I’m with you, Richard Armitage

Dear Mr. Armitage,

The most important thing I discovered in your interview with New York Moves over the weekend was an enhanced capacity to speak controversially. I said this immediately, and I said how it cheered me, because I have so often struggled to speak controversially when I thought it mattered or even when it didn’t. That was, and remains, the most important thing. What you said seemed a departure from your previous interviews, and then when it was affirmed that you had endorsed your own desire to speak about politics and your opinions, I was even happier. Because I know how hard it is to speak when someone is saying, “Are you sure you want to say that?” and you wonder, “Is it wise for me to say that?”

As your fan, I am interested in your opinion about everything. However, I don’t care about your politics all that much in the aggregate, although I am much, much, much further left than you appeared in these statements (and than most of my fellow citizens). I question your praise for the current coalition government of the UK no matter what point you meant to illustrate when you said it. A government is not better simply because its members negotiate with each other if what they negotiate is destructive and debilitating to the weakest people in the society. But I don’t hate you for it. Poor Armitage — nobody loves a centrist!

If I’d have been going to abandon you on the basis of less than fully informed statements with offensive political meanings, though, I’d have turned off my screen last December when you unthinkingly endorsed Tolkien’s identification of the dwarves with the Jews. Yes, I understand all the possible explanations for your statements because I ran them through my head. I didn’t find them mitigating and I wasn’t alone. I even played a segment of one those interviews to a friend who loves your work, too, and she winced — could you really be so unaware of the debates about the giving of Jewish features to movie villains in the last few decades?

In the end, I concluded, despite your use of (Tolkien’s) racist language, you’re not an anti-Semite, you were just ill-informed about what all of those associations would call into the heads of Jews (and, for that matter, Palestinians). And yet, I’m still a fan. Maybe my politics aren’t important enough to me, although people who know me in real life would say differently. Though Judaism is one of my deepest commitments, somehow I managed to keep loving your work and loved it even more. I’m sure some people will call that hypocritical. One thing I know now, more than ever, though, is that people are full of contradictions. Indeed I know this partially because of things your work taught me about inner tensions and paradoxes and the need for compassion. Maybe I just chose not to take your statement personally.

Because you stopped saying those things about dwarves and Jews after the fourth or fifth day of the press tour, I assume you got wind of how some readers were reading those statements and realized it would be wise either to stop (or to find a way to point out that those were Tolkien’s opinions, they counted as liberal to radical in the 1930s, and engage with them yourself more critically). But no matter the topic, we all rub up against someone. In fact, hardly anyone I know would fully endorse my political opinions. Are there dealbreakers for me in regards to you? Sure. Racism, homophobia, spousal abuse, intentional cruelty would be some of them. I don’t think these things are inherently party political, though, so I hope that even fellow fans of mine would see such things as problems. Had I seen a sign of those things, though, I’d already be gone. I’ve been watching you closely for almost four years now and I’ve read all your older press and if there had been any hint of something truly problematic for me, I wouldn’t be here now.

I mention this stuff about the dwarves not because I’m angry any more, but mostly because I’ve heard now twice that liberal fans would not be so broadminded if your remarks had squared more closely with American conservatism. I’ve been broadminded before and likely I will have to be again. I would not have hated you, and your work would not have been lowered in my estimation had you said you were in favor of other things. I do think anyone who thought you were likely to be an American-stripe political conservative had to be ignoring evidence that’s been in the clear for years, now. Had I thought that a realistic possibility I potentially wouldn’t have let myself get in this deep with you.

But since it’s implausible to some that I could admire your speech without admiring the content of what you said, I might as well say what I love about your politics. I might as well be damned for something I’ve actually said. Because I agree with what I took away from your views in that interview, and I lived every day through what you were describing. I’m not hiding behind my often-expressed desire not to bring politics into this world, nor am I writing to explain or justify the opinions of others. These are my opinions. Mine alone.

