many people make with that term, “book smart.” There are many kinds of smart, just as there are many kinds of dumb. Most humans, including me, have a mixture of these qualities.
  • And finally, because this has been implied to me before, in noting that Armitage is not the product of a conventional university education, and noticeably so, I am emphatically not saying that people who lack university degrees also lack intelligence or that people who hold them are intelligent because they have them. I see plenty of evidence to contradict both assertions every day. In what follows, I am not saying “Armitage is uneducated.” The extent of his formal education and its impact on his appearance of intelligence is not what I am addressing here.

***

vod1-060Harry Kennedy (Richard Armitage) responds in confusion to Gerri’s (Dawn French)apparent about-face about his presence in the village, in Vicar of Dibley: A Handsome Stranger. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

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And then I have to say this.

***

Dear Mr. Armitage,

I’ve never spoken to you directly on this blog except in jest, or even when I got gooey or sexy, outside of the firm belief that you would never read what I wrote. I’ve never seriously thought you were reading — I’ve always thought you knew more or less what was said, that maybe someone was reading stuff casually on your behalf and passing on amusing bits or general impressions, but that you personally were not reading. A few things you’ve said in the last few days, however, have undermined my unshakable conviction that most of ArmitageWorld was not on your radar. If that’s true, I hate it both for me and for you, but your career is changing, and my own fears about being who I am are abating, too. Panta rhei — it is what it is. Very soon, if you ever did read here or care what bloggers wrote, you will occupy a position where nothing that we say matters hugely anyway, and I take immense comfort in that.

So now, for a change, I speak to you as a reader, not a character in my mind or an actor performing on my screen, and I speak very seriously. If you are using the word “thick” in reference to yourself because of something you read on the Internet, you should keep in mind the source of the information before taking it seriously. I would advise any friend of mine not to peer into sewers for material to provide an accurate self-description.

If you are determined to read this post despite this warning, I hope it will not be painful. I need to write it, however, as it comes the closest I have yet to explaining why you became an addiction.

The fact that you specifically are not a cerebral actor is probably reason number one I became so fascinated with any actor at all. It makes it easier for me to admit this since you’ve broached the topic yourself, but I can’t figure out from what you said and how you said it, whether you were being self-deprecating, or reacting to something you had read or that had been said to you. That awful night when I was looking for something, anything, just to turn my brain off, you were there in the form of Mr. Thornton, and the performance that you gave, in a role I inherently identified with rationally and personally, but where you put Thornton’s feelings in the form of physical reactions in the fore of his politics and rationality, offered me a door into understanding myself so much better. In your performance, I saw the enmeshment of a full personality that could help me understand my own. And here I find myself, approaching three years later. In short, my agreement with you that you don’t usually “lead with the brain” is central to my appreciation of your work.

So I can’t stop to spare your feelings. I remind you that this blog written in the first instance for me, and in the second, for fans of yours and for people who, like me, find themselves willingly or unwillingly on the fandom journey with you and your work as their lodestar. This blog is not — was never — written with you in mind.

Affectionately and best,

Servetus

ps. In case you’re wondering — I’m not worried that you wouldn’t understand this, were you to read it.

pps. That was a joke.

***

A9NiKolCIAAIuaO.jpg_largeRichard Armitage, interviewed by press at Roots Canada, December 3, 2012, Toronto, Ontario. Source.

***

I literally did not sleep a wink last night after listening to Richard Armitage’s interview with Richard Crouse.

As you can guess if you read this blog regularly, Richard Armitage’s remarks in that review pushed a lot of my buttons. Religion, filming in 48 fps, reading experiences, audience enjoyment, Tolkien’s view of his life history, nostalgia, ongoing self-fashioning and telling the story of one’s development and how one sees it: this kind of theme spun through my head all night. Armitage has this amazing quality as a speaker, in replying to the questions of an interviewer, of making us thinking that he’s speaking to us all, and I felt he was speaking to me last night, which is totally, ridiculously crazy. I suppose we could ask if that’s one reason I’m attracted to his work — because what he says relates so directly to what’s happening to me, to questions I have.

In this post, I address one aspect of the interview — the decisive matter of his remark about his perception that his acting is based on visualization of words, and the way this process affects his body and emotions. I am not a fan of Richard Armitage because I think he’s particularly smart. I’m a fan of Richard Armitage because of the emotional.

***ep4hd_095John Porter (Richard Armitage) responds to the news of his wife’s death in Strike Back 1.4. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

***

Although it may come as a surprise to some readers given my enumerations of my sexual fantasies, I’ve suffered under few illusions about the potential attractiveness of Richard Armitage as a real life romantic partner. The real Servetus and the real Armitage have lots in common in terms of the human condition, I’ve thought, but little in common in terms of the sorts of things that make a relationship work. I don’t care to go skiing, my career as a recreational dancer was abbreviated; I don’t read him as particularly religious in a way that meshes well with my piety. I suspect there would be a serious conflict in the ways that he and I have, respectively, of being serious. I like food a lot, but I struggle to let my sense of humor be sunny as opposed to ironic, and I am not especially naughty.

The best evidence for my conclusion, however, is probably that Mr. Armitage is nothing like the men with whom I’ve had the three most serious relationships of my life — a comparative linguist in college, a theoretical physicist during my doctoral coursework, and a historian / fellow scholar in the same field of inquiry after I was ABD. I have a thing for really, really brainy men. The more cerebral, the more widely read, the better. As a pragmatist, I also am aware that relationships between people of widely differing educational levels carry their own particular kinds of tensions, especially when the woman has the more advanced education. Laying aside the question of whether I’m smart, I’m unquestionably extremely well educated. I’ve a way better vocabulary than the average human, I relish using it to the full, and it’s often my tongue that gets me in trouble. Affairs with men who were attracted to me physically first haven’t lasted. I’ve been broken up with at least once because the guy in question felt that I was not only smarter than him, I made him look stupid in front of his friends. I need a romantic partner who is not only not afraid of smart women, but positively attracted to them. I need a meeting of the minds.

***

Captain America: The First AvengerThe immense weariness or sadness of Heinz Kruger (Richard Armitage), just before blows up the lab, in Captain America: The First Avenger. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

***

I was aware that apart from some fantasy with no tangible relationship to reality, I would never have gotten that with the real Richard Armitage, were I even in his flight path and likely to be encountered. It’s not that I thought he was dumb, but my perception of him, based on extensive reading of the information available about him, always suggested to me that he had the kind of mind that was curious and open, interested in the pregnant detail that draws everything together, but not narrowly focused and certainly not on things that he didn’t see as relevant or interesting. Even with my best efforts I’ve never been able to make myself imagine having a complex theological discussion with him, and that’s something I live for — and I can do it with Pesky every week. I don’t think Armitage’s mind works in that acute way. He doesn’t seem to be an intellectual hairsplitter. I am one. But I loved him anyway. So while it bothered me, I gave him a pass on things that are actually important to me (and was then charged with being too perfectionist). Many of the things he says about history, for example, are problematic, and he’s said a few things about his historical derivation of the Thorin character that grate on me. This is hardly surprising; I’m a professional and he’s looking for that perfect detail that’s going to give him the entry into the character, as his remarks on his research for the role of Heinz Kruger suggested. What he does has its place. It gives him what he needs to turn in a great performance, and just as importantly, it interests him, which justifies thinking that way without reference to any other goal. Nothing wrong with any of this — it just doesn’t make him into a great mind.

I’ve been asked occasionally if I don’t fantasize, in my role as professor, about having Armitage as a student. I never have. People who said to me, I bet he was fun to teach, always made think something I couldn’t say — I bet he was quick and engaging to teach when he was interested in what he was learning. I bet he tuned out when he was bored or didn’t see the point, and I bet he is really good at appearing attentive while thinking his own thoughts. It’s not that I think he was rude or disobedient with his instructors; on the contrary. He just strikes me as someone who puts his energies into the things that intrigue and inspire him and pushes other things aside, doing enough to please or satisfy rather than seeking to excel in every single venture. In school, especially by a teacher who wanted him to concentrate, this stance might have been termed lazy and unfocused; for an artist, we might call it inspirational motivation, or maintaining the mental space necessary to give one’s all in the decisive areas. It doesn’t mean that I think he is undisciplined — just that I think he has perhaps an unusually good idea of where his intellectual energies need to go, and prefers to apply them in those places rather than in the omnivorous way that that the cerebral intellect processes the world around it.

***rh107_111Guy of Gisborne’s inevitably obsessive love — Guy (Richard Armitage) proposes rather forcefully to Marian in Robin Hood 1.7. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

***

Thinking that Armitage is not an intense mind, moreover, has never prevented me from observing that he has said some incredibly perceptive or insightful — and above all, moving — things. These have tended, for me however, to follow the line of psychological or aesthetic intelligence. I’ve always found stunning what he said about Guy’s capacity to love, for instance, in the BBCA interview of June, 2008:

Similarly, I liked his point, in the audio version of the interview he did in the Sunday Express for Strike Back, about the effect that watching black screen in the place of commercials at the Strike Black premiere had on his perception of the work, his observation about how this was like the pause between moments of a symphony, and how he thought he might use it someday when he is a filmmaker. And, of course, from very early on in his career, he’s said insightful things about his characters, as in his remarks about John Standring from the Sparkhouse press pack (2002):

[John] has an affection for [Carol] which I feel was based on a need for nurturing rather than on a sexual need. He is very protective of her because of the lack of love she has from her mother and the way her father treats her. But there is a simplicity to John; he doesn’t always understand all the nuances of what is going on around him. In some ways he is like an old man on the outside, but there is a real naivety [!] about him.

I’m sure that each of us could come up with some statement that he’s made that has seemed right on point, or smart.

***

SH3_025John Standring (Richard Armitage) agrees to marry Carol Bolton (Sarah Smart) in order to save her tenancy in episode 3 of Sparkhouse. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

***

Richard Armitage may have individual areas of which he has a strong structural command; the mythic structure of drama could be one of these (and it’s something I’ve wanted to write about more) — but if so, it would be unconscious rather than explicit. He seems fascinated in a productive way with the metaphorical quality of recurring motifs, like “the quest,” a term that’s been mentioned in almost every interview related to The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey that I’ve read recently, and that speaks very much to my own situation. I can imagine I’ll want to comment on what he’s said about that once I’ve seen the film(s). But I haven’t ever heard a consistent discussion from him that suggested to me that he has a great analytical intellect. I loved what he said about the historical basis of The Impressionists because of his personality and ethics, not because I thought it was wildly insightful, or made me understand Monet any differently.

While I was aware of this matter, I didn’t think about it much. It’s not like I’m going to get to go out with him or we’ll ever have an occasion to speak about the relative virtues of medieval altarpieces or historiographies of Weimar macroeconomics or even whether if a tree falls in the one and no one hears it, does it make a sound.

From the beginning — I was in this for the way watching Richard Armitage made me feel. And the way that, in turn, my feelings opened up my own understanding of my life.

***vod2-212Harry Kennedy (Richard Armitage) responds to Gerri (Dawn French)’s statement that he’s the only person who was ever interested in her as a permanent partner, in Vicar of Dibley: A Vicar in White. Source: RichardArmitageNet.com

***

My surrender to Armitagemania was so sudden and complete that I spent no time at all pondering the comparative aspects of the question. There just wasn’t any other actor for me. It was, to paraphrase Gerri’s remark to Harry Kennedy on the eve of their wedding in The Vicar of Dibley, “just you,” Mr. Armitage. I have had commentators note that my admiration was too unbounded and intense to take seriously unless I also considered whether Armitage was a better actor than others of his generation. I always admitted the analytical significance of the question and then threw it aside as uninteresting to me. This blog was not going to be a place like my research, where I examined every moment of a question, no matter how boring or distasteful to me. Other actors may be better, I’d say, but I’m not interested in them, so let other people ask those questions.

And then, this year, someone fell across my path that stymied me a bit. It was during that phase in the late spring when everyone was getting tired of so little information about Armitage — though I wasn’t frustrated, lots of people were. People started to peel off, and one of the major destinations was the Tom Hiddleston fandom.

400px-Tom_Hiddleston_(Avengers_Red_Carpet)[Right: Tom Hiddleston, April 2012, about the time I started hearing about him. Source.]