You were right, when you said that the Republicans were trying to destabilize Obamacare. [Note to a future US leftie, if that’s what you intend to become: we’ve started to call it the ACA now.] The destabilization was something that both the representatives of the GOP in DC and many GOP voters who called in to tell them stand firm in their opposition sought. This is simply not up for debate — it was widely covered at the time, although there were some GOP voters and representatives (John McCain comes to mind) who thought the whole thing was crazy. The destabilization of the law, the delay of its implementation, its revision, were the stated aim of many of the GOP house members and some of their Senate representation. It is indeed “saddening,” as you said, that anyone would have tried to sink a law that is already helping people get care and will help more in the future, particularly without proposing an alternative to address the crisis that health care is causing on our streets, in our hospitals, and to our national economy. Although there was some rumbling around the corners, some posturing, no one in the GOP had anything constructive to say. Indeed, you could have accurately stated that the GOP wished to repeal Obamacare. I heard that in the news more than once from the very mouths of GOP congressional representatives. It looks we’re headed in that direction again. Hang on for January.

I, like you, think universal health care incredibly important. It moved me that you said that. Not because I’m a huge fan of the ACA. I think it does not go far enough and will have to be rewritten to cover a number of loopholes in coverage that have emerged, especially given the failure of some states to expand Medicaid. I loved it that you said that because it proved that I was not mistaken when I deduced from the previous evidence about you that you have a truly kind heart. Could you have said something about health care and its necessity to everyone from a conservative standpoint? Yes. That would have made me equally happy. It probably would have reminded me of my mom, in fact.

I might be expected to object to your statements about politics and religion — both as a religiously observant person, and as a scholar who knows way more about the history of the church / state relationship in England and the U.S. than you do. Because I teach classes on this topic, it’s really not fair for me to comment on this. Although you didn’t finesse the statement especially well, I think I know what you were trying to say — that U.S. politics are more superficially reflective of some Americans’ religious sympathies, and that the insistence of some voters on seeing their religious values reflected in secular law in the U.S. — and their belief that their values are universal rather than particular — is strong in a way that it’s not in the UK anymore (or in most of Europe for that matter). These values collide with the multicultural trajectory of the U.S. in really uncomfortable ways — and even though the Anglican Church is rather enmeshed with the UK Government, this relationship of religious sentiment among voters and political expression of it is a path on which the UK is, indeed, at a very different point.

I absolutely agree with you that it’s a problem to mix religion and government. I feel that way about the U.S., I felt that way about Germany, and I feel that way about Israel. Probably for different reasons than you do; my guess is that your worries lie in the realm of how a state religion or a government in the hands of a particular religion or confession potentially affects personal freedoms — or in this case, the possibility of a functioning political realm. I am less worried than those things than about how a government in the hands of a particular religion affects that religion, and the energy of the religion itself. As soon as the state starts telling us things about religion or enforcing values that are said to be religious ones, the vitality of the religion in question takes a huge, huge hit. This is a historical lesson demonstrated repeatedly over centuries and across cultures. This effect explains why a “Jewish” state can house one of the most secular societies in the world.

But despite what I suspect are differing concerns, I loved that you expressed this value, one of my most important ones: that religions espouse particular values with which governments should not get involved. I’ll take a moment to be professorial: Adam Smith said exactly this in The Wealth of Nations (1776). Once upon a time, a lot of U.S. conservatives agreed with this position, as well. I think some still do.

Finally, you said that the Constitution needs to be changed and guns and ammunition should become absolutely illegal. I could have kissed you. All of my family are hunters and gun enthusiasts and I respect their love of these most interesting machines. I enjoy or at least have no aversion to eating most of the things they shoot as long as the shot is taken out of the ducks. I understand that hunting is a culture. I grew up with guns in the house and all around me and was taught to shoot a rifle, kill a deer, field dress it and carry it home. I did it once to demonstrate that I could. I’m sure my brother will make my nieces learn how. My sister-in-law hunts. I think I could still clean and load a rifle, but I’m not sure I could aim well enough to hurt anyone, and in fact, I’d rather die than do that. Yes, you heard me right.

I would love to think people could be responsible gun owners, and I think they were in the 1970s, but I don’t experience that much anymore. For me the potential benefits of guns are outweighed by the negatives I’ve seen all around me for years. I have lived in Germany where there is a high level of gun control. I’m delighted to go on public transportation there and not be tense about what people have on under their jackets. This is the third campus I’ve worked at where I’ve been in lock-down one or more times because someone showed up on the campus with a weapon to try to kill someone else and/or himself. And I would be delighted never again to hear the news of another Newtown, CT, or something much more common and banal — never to read another newspaper article about a four-year-old who killed himself or another sibling because responsible people left a loaded gun where he could get at it.

I loved you for saying this, because it’s something that Americans really disagree about at the moment, but also because it really is a matter of social safety and freedom — that the freedom to have a gun not be more important than the freedom to a live a life free of violence. You confirmed what you’d said some time ago about being a pacifist. You underlined my opinion you of as a caring person who worries about the lives of the people around him, even those he doesn’t know. I also loved that you’re aware of the contradictions of working in an industry that glorifies violence (even if I think your causality is faulty) and that you realize the tendency to violence in all of us — in you when you shoot a gun for a tv show, in your nephew when he’s playing with a sword. Your comments made me think, not that you’re naive about guns, but rather that you’ve thought about it a fair amount and that you know that the attempts in the U.S. to determine a level of gun or ammunition that’s okay have ended in failure, and logically always will, until we are able to take them off the table for everyone.

I don’t think your publicist was sleeping, or, for that matter that you were drunk — or that anyone who says that much with that much relative cohesion is inebriated. Even so, in vino veritas. Always speak your truth, Mr. Armitage, whenever you feel you can. Even if it doesn’t confirm my political opinions. Especially if it doesn’t confirm my political opinions. I like to be surprised and entertained by you. And in this case I was surprised by your bravery. You teach me something every time.

So keep up the good work. Every time you speak the truth without apology, it makes it easier for me to do the same.

As always,

Servetus

~ by Servetus on November 18, 2013.

61 Responses to “I’m with you, Richard Armitage”

  1. Well said.

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  3. This is fantastic and extremely thought provoking. I think that I will need to reflect on this many times in the days ahead.

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  4. This.

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  5. Totally singling something out – just because it resonated with me: I wish noone had to be called “brave” for stating a politial opinion publicly.
    Other than that: Yes.

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    • Yes. Very good — you picked up on a subtext of this for me, which is that free speech is guaranteed not only by laws, but by our exercise of it. If we stop speaking freely eventually we will lose the capacity to do so.

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    • Yes !

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    • Absolutely! This has bothered me since the interview came out. Especially those who said, he shouldn’t talk politics so to not harm his career. Wtf?

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  6. Reblogged this on Swooning Maruca and commented:
    Servetus at me + richard armitage ALWAYS knows exactly what to say….I add my voice to hers with regards to Richard’s “controversial” comments in the New York Moves interview….

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  7. I love this post, and am so glad to read your thorough analysis of RA’s opinions in this latest interview,which I found to be a breath of fresh air. It just confirms that he’s a guy with a good heart who is concerned about others. I wish he would act in roles that were not so violent. I’m now watching Strike Back: Origins for the first time on Cinemax, and I’m having a hard time with the level of violence. Only Richard Armitage could keep me watching this show. Even The Hobbit was too violent for me. I will see the second and third films, for Thorin.

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    • A lot of his fans did at the premiere too, if you weren’t around for that. The blurb on Richard Armitage Online said: beware, this is very violent.

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  8. Dear Servetus,
    That was a pleasure to read!
    Thank you!

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  9. Well said and I agree isn’t it a shame one has to be called “brave” to simply speak what one feels.

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    • Is it brave to “defend” opinions shared by almost all of your co-workers and community?

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      • The audience for the interview was not his coworkers. It was people who are interested in his career and in learning about who’s up and coming in NYC. I think a) it is always brave to defend what one believes when one knows there are good reasons / incentives not to do so and b) if he knew anything about his fan base he would have known that significant pieces of it were disinclined to agree with the positions he espoused. The “smart” thing to do would have been to talk about other things in the interview. So yes, I believe it was brave.