I had no idea who Hiddleston was, but then one night in chat, someone sent me a link to an interview with him that I finally watched, under pressure from my peers and seeing that, in the absence of new information to chew over, the chatroom was going to stop being all Richard Armitage all the time. Sifting through youtube playlists, I can’t for the life of me remember the video, now, but I remember thinking, “Wow, that guy is smart.” I looked up his wikipedia entry. He has a double-first in Classics from Cambridge University, where he studied at Pembroke College. I admit that this is the kind of detail that impresses me, because I know what it means — it’s the highest possible examination result in one of the most difficult humanities topics at one of the most demanding universities on the planet via a place at one of the most selective colleges. This subject requires two languages at least and oodles of reading and a way of speaking and perceiving that few people on the planet are gifted with. It is traditionally the province of brilliant people who don’t need to earn their own livings. As talented as he may be, Hiddleston had all the advantages, of course. He is from a completely different class background than Armitage, and though he would deny it (who doesn’t need to believe in the meritocracy and that he has earned what he has gotten?), that background — one that sends you to the Dragon School in Oxford and then to Eton — is the kind of opportunity that makes a huge difference in the life of anyone, but especially in the life of the very gifted child, who doesn’t dissipate his energy in struggle or miss the boat while waiting, bored, for his peers to catch up. Great instruction makes a difference. Things were laid in Hiddleston’s cradle that Armitage had to work unbelievably hard for. But they work in the same profession. They compete for the same kind of work. And when they’re both auditioning for Henry V, no one gives Armitage a pass just because he was born in a middle class family in Leicester and not to a wealthy family in Westminster.

So I saw this interview with Hiddleston that made me think, “Oh!” And I started to ask myself about Richard Armitage. The questions I asked were never serious enough to cause a defection. Hiddleston’s appearances suggest that he has the kind of intellect that becomes a professor and the kind of mercurial internal energy that tends to make a good professor into a rock-star public intellectual. Hiddleston is the type of guy — or perhaps an extreme version — of the person (there are women like this, too, and I am a bit like this) with whom I spend most of my working days. If I wanted to crush on a Hiddleston type, there are enough of them around me, even they are perhaps not so cute. Richard Armitage, I’m sorry to say, or maybe I’m not, does not exude a professorial aura, though I have a scriptwriting friend who loves the thought of him as a professor in love and wants to cast him in such a role, with the necessary modification of “absent-minded.”

***

I didn’t crush on Hiddleston. But I was troubled by even that moment of doubt. I had to talk about it with someone. I have a handful of interlocutors about Armitage who prefer to leave their comments off blog, and the topic came up with one of them, a woman I’ll call “Otherfan,” who also has an advanced academic degree and works in an academic profession.

To illustrate how I dealt with the question of my Hiddleston attraction, I append — with Otherfan’s permission — excerpts from some exchanges from last summer. These have been shortened but the content has not been changed. And yes, I realize parts of this conversation could be brutal to read.

***

Otherfan to Servetus, May 17, 2012

If I were a genius film director, I would commit the Lymond Chronicles to screen. IMO Tom Hiddleston would be a credible Lymond, with Richard Armitage as Jerrott Blythe, the Knight of St. John whose feelings toward Lymond are at the far edge of bromance. See? Two great tastes that taste great together. Those two can both brood like champs while swashbuckling their way across sixteenth-century Europe, and RA can court fan insanity with a ridiculously masculine yet orientation-bending role. […] What do you think, is it a moneymaker? 🙂

[…]

Servetus to Otherfan, May 17, 2012

Wow, then we could have them both! And homoerotic elements!!!! I’d pay to see it. I don’t know the story, though it’s gotta be better than 50 Shades.

Speaking of Hiddleston: I was seriously daunted last night. Hiddleston has a double first from Cambridge. In Classics, yet. […] My secret fear about Armitage is that he’s not very smart — a sort of idiot savant who’s not very interesting except when he’s working. But that might also be a description of me, it occurred to me last night. Scary.

[…]

Otherfan to Servetus, May 18, 2012
[…]

Double first: Sometimes very smart people are terrible actors because they’re too much in their heads, but that doesn’t seem to apply in this case. TH can go from vulnerable to furious to wicked in approximately zero seconds. ::love:: As for RA, I don’t know if I’d describe him as “not very smart,” but I know what you mean, and I can get why you’re reluctant to air it on your blog. It sounds disloyal, and a little unkind. Before he learned how to interview like a movie star, RA sometimes gave the impression of being rather dull, though I couldn’t say whether this reflects on his actual intelligence or not. His early interviews remind me of some of the engineers I know (and I know quite a few): lively and articulate in his own domain, but otherwise a little socially impaired.

I didn’t answer this message. My mother was diagnosed with cancer again. I fell dreadfully behind on correspondence. Otherfan was kind enough to write again to inquire what was up.

Otherfan to Servetus, June 24, 2012

I finally got with the program and watched Sherlock. Why am I always the last to know about these things? Did you watch it? If so, what was your opinion? For my part, I loved it. The storytelling can be a bit hit and miss, but the look of it is fantastic and the Holmes / Watson chemistry is dynamite. I had never seen Martin Freeman before, apart from the Hobbit trailers. Perhaps for that reason I thought of him as irritatingly pert and chipper, but he actually has a nice everyman gravity as Watson that I think will carry over to The Hobbit. I’m much less apprehensive about it than I was. And as far as I’m concerned Benedict Cumberbatch can be in every movie for the rest of my life. (I’m still not seeing the one about the cavalry horse, though.) Spectrally pale beanpoles with ridiculous names are my thing, apparently. This is good news for my husband.

[…]

Servetus to Otherfan, June 24, 2012

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve written. […] The latest news is that my mother’s cancer has recurred […]

I just got the series 1 Sherlock DVDs from the library this week. Obviously I’ve been hearing about it forever because of the heavy intersection between Armitage and Freeman / Cumberbatch fans. […] However, I have to finish watching series 10 of Spooks tonight b/c the DVDs are due tomorrow [I put that review here].

One thing I really appreciate about Freeman … is how funny he can be with fans. Every now and then you see a vid of him just thanking his fans for odd things, and it’s always a combination of thankful, funny, and ironic. Huh. Maybe I should post on this. I wonder if an anxious actor attracts anxious fans — or if anxious fans create an anxious actor?

[…]

Otherfan to Servetus, June 25, 2012
I’m sorry to hear your mother’s health situation is so serious.

[…]

I’ll be curious to hear your opinion of Sherlock. […] The principals were so well cast, it has made me think back to your “idiot savant” comment from a few emails back and wonder if there are characteristics so innate that they’re impervious to craft. For example, Sherlock Holmes. He can’t be just an assortment of twitchy mannerisms, he also has to have a believably analytical mind. If a character requires that, do you need an essentially cerebral actor for the role? Could a gifted but not especially bright actor convincingly replicate that quality? Tom Hiddleston once remarked that he couldn’t turn off his intelligence. The press pilloried him for being an ass, but I think he’s getting at something real. It’s not difficult to recognize people who lead with their brains, but there’s no particular behavior that identifies them. It’s more like a certain intensity of attention, a way of consuming and processing information. I’m not sure I have ever seen this quality effectively suppressed by someone who has it, nor imitated by someone who doesn’t. For this reason I doubt Richard Armitage would be any more credible as a mastermind than Hiddleston would be as a mindless thug, and it’s not really anything to do with skill. I hope I’m not betraying the fandom to say this. There are many kinds of intelligence, but some of them make more sense to me than others.

[…]

Servetus to Otherfan, June 26, 2012

[…] Two things quickly —

1) your para about intelligence was really helpful — maybe thinking about it this was is a way that I can bring myself to write about the topic, which is important to me. I completely agree with Hiddleston’s comment […] You can’t be around me for very long, for instance, and not realize that I’m cerebral, sometimes even if I don’t say anything at all. It’s a vibe. It’s something that we look for in doctoral students, incidentally, as it seems to be a primary predictor of success in hiring situations, both as professors can smell it on each other, and also because we can’t really teach it, or only very rarely. And Armitage doesn’t give it off. At all. In any case, after reading what you said a lot of things about my Armitage attraction became a lot clearer to me and even if I can’t write about them I’m grateful to you for lending me the insight. This was really spectacular.

2) watched the first Sherlock episode last night and talk about pitch perfect. I can see why people are raving about this series. The script, the edginess of camera usage, the speed with which lines are delivered, the graphics, everything. Martin Freeman is going to be a fantastic Bilbo Baggins. Cumberbatch mostly seems just strange to me — but I have two more episodes to watch […] To demonstrate your point — I’ve never seen Freeman in anything, but based on this he seems like someone I’d have as a colleague or talk to; his way of relating to the world seems fundamentally similar to mine. I can’t imagine having a devastating crush on him like I have on Armitage, though, and I don’t think it’s because he’s short and cute as opposed to tall and handsome. There’s an underlying vibe there.

Anyway, gotta go — it’s time for grocery shopping. Talk to you soon, I hope. Thanks for your good wishes, we need them.

The correspondence above is incorporated with the permission of Otherfan, who, when I asked her to reread it and consent to its publication here, added the following comment on the conversation:

Otherfan to Servetus, December 4, 2012:

Lest we sound too much like a couple of mean girls, I do want to stress that there is a big difference in my mind between “not cerebral” and “unintelligent.” I wouldn’t presume to make a pronouncement about the intellect of someone I have never met. In the case of Richard Armitage, my opinion is based on interviews I have read or seen and the roles toward which he gravitates, which have certainly evolved over time but which collectively suggest an actor who is knowledgeable and skilled in matters of his craft and naturally charismatic in-role but not, for lack of a better term, particularly “brainy.”

***
This is already 6,000 words long, and I have to grade. There’ll be more on this as soon as I can post it. Why can’t I write faster?
***
I realize by leaving this at this point, I’m leaving those who disagree with my argument at the rawest possible place. It’s okay. Let me know how you feel about this. I will talk about what these conclusions mean to me, and to my analysis of Armitage, as soon as possible.

~ by Servetus on December 5, 2012.

224 Responses to “Armitage leads with the feelings, or: How thick is Richard? A beginning.”

  1. Smashing the idol… as I am in the first phase of infatuation, I’m all for knowing what the distant future holds. Greetings.

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    • No, not smashing the idol. If you noticed, I said that the reason I noticed him in the first place was because he *wasn’t* an intellectual.

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  2. Personally I’ve always had a slight problem with the word “intelligence” as if it only denotes one kind of smart. If you’re not, you’re “dumb and or stupid” or at least lazy to not utilise the full potential.
    Despite the fact that I’ve met all kinds of people, who are smart in their own way. Not to mention, there are absolute geniuses in their fields, who are utterly incompetent in other areas.

    It’s interesting how he describes his acting, I guess that is a part where he reacts first and thinks afterwards. It’s such a contrast to the thorough research he tends to do off camera, but that is more the context in which he acts and reacts.
    This is one of those times where I’d really want to ask him some more questions about it.

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    • Oh, and yes, I’d have to agree…Richard isn’t what I’d call brainy either, Stephen Fry on the other hand…

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      • Which is not an indictment of him. Or only if you assume without reservation that brainy is a positive. If you’ve read this blog long enough you know how I feel about that.

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      • Stephen Fry is an erudite and… a total twat, I am afraid, who in each conversation needs to prove to his interlocutors how much of an erudite he is. Also, is he a really good actor? No, I don’t think so.

        This is a good example of someone who may be an intellectual but is not a wise man and not an impressive actor. My opinion, at least.

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        • Don’t assume that I am valorizing intellectualism. On the contrary.

          I haven’t seen Fry in anything I remember so I can’t comment on his acting.

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          • I did see Fry in some movies, the titles of which I did not care to remember and am too lazy to look for them now. Average, nothing impressive and he doesn’t act much.
            I would have problems telling what Fry’s profession really is. An actor? TV host? Theatre critic? I really don’t know.

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    • I say this in the caveats at the beginning of the blog, that intelligence is not one thing. I also explicitly warn readers away from the false dilemma of intelligent vs dumb.

      I would like to ask him more questions as well, but that’s not an option for me.

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      • It unfortunately is a very prevalent false dilemma, as so many will become quite defensive, even though that is not what you’re talking about.

        Personally speaking I wouldn’t be quick to describe myself as intelligent either. I do have a curious mind, but indeed only in what grabs me, otherwise my brain wanders and I find myself bored. Nor do I need to understand the finer details, or at least not until my curiosity is satisfied and I can move on. Academia never appealed to me for that reason, though I do admire those who take that path.
        That part of your post where you imagine him as a pupil at school could have very well been me, the most oft used sentence at that time was “She should try harder” in all the subjects I usually barely passed.

        All in all it is a very interesting & thought provoking post. And one that raises so many more questions we alas are not able to ask.

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        • A similar different exists between me and my brother. I actually think my brother’s intellectual grasp is much more significant than mine. But he couldn’t be bothered to be interested in things that didn’t interest him. That’s not a wrong way to be but it affects one’s life choices. I in comparison slogged through semesters and semesters of math that I wasn’t good at or that interested in because I was convinced that it was something I should know.

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          • So you’ve exercised your brain more therefore you’re more mentality fit. I couldn’t imagine slogging through semesters and semesters of math. I would imagine that would have to be on the same level as somebody who works out for the olympics — just a mental workout instead of a physical workout. And we could all be that fit if we just put forth the effort. Or at least more fit, because there are is some G-d given talent involved here.

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            • Yeah, but he will always be better at math than I am, no matter how hard I try. There are things he grasps intuitively that I don’t understand even when they are explained to me.

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              • Anything to do with numbers confuses me…math, time, finances. I have some kind of phobia about money…not a good thing to have.

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  3. Hmm, I don’t know. As distant, cold and introvert as RA is, it’s hard to say what is intellect is. He’s certainly intelligent and smart. I like the way he builds sentences, he uses complex vocabulary, can present his point coherently. He’s not the ‘darling of the crowd’ type like Martin Freeman is. Martin is always quick to offer some funny word, some swearing – does it prove his he is smarter than RA? No, it only proves he is more outgoing.

    Also, do you really think that someone who says ‘I am stupid person’ really believes s/he is?

    As for the roles, they would all like to be Hamlets but most often play in c..p to pay the bills. That’s the same worldwide. The problem is that TV productions rarely give the full picture of an actor can/cannot.

    I don’t think RA is a great actor, the level of Ralph Fiennes or Harvey Keitel, but he is good, when given a chance maybe very good (I am not sure if Hobbit is this chance). What I like most about his acting is intensity

    I am watching a bit how Eddie Redmayne develops. He had all the background and privileges one could wish for, born on the sunny side of life, splendid educations, landed himself with major roles at a very early age and what does he currently play? Leading roles but nothing interesting. When I saw Love and War, I started wondering whether he was a good actor.

    Maybe it’s about the start in this business that you have? Some have easier start than others.

    I have to say I consider this discussion a little unkind. Can you imagine what he would feel if he read it?

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    • Anneke, welcome to the blog and thanks for the comment. However, I don’t think you read what I said all that carefully. First, I referenced the possibility that it would be painful for him to read this. Indeed, I wrote an entire letter to him telling him not to read it, if you noticed. He is not in the audience of the blog; neither am I required to be kind to him. I don’t know how long you’ve been reading, so you may not have witnessed the discussions we’ve had about precisely that issue over the years. Also, I referenced extensively in thise piece the advantages that Hiddleston had and postulated that they may have affected his career in a particular way but that in the end, it doesn’t matter. No one will give Armitage a role because he didn’t come from a privileged background. They will give it to him because they think he’s the best actor for it.

      But these may be matters of perspective. I find his vocabulary significantly less than complex, for instance, although — again, as I noted — I find that he says interesting and provocative things with it. Since you mention it, I find his sentence structure often much less than coherent. In contrast, however, I don’t read him at all as distant or cold. Introverted certainly, but not cold or distant.

      I also think it’s interesting that in all these years, this is the first time he raised the question. It’s fascinating. I get to role selection / offering in the next piece, because that was an issue that crystallized for me today.

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      • I am not aware of any prior discussions.

        I may differ on the count of how your background may affect your carreer. It will not make you a good actor but I believe, it may help you start in the business. However, I don’t think that bit is particurarly important in this discussion.

        About coherence of speach – I base this opinion on his last interviews, where the interviewer asks a good question and actually is interested to hear what RA has to say – he is able to build a complex set of sentences, he may ramble a bit but then will come back to the main plot and follow the line of discourse, so that when he finishes the utterance, it is a logical whole. You see that this man has thought on the subject, he doesn’t just react to the question.

        He was so different from some others during Wellington premiere. A. Turner is a twat, i am sorry to say so. The way he speaks, behaves during interviews – major turn-off. James Nesbitt was either drunk or he is simply a morron.

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        • When I say his sentences are much less than coherent, I am not saying “he has nothing to say.” I am saying “his sentences are often much less than coherent.” Although he’s made significant progress on this since 2004.

          re: prior discussions, you could google “Armitage Protection Mode.”

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          • Maybe this has to do with him being an introverted thinker.

            As an introverted thinker, it’s hard for me to put together a coherent sentence without thinking it through inside my head first. If I’m forced to speak out quickly my sentence sounds too jumbled or forced together than it would if I had had time to pause. Sometimes I wish I were an extraverted thinker. On the other hand, being an introverted thinker has saved me from saying things I would have regretted later.

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            • This is a very nice point and does a lot to explain some of those sentences.

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              • Don’t you think that the way we speak may affect how others judge our mind? People who speak quickly, shoot out words, put a pan here and there, add on top of that intense body language, may be perceived generally as brighter than those who are slow speakers, brooding, carefully selecting words, working out metaphors while speaking – they risk the assessment that they perhaps don’t know what they want to say and are slow?

                Regarding RA and interviews, there is a lot of images in his speach, metaphors are no strange to him, he tries to present his point in a vivid way and it’s not talking for the sake of talking without saying anything (a phenomem which I call for my private use ‘verbal wonking’, excuse me) – he conveys his message clearly. I like that.

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                • Yes, I would not disagree with the assertion: “Richard Armitage’s speech is vivid.” I am speaking solely about the coherence of his sentences.

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                  • Would you prefer the word ‘cohesive’ in this context?

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                    • Sure. What I’m talking about, although I’m sure I’ll be criticized for this, is that his sentences often do not cohere grammatically.

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                  • Re. grammar (I do not have the option to reply to your respective post), do you mean he doesn’t know proper grammar or he just uses everyday language with simplified grammar. I admit to not have noticed any troubles with that when he speaks.

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                    • No, I mean when he speaks naturally, the clauses in his sentences do not align correctly with regard to matters such as pronoun reference or subordination or sometimes even subject/verb agreement. His natural syntax is more stream of consciousness than grammatical. This is a frequent feature of the speech of people who don’t “speak” for a living. Again it’s not a criticism; it’s an observation. It doesn’t differentiate him from millions of people on the planet.

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                    • I agree with the ‘stream of consciousness’ observation in his case.

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  4. I fail to see anything dangerous, for want of a better word, that you’ve said. Being intelligent and quick doesn’t necessarily mean a person is that way about everything. Brilliance does not equal a Rennaisance man. Yes, he’s confirmed my impression that he’s very into things that interest him, by his reference being thick at other times. But who is not thick at times?

    At age 41, I’m sure he’s realized this for sometime. It not about what anybody said about him on the Internet. Why he bothered to say that reflects a bit of almost reflexive self- deprecation, as if he caught himself pontificating and felt self conscious.

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    • I would guess a kind of intermittent “thickness” is common to a lot of people – myself included. Sometimes it is a matter of distraction, others I just don’t care about the topic. It is a complex issue. I’ve not thought about it in this way, but I know plenty of people with a ton of native intelligence who are just not interested, for whatever reason, in developing it academically, but who are positively brilliant at vocational things.

      I do think part of what we are hearing in the Crouse interview is a reflection of guard being down due to fatigue..the stumbling on age and height specifics suggests to me that the brain has just had enough and is struggling to put two words together coherently.

      Must go back to work – in the same boat as you Serv. (did you bring the oars?)

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      • yes — I think the stumbling has something to do with fatigue. However, I’m not sure why that would lead him to a self-statement that is so extreme — out of the context of the self-deprecations that he has identified before.

        And we agree on the question of native intelligence vs. interest in a particular thing. I think he’s always known what he’s interested in. I just don’t think that was ever academics, or pursuit of conventional notions of erudition. This is why it bothers me when I read a comment that he’s erudite.

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        • Armitage is not academic or intellectual, which still doesn’t make him unbright or unintelligent.

          I commented here on Stephen Fry as an erudite. I don’t think anybody has called RA that in this exchange. Just making sure that things did not get mixed up here.

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          • No, I didn’t call him erudite, but I’ve read it in my own comments in the last ten days several times.

            To be clear — I’m not opposed to anyone thinking that. Who cares? It’s just not my assessment.

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          • And guess what shows up in the description of Richard Armitage at the beginning of the TORn interview? “Erudite.”

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            • Maybe it’s the question of what each one of us understands under the term ‘intelligent’, ‘erudite’, etc. I am against the overusage of strong words like ‘erudite’ e.g. because it takes the power away from them. It should be reserved to really creme the la creme cases.

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              • Erudite is really inaccurate, in that it connotes “learned” as well as making a statement about the intellect.

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                • Learned, intellectual and pursuing knowledge on wide spectrum fo topics, all spheres of life. I mean a brilliantly educated man with a powerful mind but with no knowledge of major names in literature and their works couldn’t be called an erudite, could he?

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                  • If I think of a statement like “vous êtes un vrai erudit,” (we don’t use erudite as a noun in English), I think of someone who has true learning — it also distinguishes the person so described from someone with narrow focus or who may be intelligent but whose knowledge is not wide-ranging.

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                    • *pulling my hair* why is it so difficult to see that this particular word has a very specific meaning that does not apply to Richard Armitage or millions of other people? It’s not a value judgement..it’s just vocabulary!

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                    • Yeah. Erasmus was erudite, for instance. A few of the very best scholars who taught me, perhaps.

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    • I just think it’s interesting that he used that particular word. It appears in a particular place. It’s suggestive.

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      • I wouldn’t disagree, I’m just not sure how illustrative it is since I haven’t really thought about it much or at all really. (I’m still in the honeymoon phase)

        My husband and I talk about this all of the time (he is of the native intelligence variety..I of the well educated type) He often remarks that for someone with reams of information at my fingertips at any given moment – I can be remarkably “thick” about a things. Part of my charm 🙂

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        • “Thick” is usually a putdown. I’ve fought against this all my life, the “you may be smart but you have no common sense” statement. Which is not true — it’s a means people use to defend themselves against their own insecurities. Which is part of why I introduced the “thick” question here — in response to the fact that *he* raised it. I suspect that anyone who uses the word “thick” in reference to themselves is responding to a putdown he has heard or read. It’s different than self-deprecation.

          And honestly — are you thick? Or are you just listening to someone who says you are?

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          • That is irritating…my sister who has not pursued an education uses that all the time and I find it tremendously offensive – really? How do I manage to navigate my life then?

            Me personally “thick”? I have my moments…I think a lot of it boils down to a lack attention at times. That and I am not always very good at assessing things on the fly conversationally – much better when I have time to think things through a little and then reply. Part of the reason I like online discussions…my pauses to calculate are less obvious than in conversation on topics that I’m not well versed in.

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            • I should add, that my sister’s choice not to pursue a formal education while I did choose to do so does not mean that I think she is less intelligent than me, rather that she chooses to see it that way and seeks to level what she sees as a slanted playing field by attributing the “lack of common sense” factor to me.

              Re: erudition – this might be one of the most misused words in the English language in that it has a very specific meaning, but is often applied in a general sense.

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    • I disagree. I don’t think he caught himself pontificating. That is not at all the tone of the statement if you listen to it.

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  5. Glad you wrote this post. It’s a distillation of thoughts that, I suspect, have been in the minds of more than a few of your readers.

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    • Thanks. I wanted to be able to say, it’s okay to articulate this question. Particular to myself, as it was pressing over most of the summer. But there are, of course, some readers who will feel that if I say anything slightly critical, my fandom is insufficient.

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      • There will always be those who see things as black and white, I don’t think anything in life is that simple…shades of gray everywhere…one of the few things I’ve noticed about this fandom that I don’t care for is the occasional feeling that certain things are sacrosanct…why?

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        • yep, that’s why I started the post with so many caveats which no one will read — so when people take offense I can say, look, I addressed that already.