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  10. What an awesome & thoughtful piece. And great supportive comments too. Everyone’s entitled to their opinions & I’m with other who’ve said (better than I ever could) how refreshing it was to read an interview that contained some insight into the man & what he thinks about different topics other than the particular picture or show he’s promoting. I can take or leave what he says–as I do with everyone else and no doubt they do with me. What’s the saying? “Opinions are like a***holes. Everybody’s got one.” (Apologies for cozying right up to salty language.) Or how about “I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend your right to say it.”

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    • I think the point is that when people have free speech, it’s also the listener’s responsibility to decide how to react — if your initial reaction is to be wounded, you can decide to go with that or not. That reaction is totally legitimate — I just wish people wouldn’t place the responsibility for their emotions on others. I need to own what I feel.

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  11. Vielen, vielen Dank Servetus, for writing this letter! Love it!! This straightens out a couple of things for me, as I’ve simply been irritated and speechless about some weird discussions that were going on over the last days. Being a European/German I totally missed the point, why any of RA’s statements would cause and justify this myriad of controversial reactions. Why on earth is there a need to repeatedly proclaim that everybody has the right of free speech (in the US), and as a matter of fact exactly that in the end states THE problem? I really appreciate your more elaborate opinion, and I’m excited RA felt comfortable enough during this interview to admit to his feelings, ideas and very thoughts.

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  12. Good piece, well thought about. It would be a very boring world if we all thought the same. I also don’t feel that I can voice opinions well as I don’t like conflict, so I keep them to myself and well Mr. 70.

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    • people pleaser? 🙂

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      • I don’t know if I am a people pleaser , but I think sometimes with Mr. 70’s family they would try to throw me out of my own house if I opened my mouth. I for the most don’t share the same closed minded views as they do. I am not left or right, just opened minded.

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  13. another winner servetus!

    I have to laugh when people get their panties in a twist over these political opinions which are pretty low-key after all. I mean, whatever…. I happen to agree with Mr Armitage on both guns and universal healthcare. My husband and I don’t agree with each other on these issues however, and it doesn’t mean I love him any less. 🙂 Kudos to Mr. A. for having the balls to state his opinions.

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    • yeah, he’s not all that far left. He seems too inherently placid (his word) to really love the harsh side of political controversy (as much as the aspect of debate). I thought the contrast between New Yorkers and Londoners in terms of demeanor was interesting although I can’t say anything to confirm or deny it.

      And yeah, some of us love those of opposing political views in our lives anyway or because. I think that the relationship makes a difference, too — we potentially accept more dissent from people we have other ties to?

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  14. I enjoyed this very much as it articulated a lot of the things I’ve been thinking about. I have been at a bit of a loss of late in that it seems like the discourse in every avenue of my life has become polarized to the point that I’m becoming more and more hesitant to say anything anywhere, yet there are things that need to be said – things that *I* need to say. Nolite timere Obscura!

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    • I don’t always realize what the things I need to say vs the ones I can be quiet on are, frankly. I usually get to this point where a conversation where I am trying hard to be as detached from my emotions and reasonable as possible starts to eat away at me inside — then I realize that my actual opinion has be come more important to me than I realize, and I need to stop looking for consensus and start saying what’s important to me. This has happened to me a few times in the last few years — and usually it’s when I realize that the silence with which I am actually lying is harmful to people around me or people I care about.

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  15. I’m with you, Obscura. It seems to me that in the past 20 years or so public debate has been gagged in the most insidious way — not by our being explicitly denied freedom of speech, but by a certain, I don’t know, cultural commentariat making us feel stupid or uncool if we express opinions that vary from whatever is deemed fashionable. In Australia there has been a gradual process of dampening down debate about all kinds of things, such as tax reform that might harm the “rights” of the rich to minimise their tax and hide their money offshore, or the Aust govt letting in hordes of immigrants on dodgy visas while demonising asylum seekers.
    It can be hard to speak out in the face of such insidious opposition. But we can’t afford to be hesitant, and I am glad RA does not gag himself.