          To some extent it’s a fandom dynamic in itself, not just this fandom. But this fandom has particularly aggressive moments in response to dissent. It may have to do with the fact that for many of us this is our first fandom. I also think that it has something to do precisely with the issue I am articulating. If Armitage’s first fans were in a particular group of people, there might have been a reason for that. I think precisely because he is an emotional / physical (as opposed to cerebral) actor — in his own words — he appealed to a lot of people who were in similar situations to mine. Inclined to be stuck in their heads. Then we find a way out of our heads and we’re grateful — and when someone says, or he himself says, Richard Armitage is not what you think he is, the bearer of bad tidings has to be disciplined. I agree that it’s tiresome.

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          • I saw the caveats, but then, I’m manic about reading directions!

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          • “Richard Armitage is not what you think he is” this is what I find so interesting about the whole dynamic – IMO, it is all a Utopia based on carefully crafted, often edited responses to specific questions. In reality, we cannot really know who this man is…add to it, he is a professional actor, well versed in becoming someone else entirely which makes it even more difficult to discern reality. I deliberately force myself to use words like SEEMS and APPEARS in a lot of posts, because I don’t want to give the impression that I think I KNOW anything about him up to including whether he gives a rat’s patootie about anything you, I or the lamppost might speculate about him.

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            • Or we could put it the other way — because we know nothing about him, he is who we think he is. 🙂

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              • This is a completely circular argument isn’t it 🙂

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              • Isn’t that the way it is even with our real romantic relationships — people are who we think they are until we find out who they really are.

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              • or he is who we ~want him to be.

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                • Yes, indeed. That’s been a serious issue in this fandom from the beginning.

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                  • I have always said from the beginning that RA is someone I can imagine to be whatever I want him to be. But then again, that’s also something that we have a tendency to do with people in real life (as opposed to fandoms) when we attribute characteristics to people we don’t really know, i.e. the guy you’re crushing on at the office. It’s just that RA “seems” to come across the way I imagine him, or he does a darn good job of acting that way.

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          • I admit to be having some problems sorting this out in my head. I mean how does it work?
            Here is RA who’s like a Baal to his fandom, they go ecstatic when he makes an appearance, analyze every button of his outfit, admit to be fantasizing about him while having sex with their own Hubbies/BFs and at the same time the topic that ‘maybe he is not so bright after all’ is brought up and he’s being vivisectioned.
            I am not part of Armitage Army. At the risk of being lynched here I admit that some of his fans scare me. Neither am I a sweetie who will never use a bad word or express a critical thought but it just doesn’t seem right to be discussing in this vivisection mode the qualities of his mind. Not because I am an uncritical fan but because it is unkind, to anyone, let alone to the object of our interest. I am being frank with you.

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            • I guess I’m not sure what you’re saying — it’s okay to adore him and analyze his buttons (I am a button analyzer, by the way, and I’m big on thumbs, too) and fantasize about having sex with him (I do that as well), but not okay to talk about his mind? It’s not okay to do any of these things? It would be okay to talk about his mind if I only praised it?

              For lack of a better term, there are different “sections” of this fandom. The discussion boards (C19, RACentral, Armitage Army) prohibit discussion of his personal life or characteristics. They would never have allowed a post like this. Probably most of those fans would agree that much of what I write here is inappropriate. One reason that I’m blogging, among many, is because I wasn’t willing to set that kind of limit to my writing.

              As far as whether it’s unkind to discuss anyone’s mind, I’m afraid that as a university instructor, I’m in that business. I discuss and evaluate people’s intellects all the time. I’m not sure that I see why it would be inherently prohibited or inherently unkind.

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              • I don’t mean formal limitations but those we impose on ourselves. If I like someone that much, why would I bring forward bad stuff about him?

                I do have some, shall I say, less favorable observations about him and don’t feel the need to mention them. I am, on the other hand, quite inconsequent, as well because as you see, I am actively participating in the ‘mind discussion’.

                I am not against discussing personal matters of stars (not the tabloid style, though). Success and recognition come at a certain price.

                My main point however was the following: doubts about whether this discussion is appropriate or not, do not remain with his fervent fans only who are unable to see any flaw in their object of adoration. I am not one of them and I still have them.

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                • Gosh. I have never said anything bad about Richard Armitage on this blog. That’s your attribution and your baggage.

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                  • Is considering someone ‘thick’ a complement then?

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                    • I repeat: I did not say he was “thick.” HE said people might think he was “thick.” I said MY greatest fear about him was that he might not be smart.

                      I HOPE EVERYONE HEARD THAT.

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        • Hmmm…I don’t recall ever worrying whether anybody would live up to my expectations re their intelligence (other than my children because everybody wants their child to be the gifted child or thinks their child is the gifted child) and I assume that’s because I’m not an intellect. Although I’ve always admired people who are — it’s one of the reasons I read your blog. I was surprised when RA said he didn’t read until he read the hobbit (or something like that) but it doesn’t really matter to me how smart RA is because he seems to have lots of other fine qualities, i.e. chivalrous, kind, giving, sharing, humble, writing notes to his fandom just as he’s about to walk down the biggest red carpet event of his life. And I will have to add he seems smarter than the average bear. As usual you’ve gone in a totally different direction than I expected. Looking forward to reading more.

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          • And one other thing: It’s hard to believe you haven’t had a fantasy where you’re the professor and he’s the student — and I’m not talking about teaching.

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            • p.s. that’s me being funny.

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            • 😀

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            • When i was a young professor I had a striking figure, or rather one feature of my figure was extremely striking (that has since completely disappeared under the burden of aging and stress) and I was propositioned by a male student about once a semester for something like five semesters. It’s — to put it mildly — gross. And then, I’ve been sexually harassed. So, no, this doesn’t fall into my fantasy schedule.

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              • I thought it might be a place you wouldn’t want to go, but might make an exception if the fantasy student was RA.

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                • I have tons of problematic fantasies about RA, this just isn’t one.

                  And do I look at my students and think, “whoa, sex on stilts!” Absolutely. It’s a bit different now than when I was closer to their age (I’m now two decades older than most students), but there’s something about the bloom of eighteen to twenty four year old youth that never loses its appeal. At least until they open their mouths or pick their noses …

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          • One thing that interested me about that comment was that he has said in the past that he was a reader as a child (Vulpes Libres).

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            • Well, he did say it was the “first” book he picked up as a child to read voluntarily (or something to that affect), so maybe he became a reader after reading a The Hobbit. Because he did say he read LOTR over and over when he was a child.

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              • Vulpes also cites a different book as a “first” book of excitement, a work by Roald Dahl, iirc.

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                • Do you remember the first book that got you excited? I loved The Blue Fairy Book which I think was one of a series. And The Little Water Sprite — I got obsessed with that book when I was about 6.

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                  • Yes. Genesis. I grew up under a mushroom. I remember being thrilled by the story of Jacob.

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                    • How did you deal with that of all stories! Don’t get me wrong, Jacob was the total package, but is a hard sell when it comes up in the Sunday School rotation all the time and I have to talk teachers through how to spin it so they don’t have to answer too many questions about why Jacob cheated Esau and why he has so many wives, etc…. Have you read The Red Tent?

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                    • The Red Tent’s been on my list forever.

                      I am not sure what got me about Genesis. The Christmas I was five I got a Bible (RSV) from my aunt as a present and I remember lying next to the tree with the Bible, just being fascinated by the stories, for days and days and days.

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      • No, it’s not about

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      • Ouch, hit the button by accident.
        No, it’s not about ‘insufficient fandom’. But this statement you’ve made confused me: “If you can talk about it, I certainly can.” (‘it’, i assume, means his possible ‘thickness’?) I’ve always believed the opposite to be true: I can say ‘I think i’m too fat’, but I don’t think anyone else should tell me ‘you are probably too fat’, except under very specific circumstances…

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        • Technically, there’s nothing I can’t talk about here. It’s my blog. I make the decisions about what to discuss. I stated above that there are a few no-go areas. Some of these might be more dangerous than others (there are two more left for me, ’twill be interesting to see what happens in the next few years). This one was a hot-button stop for me, but I don’t think that it’s dangerous to him (there are many huge film stars who are commonly acknowledged to be total idiots), it was just a hot-button issue to me. So when he raised it himself I was intrigued.

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  6. I see Richard Armitage showing brilliant emotional intelligence in his work and in what he says about his work. He’s primarily an artist, not a professor, so that’s how I value his outlook: for what and who he is rather than what and who he isn’t. He’s been a dancer, an actor, a writer (at least in terms of how he proceeds with character biographies and their revelations) and he spoke of being familiar with oil on canvas. So, it would seem that color, space, silence, balance, intention, rhythm and energy might be ways he experiences and interprets the world rather than living in his head, expressing and countering intricate arguments. He’s a visual thinker and I can relate to this as that’s how I think, nonlinear, pattern-based and somewhat incomprehensibly to people who don’t understand that linear isn’t the only way to go. The thing that gets me is that the insights he comes up with are so truthful and fundamental: that’s what he brings to the table, the truth of the characters and the situation, what they really want and how that shapes and sometimes misshapes them. He can provide an emotional foundation for a character and then build it coherently from there. It’s what thoughtful, honeset observation of one’s own self and others provides, that no amount of speculation can illuminate. So no, I don’t think he’s thick, I think he’s brilliant in ways that society often doesn’t reward (though of course he’s doing fine!), but he’s also a humble man and willing to agree with his detractors because who hasn’t been clueless, wrong, oblivious, ignorant or mistaken? It’s all part of life and I think he shows the maturity that knows that. But hey, it’s probably all projection onto a sweet face and a killer bod, right?

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    • Yes, i agree completely, thank you.

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    • I really like this comment because it shows that there are qualitative, not quantitative, differences being examined here. Just like being an introvert is not some measure less than being an extrovert, but an entirely different way of experiencing and approaching the world, experiencing and understanding from an emotional perspective (as RA seems to do) is completely different from experiencing and understanding from a rational and intellectual perspective. That RA is gifted in this way is the thing that makes us watch him over and over again – he is speaking a language that most other actors don’t speak (or at least not as well as he does), but that we, as a population seem to recognize. Also, I really dislike when emotion and rational thought are placed on opposite ends of the spectrum because today, many scientists in the psychology of emotion admit that in most expressions of emotion, some kind of cognitive appraisal exists. While the idea that there are various types of intelligence (not measured by IQ tests) may have been more popular a decade or so ago, RA seems to epitomize one of these other types of intelligence.

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      • I’d interject here that to some extent the conceptualization has to do with me. If you work in particular kinds of academic settings, you do experience the polarization of emotion and intellect. The fact that I did experience that has enhanced my attraction to Armitage who — as my early comments in the post make clear — plays roles in a way that integrates personality elements much more effectively than I have been able to do.

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    • @boffleb,
      I think you hit the nail on the head for me. I myself am primarily of an artistic nature, and it seems my mind works much the same as Mr. A’s and I feel things intensely.

      Maybe that is one reason I seem to relate to him so well as an actor–his work resonates with me with me on such a deep emotional level. I’m intelligent and university educated but no intellectual and cheerfully admit it.

      I think he’s brilliant *in his own way.* What did Will Rogers once say? Something along the lines of we are all genuises and we are all idiots depending on what the subject matter is. Life experience has taught me that is quite true.
      Not only are there different types of intelligence, I think
      there is also a difference between intelligence and wisdom. I think “thick” Richard has developed a certain amount of wisdom in his 41 years.;) Hope I have in my 52!

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    • I’ll have more to say about this in the rest of this post, but I think you have to distinguish between an artistic intelligence and an emotional intelligence, and that what you say conflates these. The question of whether he is ethical is completely off the table. I didn’t raise that here.

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      • I’m really good with ARITHMATIC! Actually keep track (laboriously of ingoing/outgoing/balance. OCD about time – always show up exactly on the spot. And that’s all. Anything beyond (solving computer problems/music theory/tax forms – someone else has to do that for me.)

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      • That response ended in the wrong place. A mouse died in the midst of this disucussion. (No animals were harmed…well, a mouse died.)

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  7. I do not think it would be so easy to hurt Mr.Armitage’s feelings. I suspect that at this point he is mature enough, and intelligent enough, to know perfectly well what he is and what he is not, and is not easily shaken by anyone’s opinion.

    I would say, however, that Mr. Armitage strikes me as a very intelligent man. And that interview convinced me that he is more intelligent than i thought, not less.
    I also do not think that it matters how he arrives at his understanding, ‘cerebrally’, or visually, or in some other way. Some people who are brilliant at exact sciences are not able to describe their thought process, they just ‘know’. Some people see numbers in color.

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    • I see numbers in color with ethical orientations (three and seven are malevolent). It’s a huge obstacle to doing math.

      I can only reiterate, I wasn’t saying he wasn’t intelligent. I quoted his statement that he didn’t react to prose cerebrally and expanded on that. I agree with him.

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  8. Also, even my own limited experience taught me that neither education, nor an ability to construct elaborate sentences, nor a PhD in nuclear physics (ESPECIALLY not PhD in nuclear physics 🙂 ) necessarily indicate intelligence, or even presence of common sense. I have found quite a number of such people to be just plain, primitive, boring fools – in the way they interact with people, react to events etc… (and I’m NOT talking about anything like Asperger syndrome ).

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    • This exact statement is in a caveat above. I quote myself:
      “in noting that Armitage is not the product of a conventional university education, and noticeably so, I am emphatically not saying that people who lack university degrees also lack intelligence or that people who hold them are intelligent because they have them. I see plenty of evidence to contradict both assertions every day. In what follows, I am not saying “Armitage is uneducated.” The extent of his formal education and its impact on his appearance of intelligence is not what I am addressing here.”

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  9. I completely agree with your analysis–it’s something I’ve suspected for a while. (Both that RA may not be cerebral and that this was your secret “fear”.) Intelligence comes in many forms, but to me the line of demarcation separating the truly intelligent from the truly “thick” is not found in an academic degree, professional accredidation, or ability to engage in “cerebral” thinking, but in one’s level of curiosity and application of knowledge to achieve one’s best and get the most out of living each day. RA may not be cerebral, but he fits my definition of intelligent. Whether I would find satisfaction in reading the Sunday New York Times and discussing politics or the economy with him is a different story (though if room service is involved, that might change things!) Perhaps I wouldn’t find him intellectually stimulating, but that would be a product of differing interests and not lack of intelligence. (It is far more likely he would find me dull–lawyers have that reputation!) I don’t think the term “thick” applies to him, though a person who is interested in areas not of interest to him might perceive him to be so. (And, yes, I have read on other forums people who claim to know him personally and describe him to be sweet, charming and friendly, but deem him “thick as two short planks”. Ouch. ) I’ve known auto mechanics whom I found intellectually stimulating and law professors who clerked for Supreme Court justices who, to me, were thicker than a two by four.

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    • I agree that he’s curious, perhaps exceptionally so. More about this when the term ends.

      Absolutely agree that very intelligent people can be so focused on a narrow area of inquiry that they are completely uninteresting to anyone who doesn’t share the fascination. There are a lot of people like this in universities and academic hospitals (as I discovered this year). This is a variant of a question that I have about Armitage, actually, which is the extent to which he’s interesting apart from when he’s talking about acting / characters.

      re the forum comments — yeah. I didn’t want to link to them here, but from that perspective you could see this as a defense of Armitage.

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      • What I am struggling to understand (maybe I am or am not reading something in to what you wrote the others are/are not) is how saying that someone is not primarily cerebral is perceived as a negative comment.

        I suppose that I can be considered erudite, by definition, but I wouldn’t describe myself as such, and don’t presume to think that people are particularly interested in listening to me conjugate Latin verbs or discuss archaeological stratigraphy at length. Even I find that tedious all of the time.

        I really doubt that Armitage is “thick” in the perjorative sense. Can he keep pace with me on stratigraphy, or with Servetus on medieval altarpieces or with Northern Gal on law? Doubtful…but then truthfully…why would he want to?

        I do find the “thick as two planks” comments extremely rude especially in that they come from people who claim to know the man personally. I may come across as a complete hypocrite, but this strikes me as different from the tone of the original post here. This is someone who is saying something deliberately designed to be denigrating and purporting it to be fact by stating that it is the product of personal conversation with the man himself. I might think that about people of my acquaintance, but common courtesy bars me from blabbing it in an open forum.

        It also begs a kind of ethical question for me…hypothetically, If I were to meet RA and develop a personal relationship of any level (please understand that I am under no delusions of this actually happening) where I might be privy to information that was not publically known, I would feel honor bound to cease and desist any and all participation fan related activities – to do otherwise would seem of betrayal of trust IMHO. Sorry to go on and on…

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        • Oh, I so agree about not going on forums and commenting about someone with whom you have a relationship of some sorts. It seems to be all kinds of wrong to me. What kind of “friend” is that?? When I see comments such as that, I find it distasteful and I do wonder if indeed these people even know the person in question.

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          • I thought the same thing…I think horribly rude things about people all of the time (admittedly a character flaw) but this behavior blurs way to many lines for me personally. It is one thing for strangers to speculate (I don’t particularly care what most people think about me), but it is entirely another for people one might trust to disclose- that is a personal betrayal and would, for me at least, cut very deep indeed.

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        • I agree. Those remarks don’t strike me as something friends would say, only jealous acquaintances (if they in fact know him.)

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        • Curiosity has gotten the better of me. Which forum was this?

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        • I agree 100%! How completely rude and nasty to say something like that about a supposed friend. They must be jealous of his popularity and growing success.

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      • “This is a variant of a question that I have about Armitage, actually, which is the extent to which he’s interesting apart from when he’s talking about acting / characters.”

        Alas, I don’t think we can ever learn this without being personally acquainted with him. Then again being interesting has different meanings for different people. Personally I would really hate it if we were chatting in a pub and he wasn’t capable of discussion even social issues, much less Proust.

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        • Yes, this is a good point. What I think is compelling in a man I’m talking in a bar with is highly personal. I don’t care about Proust but politics are important. Yet it would be really unwise for Armitage to air political opinions IMO.

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          • Any performer who doesn’t want to risk alienating half an audience should probably keep those opinions to themselves…too bad so many of them use their celebrity as a stage to insert themselves into politics – even if I agree with their politics, I have an adverse reaction to the whole concept that celebrity and wealth brings one some higher degree of political credibility.

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            • This gets a bit to my point here, interestingly. There are actors who can make credible political endorsements. But I think (apropos of our earlier point) they are better “on their feet” thinkers than Armitage. I think he also is very good on knowing when not to say something, which is an important skill

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              • I agree that some can and do make credible endorsements…the slippery slope may not be the actor’s ability to be credible, but the public’s inability to recognize credibility when they see it, and not to simply be swayed by the celebrity.

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          • Absolutely. Actors who feel qualified to air political opinions under the guise of raising awareness – um. There are both positive and negative aspects here. I would agree that a few today, and in the past, have been excellent advocates for democratic dynamic change. Whether “left” or “right”.

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            • yeah — but they have to decide that will be a major focus for them. (e.g., Bob Barker and animal welfare, for example, or Susan Sarandon and the death penalty). I think that Armitage’s ethical focus (be kind to others) may be as far as he ever goes on politics, and that is ifne with me.

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  10. I for one, are glad you wrote this. I don’t think any of us can truly say we “know” Richard Armitage be he intelligent or thick. Either way, it does not burst my bubble or smash my idol. Although I have this unreasonable crush on him (a fact that surprised me the moment it happened because I’ve only had one celebrity crush this serious and that was when I was 13 years old, the year RA was born, btw) I haven’t made him into an idol. The man is a human being and capable of being imperfect. YAY! So I’m glad that he said that about himself and that you chose to finally come out and say what you really think and feel about his mental capacity!
    I have a relationship like one of the ones you described. My husband is college educated and I am just a self taught plebe (LOL) but somehow we fit it together. He has major strengths where I have major weaknesses and vice versa and sometimes we clash but in the end we appreciate the different type of knowledge the other has.
    PS, I hope you ddin’t think I was being a smart*** when I answered the tree falling in the forest question during the sleeve debate. It’s something I have pondered because I think it does make a sound but that there has to be a receptor to hear it. I guess some of Guy’s “intellect” has rubbed off on me. 😉

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    • No, I didn’t think you were being a smartass. That sleeve question is an interesting function of the larger question here. If something is engineered to have a particular appearance, which details matter? And who masters the details, and when are they important? It’s an important feature of intellect.

      I agree that in partnerships, the people have to fit together. One feature of my personality is that I am exceptionally interested in abstract and conceptual questions. I’m a competent person, i.e., I am also a pragmatist and have a reasonable amount of common sense. I need to get those conversations from somewhere. It wouldn’t have to be a partner, i.e., in theory I could see having a partner who had other great qualities and I’d have all my deep conversations at work. Right now I have most of those conversations with Pesky, who is married to someone who is not at all like that — and as he’s married and I’m not interested in a relationship, that works fine as a friendship. In practice in romantic relationships, however, the partner also has to be attracted to me. So in my real life the men who have loved me have been very cerebral because they have loved that about me (and made their own sacrifices in others ways).

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  11. I can appreciate why you wrote this analysis and I don’t think you are less of a fan because you recognize emotional and artistic intelligence as being a different flavour to “intellectual”. As someone who was a sucker for intellectual brilliance, I can say “Been there, done that.” Yale, Cambridge, UC Berkeley, yeah, they had it all. They were billiant, but no social, emotional, artistic/aesthetic, spiritual, practical development — zero, zip, nada. I have learned that there are qualities I value much more than intellectual prowess and rigor.

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    • There are intellectuals who are also good people, artistic, have social skills. I like to think I am one of them. However, the relentless development of the brain has certain costs, and you see them reflected very strongly in academia.

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  12. Thanks for sharing this. Reading it put me in mind of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions (description there a direct quote from the Wikipedia entry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator).

    I would guess Mr A falls on the Feeling and Perceiving sides of the continua, rather than then the Thinking and Judging sides. A key underpinning of the indicator is that it’s about preferences, not ability, or ‘raw material’, so someone who is more F/P is no more lacking in ‘brains/head’ than someone who is more T/J (like me) is lacking in ‘heart’. From watching actors and hearing them talk about their work, it seems to me that great performances can come from approaches that are led by the head or the heart, but that there needs to be enough of the other in there as well, or the performance lacks something.

    In a culture/society that so often portrays false dichotomies and that so often has a narrow view of what ‘intelligence’ is and what type of intelligence is valuable, I can imagine that, if you approach things more from the F/P angle, it would be easy to think of yourself as ‘thick’ in this regard, especially if you’ve been working with people who have a more T/J approach. I suspect that many who are more T/J in their approach also worry that they are ‘emotionally thick’ compared to others.

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    • Yeah, this was on my mind because I just had an MBTI last fall in course of my career struggles. I would agree that he’s an FP.

      I am an FJ, and I think that this plays a role in what I had to say in this post. If I were a TJ, I don’t think my interest in him would be anywhere near this severe. I think that the F intersection means that I see just enough of myself in him to find him intriguing.

      The question is whether he’s an I. I’m pretty sure he is, but I know that claiming this will be controversial, just from the comments below.

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      • From things he has said in previous interviews, I would guess he’s an I, too. (But then I am really weird, being XXXX last time I was tested.)

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      • From things he’s said, I can see him as either E or I, or possibly both dependent on the context. That may be coloured by the fact that I personally am slightly on the E side in professional contexts and slightly on the I side in personal ones.

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  13. I’m happy that you wrote this post,Servetus:) because now I may have hope…..no, I haven’t he is still out of my league…too smart for me, like goods from the higher shelf 😉
    PS: Personally I see(I feel) the perfect balance between brain and heart in this men.

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    • I don’t read him as looking for a frighteningly cerebral partner. If, indeed, he is looking for one.

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  14. Oh, boy…you have no idea how many buttons you have pushed with this post, my friend, but if I do not comment I will not be able to sleep at all. In fact, my anxieties are being triggered at a scary pace.

    Much has been said about heraldry and the meaning of names, and how a child’s chosen one can saddle him or her with a burden for life. Well, my RL name means ‘brilliant’, so that should tell you something about the pressure under which I grew up, albeit supposedly indirectly.

    I was the chubby, nerdy child who learned to read and use the dictionary by the time she was four years old. My parents were not rich, but they made sure I received the best education they could afford to give me, so off I went to the Catholic school. You could always find my head buried inside a book; that is, when I wasn’t lost in one of my many fantasy worlds.

    My brain was equally split between the logical and the artistic, a duality represented by the fish of my Zodiac sign,and the contradictions in my life. I was an ‘old soul’ trapped in a child’s body. I was highly disciplined in my studies, always getting A’s because: 1) I could and, 2) It made my father proud. However, I was always very much a dreamer who longed to be a performer. I began to sing when I was two and to train formally as a dancer when I was five. I wanted to be a beautiful princess, but I didn’t qualify for the job because – as I said – I was chubby, and I was not a dainty and delicate flower. No, I always spoke up in class. I was a Hermione Granger, except there was no Harry/Ron combo in my life to balance things out.

    Worst of all, not only was I not popular, I suffered no fools. My tolerance for “stupid people” was nil. My arrogance, on the other hand, was high; though I would never have admitted it to myself, let alone to others. After all, I was always polite and willing to teach others if they asked for help. Arrogant people don’t do that, right? Uh-huh.

    I too was proud of my ‘fancy’ vocabulary and my vast ‘knowledge’ of academic subjects. I was good at studying and mastering every class, even the ones I hated (hello, Math!). On the other hand, once I got home my mind went off to story-land, dancing and singing my way through many adventures, conquering the heart of the dashing and handsome hero who would fall at my feet besotted by my inner beauty, my brain and my charming personality. *cough*

    My life was planned. I was going to go to an Ivy League, study engineering, become an astronaut, marry by the time I was twenty-four, have four children by the time I was thirty, gain the respect of my colleagues, make tons of money, keep a happy home and live happily ever after. You see the problem with that, right?

    So, I got into the Ivy League school, packed my bags and got on an airplane – off to the beginning of my very own quest for happiness and perfection. Then, the reality of the big bad world (as opposed to the sheltered environment in which I grew up) set in, and I realize I HATED IT.

    What? Yes, you read that correctly. I HATED IT ALL. The high-pressure environment, the pretentiousness of academia (sorry!), the “important” conversations about elitist nonsense, the intellectual ARROGANCE, the air of superiority, the mutual ‘aren’t we smart? patting of the backs’ attitude.

    One day, an acquaintance of mine at the Ivy League school walked past me on our way to campus and stopped to say hello. He was gorgeous and sweet and kind and charming and polite and smart, of course. He said to me (amongst other things): ‘You look beautiful today. Have I ever told you how much I appreciate that you always take the time to stop and talk to me and ask how I am doing? You always smile and it makes me feel better.’ I, of course, was floored by the compliment from the very handsome young man and barely managed to say thank you. ‘No, thank YOU. I hope you are very happy in your life. May I give you a hug and kiss your cheek?’ ‘Sure. Of course.’ He did, and squeezed me hard, like you would someone who means something to you. Then, he brushed his hand through one side of my hair and moved it behind my ear. That beautiful boy flashed a smile full of melancholy, said goodbye and walked away. Fifteen minutes later when I got to the bridge over the gorge, I was told someone had jumped. I pushed the guard aside, ran to the railing and…sure enough, there he was, his brains splattered all over the boulder where he landed face down. I ran back to my room.

    That day I decided I no longer cared about being “smart”, about the world declaring me a “success”, about getting “prestige” and “honor” and all the perks that go along with those things. I had seen a lovely young man give up his life in despair because he could not cope with the pressure of being “smart”, and I no longer wanted any part of it.

    I packed my things (seventeen boxes!), called my parents and took a plane home. I have never regretted my decision. It was one of the wisest things I have ever done, even though to this day there are people still angry at me for “squandering” my potential.

    I no longer worry about using “smart” vocabulary or “knowing my stuff” or “being cultured” or “having a superior mind”. My IQ says I am a “genius”. Well, geniuses are not immune to making stupid decisions. Smart people can be – and often are – very dumb indeed.

    I have been (and am at heart) a bookworm, perpetual student, singer, dancer, nerd, geek, teacher, translator, interpreter, songwriter, movie buff, couch potato, cook, baker, poet, writer, and now, blogger.

    I am also a devout Christian with many faults and weaknesses, a sentimental, a romantic, an idealist, an empath, a social activist, an introvert, a social wallflower when trapped in a large group, a storyteller, a dreamer, a music lover, a patriot, and an ‘equal opportunity admirer of handsome men’. I am a loyal friend. I love to laugh. I am a contradiction.

    Richard IS smart. He had a dream and he went after it when he was still a young boy. He moved to ANOTHER COUNTRY WHERE HE DID NOT SPEAK THE LANGUAGE AND DID NOT KNOW A SINGLE SOUL. I’ll take that courage and that wisdom, that determination and work ethic over all the advanced intellect in the world.

    Do I like dumb people? Sadly, I still do not. However, I now value and recognize all types of intelligence, and none are superior to the other ones. They are different. They are all needed. This man, this lovely man we blog about every week (sometimes every day) is a handyman, a musician, a dancer, a singer, an actor, a researcher, a master of his craft; whatever the project he has taken on is all about, he is all in.

    He is a gentleman who loves his family and is a loyal friend. He is polite, kind, considerate, respectful, generous, responsible, modest, shy, creative, dedicated to his craft, curious, eager to learn and do what it takes to complete a task in the best possible way. He is soft-spoken, charming, flirtatious, funny, sexy and very handsome.

    I would take a man like Richard over most men I know, inmediatamente, tout suite, in a second.

    Truth is, exceedingly “smart” people tend to have a limited range of interests and can, frankly, be quite boring when it comes to the simple things in life. Now, I am not saying this is true of all academics, but most men who are considered “smart” look down on those of us “lesser” beings who use “simple” language and speak of “common” things.

    I like myself, and I like my life just the way it is. Could I go back to that world and immerse myself in the pursuit of more analytical aspects of learning and move to the “upper” echelons of society? Sure. I know I can, but I would rather stay down here among mere mortals.

    I hear what you are saying, Servetus, and I do know what you mean, but you and I will have to disagree. In my book, Richard is a very smart man.

    Now, that does not mean I would mind to have a little intellectual tête a tête with Hiddles, parce que Il est un très beau garçon!

    P.S: I do admire academic prowess; I just can’t be bothered with it any longer…
    P.P.S: My apologies to all for the length of my post.

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    • Totally agree. Thanks for sharing your story and insight.

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      • Mujer, I just wanted to clarify that my previous post was a response to you. Not sure if that was clear or not

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    • MT–the story about that tragic young man brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry for your loss, but what a gift for him to share with you how special you were to him, even if you were only acquaintances. The inner goodness you displayed (and apparently still posess in spades) is what being human is all about. Too many people, of all types and levels of intellectual acumen, fail to recognize that this is what all humans must strive for.

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    • I would have never been able to express it so well, but this is exactly how i feel (and know). Thank you.

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    • Thank you so much, mujertropical, for sharing your story. So moving. Such a testament to what being human really is all about. Bless you.

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    • Mujer Tropical, thanks for the long comment. You and I have a lot in common, I think, and I’m grateful that you told your story.

      However, I think you are reading into my comments things that I didn’t say. I am neither valorizing cerebral intelligence here, nor putting down people who are not cerebral. I never said he was not courageous, nor that he was not ethical. I personally don’t believe that this post is in any way critical of Armitage. It takes a statement he made about himself and agrees with it.

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      • Fair enough. He did make that statement. The thing is, we should take into consideration the fact that Richard is known to be self-deprecating in his comments. This perception – which I’ve had for some time – was ‘officially’ confirmed by Mr. Freeman the other night during the Japan Press Conference.

        I also find Richard to be quite sarcastic in a way that is very well disguised by his polite manners. He seems to express his anger this way in what I perceive to be his response to unfair (at least in his mind) criticism. Thus, for him to call himself ‘thick’ does not necessarily reflect his real perception of his level of intelligence/intellectual prowess. I suspect that he does lurk quite a bit on the internet, specifically the main sites dedicated to him, and who knows what he has read in the forums and comments.

        My father, who – for those not familiar with my blog or anything about my life – passed away on October 23rd at the age of 97, loved to quote his mother who taught him that “El más que estudia no es el más que sabe.” The literal translation of that statement being: “The one who studies the most is not the one who knows the most.” True, she meant it in an entirely different context from the one we are discussing here; she was referring to the wisdom and common sense that can only be learned from experience. However, I believe we can apply it in this case.

        As you have expressed, my friend, in order to become a well-respected, eminent savant in any area of intellectual prowess, a person must specialize. Nobody can know everything. Period. It’s impossible, not because our brain is not capable of processing the information, but because we simply do not have the time to study and learn everything that could possibly capture our fancy. Like it or not, our daily time is limited.

        Therefore, even when a person dedicates his or her life to the pursuit of the highest possible level of personal achievement in a specific field (or several, depending on the individual’s interests, capacity and commitment) they will find themselves lacking in many other areas.

        Some of the smartest people we meet find themselves lacking communication and social skills or – even worse – good old common sense. Thus, the need for publicists, diplomats, mediators and ‘shrinks’, amongst other professions. Then again, we all know this, right? It is logical!

        Just because Richard is shy and modest, it does not mean he considers himself to be inferior. On the contrary, I am pretty sure that he knows EXACTLY what his talents are, and how his physical appearance, behavior and considerable assets affect those around him. In other words, I do not think he believes for a second that he is thick, that he is not cerebral.

        My evidence to back up that statement? Before he even steps on a stage of set, Richard sits down and writes a background/origin story for the character he will play; whatever information is missing from the script or the book/play in which it was based, he fills it in. Where was ____ born? Who were his parents? What was his family life like when he grew up? Hobbies? Talents? Romantic relationships? Fill in the blanks ad infinitum. Well, his list does end, but you get the picture. Does a “thick” and non-cerebral person do that? No.

        Second, because he is a musician, Richard chooses a “soundtrack” for his character. A soundtrack, people! Who does that? Someone who loves to think. Cerebral!

        Third, he is a keen observer of his fellow actors, director, and everyone else who interacts with him directly on the set/production/play. He watches and learns, taking notes on how these people operate. Those who impress him, inspire his own performance. Is that not cerebral? I do not see improvisation anywhere in that equation. The man prepares.

        So, as much as I delight in the challenge of intellectual pursuits at the hallowed halls of the world of academia, it is not the only place where cerebral people dwell and flourish.

        You may call yourself ‘thick’ all you want in as many interviews as you’d like, Richard, but I know your secret. You are SMART.

        Love,

        ~B.

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        • Wish there were an emoticon for applause on wordpress! I’d use it now. Thank you!

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        • MT, I feel like we are not even in the same conversation. I’m sorry about that, but I have to ask: Did I say anywhere that I believe Richard Armitage considers himself inferior?

          Perhaps you don’t understand what I mean by cerebral, and what I think he meant — he says, “if I read a line, I’ll see an image, I won’t have a cerebral understanding of it.” That doesn’t preclude anything you say about how he prepares for a role — but what he does is in fact not abstract, conceptual, intellectual. It’s aesthetic and emotional and, as he says, physical. There’s an important difference there and it’s essential to understanding why he has the effect that he has on me.

          I’m not attacking him here. On the contrary. I am not the person who said he was “thick.” I think you got angry at the beginning of the post and didn’t really examine what I actually said. That’s your prerogative, of course.

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          • Servetus, I was not angry at all – I was sleep deprived. The thing is, even though you did not use the word ‘inferior’ per se, that is the implication of saying he is not smart. To me, you are saying that he is not smart enough for you to be interested in having a conversation with him because his intellect (due to his lack of advanced academic preparation) is nowhere near the level of yours and that of your colleagues and, therefore, he is incapable of having an exchange of deep, analytical thoughts about topics of higher learning. For you, he can only have such conversations about his professional field of expertise. Mind you, I am in no way saying you are an arrogant jerk – your sensitive side prevents that from happening; but you do consider yourself superior, which in purely objective academic terms is accurate. However, I will forever believe that the kind of smarts that come from higher education have its limits, no matter how useful those attributes are to society. Other things are more important to me. Titles and degrees do not impress me, probably because I know full well I can compete in that world; I just do not have any desire to do so.

            What baffles me about this entire argument is why most people believe logic and emotion are inherently separate matters. I can assure you that both sides reside harmoniously in my brain. I am always logical in my thinking (though I am sure many would disagree). Never have I made an important decision in my life without critically analyzing every possible outcome it may have. However, I have never set aside my gut feelings about said decisions, and my emotions and gift of discernment go hand in hand with my ‘brainy’ side when I finally make a decision. Why must they be separate? Aren’t feelings what makes us human? I refuse to believe that in order to make the most ‘intelligent’ decision I can, I must set aside my emotions. Never!!! I always take them into consideration because what I do in this life affects the lives of others around me, whether or not I want that to happen. Therefore, it would be incredibly irresponsible of me not to consider the emotional ramifications my actions will have on others. Obviously, in the end I will do what I consider to be best for me in that situation, but my conscience dictates I must not be selfish.

            You say we are having different conversations; I disagree. If I had gone the route of Science (chemical engineering), I would have had a moral obligation to stop and think of the ramifications of whatever research area I would have approached; and yes, that would have meant taking my feelings into consideration. Must one side inevitable win over the other? Yes, of course. There are times when logic must prevail. Still, I refuse to discard either side from my life so as to be considered smart enough to have a superior brain. I couldn’t care less!

            That said, know I have great respect for your chosen profession (being a teacher myself), and feel much esteem for what I perceive of you as a person from your posts on this blog. You are a special lady. Truly.

            P.S: I still think you are wrong about Richard! 😉

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            • MT: Your close reading is inaccurate. I NEVER said that I wasn’t interested in having a conversation with Richard Armitage. (If that were true, why do I have a file of questions I’d ask him in a fantasy interview? — something referred to repeatedly in my comments). I DID say that I didn’t think he and I would work as romantic partners because we don’t have enough in common, based on my previous experiences in relationships. (By the way: 50% of that interaction involves the guy, who also has to find cerebrality attractive. Richard Armitage has never said, I want a girl with a brainy vibe; he has said, I want a girl who’s got a good sense of humor, is a bit naughty, and likes to eat. As I said in the post, only one of those descriptors apply to me.) I also DIDN’t say I thought he was incapable of having deep conversations. I DID say that nothing I’ve seen of him indicates that he has a concentrated, focused analytical intellect, that he enjoys intellectual hairsplitting, or that he’d be interested in acute theological discussions. Although he’s certainly highly ethical / moral, I don’t read him as conventionally religious, and the exploration of conventional religion is a central theme of my life. I NEVER said emotion and intellect are separate matters. And on, and on, and on. You are having a conversation with someone here, but it’s not me. I suggest that if you’ve become this focused on insisting that I said things I didn’t say, you should ask yourself why *you* need me to represent those things in your mind.

              It’s not your obligation to know what I’ve said in the past, but when you make comments like the ones above, you ignore basically everything I’ve been writing about for almost three years now. In May 2011 I left an academic job that was killing me, piece by piece, and this is very much a blog about *how I failed* at academia. If you think this isn’t a blog about the failure of rationality — read the months of May and June 2011. It’s a blog about how my rationality, upon which I had relied for so long as the thing that would always work and always get me through even when I knew I was tremendously unhappy, quit working. It’s a blog about how instrumentalizing my intellect to get ahead killed everything I liked about myself. It’s a blog about how by suppressing my emotional, religious and creative impulses over decades in order to become successful, I came to a place where my personality revolted and simply made it impossible for me not only to work, but really to do anything at all. In your statements about me, you ignore the dozens of posts about these themes I have made over years. The only way you could assume that I think I’m superior because of my intellect would be if you thought I automatically assumed that “smart” is inherently better than “not smart,” which is far from the case, and the fact of that is indicated repeatedly, incessantly on this blog.

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              • Great summerzation of your life/blog. I wish I were that insightful/astute re my own life. All I know is there is chaos all around.
                And I realize I’m intruding on a serious discussion, but I have a question: Does naughty sense of humour count?

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                • you’d have to ask him 🙂

                  I’ve never been entirely sure what’s connoted with the use of the word “naughty” among Brits 🙂

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              • I can see I am the one who inadvertently pushed your buttons this time, for which I apologize. It was never my intention to offend you. As I despise arguments and tend to cry easily when I find myself in these situations (my problem, not anyone else’s), I shall take my leave. Clearly, I have made you angry, which makes me feel terrible. You have a wonderful day.

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                • I doubt that you pushed servetus’ buttons, MT, she is sufficiently experienced to ride the waves. It is an intensely interesting discussion, and all perspectives add. (I do not speak for servetus, and I neither endorse nor discount MT’s comments.)

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                • I ask only that you not put words in my mouth that I didn’t say. I spend a lot of time formulating exactly what I want to say. This post took something like eight hours to write. I take my audiences very seriously in that I expect that they will be able to understand what I say. So it’s annoying when things are attributed to me that I didn’t say — or that I specifically took the time to say that I am not claiming (caveats).

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    • Wow, this is an amazing comment Mujer Tropical. Thanks for sharing this. I guess the important thing is you feel confident and at peaceful with the choices you’ve made. Isn’t that what we all really aspire to do?

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      • Indeed. And mutatis mutandis, Richard Armitage.

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        • Why does he need to change at all? He will continue to grow as a person, as we all do as time moves on, but he sure as heck does not have to live to please any of us, including me. Richard, alterius non sit qui suus esse potest!

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          • Sorry, you are off the rails here, MT. “Mutatis mutandis” means “the necessary changes being made,” i.e., I hope that, given his own circumstances, Richard Armitage is “confident and at peace with the choices [he’s] made.” No one is asking Armitage to change.

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            • Excuse me but, by saying that the necessary changes have been made, aren’t you implying that changes needed to be made in the first place? That is what that phrase means to me. Guess I need to go back to the books and study Latin again. Sorry about that.

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              • No. “mutatis mutandis” means something like, given differing circumstances. For example:

                In Wisconsin, the most significant influences on the deer harvest are: diet of the deer population before harvest; level of deer population at the beginning of the hunt; weather during the hunt. Mutatis mutandis, the same things apply to Wyoming.

                i.e., Wyoming is a different place than Wisconsin, but the same factors are relevant there.

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    • MT,

      Your comment here is as much of a tour de force as Servetus’ blog posts are. Bravo! And my sympathies for the loss of your friend. So sad. But you sound like you have found what makes you happy, and that is great! Each of us finding our own way–through our own personal journeys–takes a lifetime of changing and evolving.

      And I love your wonderful descriptions of Richard Armitage as a multi-faceted human being whom we all admire so much. For as you say, RA identified his goals and dreams and pursued them, despite disappointments and rejection in the beginning of his career. And now, RA is on the tip of a new level of success and artistic exploration that has no limits. He has worked hard and paid his dues–Cold Feet beefcake shots anyone? Richard Armitage has earned the wider recognition and esteem that will be coming his way.

      Richard Armitage is a gentleman and a gentle man in my view. And his humility–that sometimes comes out in self-deprecating remarks–is among one of his most endearing qualities for me. And I could sit and listen to Mr. Armitage tell me about his experiences and what they mean to him for hours.

      Though we can never truly “know” another person–especially since we have to first “know” ourselves and how our personal “lens” filters how we interpret our world around us and the people in it–I find Richard Armitage endlessly fascinating. And I look forward to future interviews where he “opens up” more about himself and his process–like peeling back layers of an onion.

      Cheers! Grati ;->

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    • My heart goes out to you, mujer tropical — thank you for posting such a terrific comment. I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend, and can only imagine how wrenching that must have been. And thanks for expressing your viewpoint so eloquently. We need both brains and heart to become whole people, and both are equally valuable.

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  15. At some point in the past two years (someone,and I believe it was on on this blog) proposed the term “ambivert”. This, I think,, is a nice way of cutting through the b/w of received psychological classification. And most likely a term that many of us can relate to. It might be a better term to apply to Mr. A. I don’t perceive him cold or even detached, (Based soley on perceptions of his responses to interviews or fans)but as an intuitively quick personality who actually quite likes people. One who has been extremely focused on his career/profession/craft, and equally requires the space to work through a role in his head and imagination – and apologises for not having been more “one of the boys out for beer” at risk of losing that precious time, necessary to him. Especially in acting which is a dynamic process; for some actors, it is necessary to have that space to review/analyse the character which he envisioned, but which is also affected by the day’s dynamic effect of the interaction with other actors and requires a reflection on its effect.

    Ambivert? 😀

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    • *holds up hand* I think that was me, fitzg. I think of myself as an “ambivert.” I can be very outgoing when I desire and it is necessary and I also need time to be by myself, to think and to reflect.

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    • It’s fine to call him an ambivert, but it’s not what I’m talking about. Cf. MBTI.

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    • Ambivert- I like that! 🙂

      We don’t know what he was thinking when he said “thick.” Maybe he was regretting sacrificing the social bonding for his intense approach to work. If he finds himself habitually feeling that way, it might be an issue him to consider. But as I said, we really don’t know what he meant.

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  16. @e your post struck a chord. I have twice taken that test. Second time to confirm. I am an INFJ. (have to watch the judgemental aspect :)). And it was summarised as being 1% of the population. Well, are we freaks, or what? Not. that’s just numbers and useful (to someone)classification. The thing is, that an INFJ requires some time to reflect and analyse the information. Intuitive perception comes first – but there is a need to analyse the perception. So, as Obscura said, thinking on your feet does not really work.

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    • I am an INFJ, too.

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      • You are?? You are so much faster than I am on the analytical process. And far more intellectually self-disciplined. I had not had you as an INFJ. Do we add up to 2% of the population? Just joking. Or is everyone just varying degrees of intro/extra/degrees of interpreting information – I like ambivert! Gradations of IQ/EQ. And even IQ vs.EQ is narrow. Pigeon-holes… 😀

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    • Why I am not surprised that in taking even a quick online version that I come up as INFJ on this test…

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      • @obcsura, I was identifying with you, from your remarks and perspectives on this specific post. (had to go away and think about it…) Guess what? Perhaps we are not just 1% of the pop! Perhaps we are part of the human race. 😀

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        • I had always assumed that I was 🙂 I am usually very uncomfortable in face to face discussions where I’ll be expected to comment on something immediately and coherently. I often find myself at the fringe of the discussion in the moment and then 15 minutes later have this *newsflash* of what I would have liked to have said. Graduate seminars were often a complete nightmare for me in this respect, but I must have found ways to camouflage it since I successfully completed all the coursework.

          For me, virtually everything is somehow shaded along a spectrum and I try not to pigeon hole people, because I detest being crammed into a small space myself. To some degree I think that this is instinctive behavior for me, because I just do it, I don’t really think about why I do it.

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          • assumed that I was a human that is 🙂 The rest I had no formal idea. I’ve never had my IQ tested – I’m afraid of what it will reveal in either direction 😉

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            • My mother had my IQ tested and never told me the number, which is just as well. The consistent message of my childhood was “you’re not as smart as you think you are.” 🙂

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              • See, that is why I don’t know if I should or should not do it…on the one hand, I may have accomplished a tremendous amount with a teeny tiny IQ, or I may just be a slacker 🙂

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                • I was tested quite young and not told the number, but thereafter, it was “Why aren’t your grades better?” No one seemed to tell my parents that the IQ score had nothing to do with motivation. Later I was tested again and that time I found out the number. By that time, I realized it had very little implication for what I wanted from life.

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              • @servetus. I agree. As an earlier gen. I landed in D.C. at grade 6, and all g1 kids were tested. I tested higher than average. (I think it wasn’t “gifted”) but it was common knowledge, somehow. So, when I hit the teen years back here, no-one could figure how I could struggle with high geometry and totally flunk algebra…Got to university through Latin (of which I’ve now forgotten most, except for phrases) and pure perserverence. Much better that no-one, including person in question knows what they have “tested”. 😀

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    • I’m also INFJ. Wow, I’ve met so many INFJs on the internet the last few weeks.

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  17. Dear God! Please let me find a life partner who is as thick as Richard. Thank you.

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  18. I took his comment to mean that he is more of an intuitive actor vs a cerebral one. There are very intuitive actors and there are cerebral actors. It sounds by the way he prepares for a role with creating a bio or journal that that is his method. Whereas, other actors might go the extensive research route.

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    • “Intuitive” yes, that’s the word that springs to mind for me. He’s very intuitive, I think. And it suits me just fine. 😉

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      • Ok dear sev … Just read the test of the post and feel that in my opinion that by posting your email chat you went too far. It was mean. You had more than illustrated your point and that was brutal. Too brutal.

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        • The idiot savant comment was a bit much for me, personally.

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          • It is your right to disagree.

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          • yes, it was painful moment.

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            • Probably because I once taught a savant while at the School for the Blind. Just touched a nerve for me, but that’s my own emotional baggage.

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              • Sorry, I don’t think it was either inappropriate in the original conversation or here. In the sense in which I used it, and qualified it with a relative clause, it refers to a person who has a huge talent in one area, the scope of which is not entirely under his rational control, and which takes up most of his energy so that other functions are less well developed.

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  19. I have a lot of work to do today, so I don’t know when I’ll get to answer all these comments. I want to thank everyone sincerely who wrote in — and remind everyone that I said, at the very beginning of the post, that I was not arguing that he was dumb. I was agreeing with his comment that he was not a cerebral actor.

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    • I don’t doubt the intent. But the perception is the reality, regardless of the disclaimer.

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      • Some people got it, some people didn’t. The post stands. Also, and this is not directed at you, @Rob, but just putting it here because this is the last comment I can answer before class, no one needs to send me any more email to take this post down, because I am not going to. Thanks.

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        • I’d like to interject my 2 cents in here and somebody else may have already said this, but I haven’t had time to read all the comments. After reading the post 2 or 3 times, I got what you were saying and that is basically that there are different types of intellegence. You’re one way and RA is another. But I think you got everybody off track from that message by starting out by saying your fears were that RA might not be very smart. And then you dove into your analysis which for me took at least 2 readings to soak up. And I know my first impulse was to say “No you didn’t just go there!” Anyway now I get it and you’re not saying he’s not smart, just that his mind works differently from the way yours does. heck I’m reading this again in order to completely understand all of it.

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          • If I can’t articulate my own fears on my own blog, what’s the point? 🙂

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            • Well, my point is that I think maybe once folks saw that one sentence/question, they didn’t really see anything else. That’s just my take on it…I’m probably wrong.

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              • Oh and by the way, you’re very brave to put yourself out there probably knowing what was coming.

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                • yeah, I knew what was going to happen. But this is also supposed to be part of what I’m learning. How to make sure I say what I believe to be true so that I can speak for it afterwards and deal with the possible negative responses. I am a people pleaser myself, and knowing what is going ot happen if I broach a certain topic is not appealing — but it’s a lesson I need to learn, just like Richard Armitage had to learn not to think about his fans in choosing roles.

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                  • I know — I envy people who are direct and say what they believe. My father was that way and so is one of my brothers. And they had/have no qualms about dealing with the negative responses. I on the other hand tend to avoid controversy which leads to avoiding the truth.

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                    • What I am trying to work on: defending what I know to be true without ego. The first part is easier than the second.

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      • Precisely my concern, mostly regarding people who are now just beginning to take interest in RA.

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        • You’re welcome to express your concern, but for it affects neither the content of the post nor the purpose of the blog. So that we are clear — I and this blog are not a publicity mouthpiece for Richard Armitage.

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  20. There are different ways of perceiving the world, and different ways of analysing what is perceived. Scientific analysis (or scientific expertise/ perception) of the human brain is a long time from “perfection” (Stay tuned beyond your lifetime :). Focus on individuals? Not easy classifications? As a librarian, I classify alphabetically. LC. Alpha classifaction comes easily. Numerial Dewey does not.Numbers make no sense, unless shown in visual terms – 3 apples here. 2 apples there. If I take away two – what’s left? etc. Intuitive/visual body language perception is one thing. Some receive the information – but require the time to process and analyse. And sense how to respond another time.

    Don’t worry about running to respond to all so rapidly. The posting has legs. And as long as all
    do not interpret your, or commenters’ posts as “Bad Fan”. Not what the blog is about.

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  21. I find your approach to the topic extremely brave, Servetus!
    It took me a while to figure out my problem with your interpretation, Servetus, but in a slight way, I think I differ with your interpretation of RA.
    In the fundamental parts, I agree with your analysis. Where I go in a different direction is, as I wrote in my article about good and bad actors a while ago, the way to the state he reached now.
    I don’t think RA got the easy shortcut to be able to directly access his emotions in acting, in expressing the images in his head and transferring them to the outside and audience.
    I think, he had to go the hard way over his brain – what by the way is the school method – and had to find out, how to access his images in a way that brain and emotions intermingle fluently. Which in my opinion needs a lot of training and well schooled and attentive observation and perception of emotions and behaviours in others.
    With all the preparation he does, I think RA to approach his jobs in a quite brainy and head focused way, to give him the background and security he needs, to let his emotions flow in his acting, because he discerned the walls the figure is acting inside, the guidelines, the figure sets for her life and accepts as guiding rules.

    So though in the end result, we come to the same conclusion in our interpretation of RA’s acting as being emotional and transmitting emotions to the viewer, the way we get there is completely different.

    His area of expertise, his studied subject might be different, but not his general method of analysis and preparation.

    What fascinates me in RA and watching him in interviews (I don’t always listen to them closely, as RA is much too fascinating, when I try to discern what he is thinking about his interview partner) is his total attentiveness to the interviewer. His close attention and reading of other people, absolutely fascinates me. In a way, I see it as quite elaborate ‘human studies’ ;o)

    Regarding RA’s interviews, I have tons to say about those and if I find time, I will write more about that topic on my blog (not to hijack your blog entirely ;o)

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    • I don’t know whether I agree or disagree. Or rather:

      -I certainly agree that he had to train his access to his emotions — he mentions that breakthrough in that newspaper interview that everyone loves to hate and some of the fans won’t refer to. But I don’t read it as a breakthrough over brain (based on what he said), but rather over trained or innate restraint — as he said, “that’s not civilized.”

      -I also agree that his listening is really pronounced. It’s one of his most attractive features, and one of the indices for what I would call an extreme curiosity.

      Look forward to whatever you write.

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  22. I haven’t read through the comments yet but I will. This comment will probably add nothing to the discussion but I haven’t been to this blog in so long… I just want to say /something/ 🙂

    I agree with what you’re saying so far. I’ve always thought that Richard was very thoughtful when it came to his roles but maybe less so with other things. But it never bothered me because I think I’m the same way. My intelligence mainly lies in creative aspects and comedy and I tend to put all my energies in those areas. I enjoy reading and learning but sometimes I veer toward subjects I’m interested in at the time instead of trying to gain an overall understanding of things whether they interest me or not — which a true intellect does, I’m sure.

    Richard may be a Feeler (I tend to use the terms Feeler and Thinker using the MBTI definition) foremost but there’s no doubt he’s thoughtful and puts a lot of work into learning when it comes to things he finds (feels? lol) important. I mean, of course he does. Everyone has a measure of both Thinking and Feeling. I always thought it obvious Richard is a Feeler (how many times can I say ‘Feeler’ in one sentence? Let’s find out) but I never stopped to think about his /level/ of intelligence before. And I’ll leave that to you, professor 😀

    With Tom Hiddleston, ooh boy is that dude smart. I think that’s why I’ve become such a huge fan of Tom the past year and a half. Despite being a big bag of emotions I really value intelligence. Maybe it’s like the same effect with you and Richard but opposite with me and Tom 😉

    But I always had this idea that Tom was also a Feeler first but, through his years of having the best education, was able to learn to be a Thinker or utilize that way of thinking. I’m probably wrong though since I only know as much about him as his interviews can reveal and through his acting. He could just be really good at acting like a Feeler. Acting is his job, after all.

    I’m much better at figuring out people when I can talk to them face to face…

    Now it’s time for me to read 100+ comments and see how much I’ve repeated others.

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    • re: Hiddleston — he’s said in several interviews that he started acting as a way of getting his feelings out in the wake of his parents’ divorce, so yes, I agree based on that that he has a strong F component.

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  23. Two things spring to mind having read all of your post and all of the comments.
    One is that Mr Armitage has spoken of using Stanislavski’s ‘method’ of acting. I certainly wouldn’t claim to be an expert on method acting, but I did study it when I did my acting training, and read his books. The very nature of method acting is that you don’t approach the role intellectually, you have to find the emotional basis of it within yourself, and act/react by pure emotion. Have you read Stanislavski, Servetus? I think you would find it a fascinating insight if you haven’t, especially in light of RA saying that he is a method actor.
    Second thing, I think it’s definitely possible to be very intelligent, but at the same time not a quick thinker. One of my kids had her IQ tested by a psychologist for school, and scored really highly in all measures of ‘intelligence’ but has a relatively slow processing processing speed. It means she is really, really smart, but doesn’t necessarily come across that way in quick repartee such as in an interview situation. Deep thinker, but not quick thinker, I think I am probably the same.

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    • Yes, I have looked at some Stanislavski (although that has traditionally been something that Frenz has been more interested). I stopped writing about it because the first time I said anything about it, using a basic notion from his work, the response was so frustrating that I decided not to continue. I’m learning to deal with that better now, so I may go back.

      I take what you say about processing speed, but I’d resist the implied dichotomy between deep and shallow. When I say that Armitage doesn’t have an analytical intellect, I am not saying i think he’s intellectually shallow. I also don’t think that Armitage doesn’t come across as smart. He doesn’t come across as cerebral, and as I’ve been emphasizing all along, there’s a difference.

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  24. Something caught my attention in servetus’ comments. “Artistic intelligence” and “emotional intelligence”.Visual? mix of all? Or confluence?

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    • yes, it’s an intriguing statement because it’s not something he’s said before about his self-perception.

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  25. Servetus,
    Which was more difficult to do–defending your doctoral thesis or defending this post? I’ve always been impressed by your intellect, communication skills, and honesty, but I’ve acquired a new appreciation for your tenacity, endurance and apparent ability to function without much sleep!

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    • I am of the opinion that she never shuts down.

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    • To qualify: in a doctoral defense situation in the humanities at least, the obstacles should be cleared out of the way before the defense. The main arguments should be settled before the final meeting to discuss them. If they’re not, and open warfare breaks out at a defense, and that leads to a down vote, that is almost always a sign the doctoral adviser is not doing his/her job. IMO a doctoral adviser should not admit the student to the defense if s/he thinks there is any chance the student won’t defend successfully. My doctoral defense was almost pro forma — the big battles were fought out when I filed my dissertation proposal and then in the second draft phase. I had some difficulties, but those discussions were not public. And part of what you need to learn during the doctoral process is to bolster your position against people who disagree and defend your authority to speak.

      This situation is more like a conference paper, or perhaps reading a refereed reader’s report after proposing a publication to a refereed journal. That said, this isn’t anywhere near as bad as some things I’ve experienced. It’s just annoying because things are attributed to me that I didn’t say.

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  26. OK. I hope that what I said in this piece of this series is now clear to everyone who still cares. I think it’s a waste of time for me to defend the post against people who want to have make me said things I didn’t say or explicitly said I was not arguing. Pointing out persistent misattribution is a waste of my time and yours. So I am going to close this thread now and move on to the next piece of discussion.

    Thanks to everyone who left a comment here.

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  27. […] “Armitage leads with the feelings: or, How thick is Richard Armitage?” December 5, 2012. Comments closed because I was tired of pointing out what I hadn’t said in the post, but I […]

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  28. […] trying to pick up my exploration of Armitage’s intellect in relationship to his artistry from here. This discussion started initially as a response to a statement Mr. Armitage made in an interview […]

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  29. […] with kindness when I could. Intellectually, there were two key moments that summer, as well — the conversation with OtherFan about how Armitage leads with his emotions, and exchange with UK Expat about the process of being socialized as a child to turn one’s […]

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  30. […] on the whole question of Armitage’s emotionality as an attractive model for me, that’s something else I need to tap into, both on the level of understanding how he puts it […]

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  31. […] different to me than it means to most fans.) Armitage’s relationship with his family. The nature of his intellect. Whether he feels people are always watching him or telling him what to do. Are any of those themes […]

    Like

  32. […] From January correspondence with Otherfan: […]

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  33. […] Armitage may not ever the best explicator of his own output, and he’s not required to be. (I’m on notorious record as thinking his approach to his work is non-intellectual and that may also make it harder to speak about his work verbally.) What I mostly want to suggest, […]

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  34. […] fit tremendously well with Armitage’s gifts. Armitage’s qualities as an everyman and the muted quality of any cerebral vibe he sends off fit Proctor tremendously well, for instance. And the reviewers are spot on who note that […]

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  35. […] You’re blocked because of an ad hominem comment you made. Did you think I would forget? Although the question you ask is legitimate, it’s also possibly trolly and we’ve been there before. The answers you are looking for are potentially here. […]

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  36. […] saying that one doesn’t think the man’s either learned or intellectually inclined) that Richard Armitage is a feeler, not a thinker and that there are consequences to this recognition for anyone who is a thinker and crushed on him. […]

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  37. […] Armitage spouts about cyberbullying or his questionable opinions about film. In a way, some of my worst fears about him have turned out to be true. But in another way, that’s entirely irrelevant. I remember […]

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  38. […] doing himself any favors with his social media. While I seem to have survived the realization of my worst fears about him, Twitter has given rise to a new one: the possibility that Armitage is frighteningly conventional. […]

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