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  16. The world would be a dull place indeed if we all agreed with one another. I have a difference of opinion. To disagree with Serv can be scary. Few can match her rigorous research and agile intellect. Certainly not I. If I were to hang out with her and Pesky, I would be Testy. Walking a dog on crutches (me, not the dog) will do that to you. So here it goes. I don’t understand what was brave about Richard voicing his political opinions in a New York regional magazine with a “progressive vibe” to a reporter with a like mind, in a profession that is dominated by people with similar views they voice publicly. What was he risking? A boycott of his work for his radicalism? He is hardly Jane Fonda and this is not North Korea. “brave – ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage: a brave soldier”-Oxford Dictionary.Sort of an ironic definition. I know the internet has a long reach,but outside of the fandom, who knows about this and who cares? Are there so many of us that the few who might be disenchanted make a difference at the box office? I enjoyed seeing a different side of him that was new,but it was mainstream for his milieu. It would have been shocking if he said he joined the NRA. That would have been brave because he would be reviled by most of his peers. Anyway, I want to acknowledge Serv’s courage in sharing her honest thoughts so eloquently on so many topics (even the painful and personal ones). I am definitely not that brave.

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    • Ask Obscura, she’s seen the person who writes Servetus — I’m harmless, Pesky’s the real bulldog. He goes up to people with swastika tattoos and hassles them about them. Since most people who have Nazi tattoos where I live are former prison inmates, that takes a lot of guts …

      This is why I think it’s brave: he’s never spoken about politics at any length. He knows he has a fanbase — an incredibly loyal one that tracks his every move on the internet, well enough as he jokes to be able to use his fan sites to find out where he’s supposed to be — and he knows that it is a relatively culturally conservative one. His first fans came to him from a BBC costume drama, and in his biggest roles he played a government spy and a soldier. He hasn’t exactly distinguished himself via radical political opinions or roles in which the political aspect of the piece was likely to be disturbing to right, center-right, center, or center fans. And in his personal statements he’s practically always limited himself to saying things that we all agree on — feed the hungry, house the homeless, treat others as you wish to be treated.

      The first time he gave an interview where he was this candid about a topic that had this much potential controversy was when he spoke about his youthful romantic experiences. I did not witness that, but there were enough angry people such that he issued an immediate apology and explanation. The second time he said something (we’re still not sure what, exactly, because the quotation in the newspaper article was confusingly embedded) like this was in 2009 when he was, or appeared to be, talking about crazy fans. Some fans were so angry that they wrote his agent about it. He issued an apology immediately and again in a quickly subsequent newspaper article.

      So he knows his fans are watching, and that they are likely to have certain reactions to controversial topics, and he has always stuck to emphasizing universal themes except in those two cases. Since 2009 he’s said very little that was predictable to be controversial. Some people have even accused him of listening too closely to / pandering to Hobbit fanboyz in his remarks.

      And now he says this about the US. Is it brave in the context of the entire US? No, of course not. Most New Yorkers in the entertainment industry probably agree with him. But what seems to me to have changed is that he’s willing to think of that audience as his context — all of the potential people who could read this article in NYC and elsewhere and learn of his political views — rather than thinking primarily of our potential reaction. In other words — he’s either taken another step away from his previous worries about what his fans and biggest supporters might think, or another one towards letting people — not just us, but anyone in his audience, see something of his real self. We don’t get all that much of that from him. So I think it’s new, and that the decision must have cost him a little thought — even if it developed slowly over time.

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      • Pesky sounds bad ass. However, Testy can clear a room of white supremacists with just a bad attitude. Thanks for the clarification. I had the impression that most of his fans shared his views and would be supportive of his political “coming out”. I didn’t see a lot of criticism of his views but perhaps I wasn’t looking in the right hedgerow. Between taking a step away from his worries about alienating fans or exposing a bit of his real self, I choose exposure, the more the better, with tongues.

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        • I’m sure that probably in countries where the center is further left than in the U.S., most of his fans probably are in agreement. What he said is clearly left of center in the U.S. at the moment. Of the U.S. fans whose opinions I know because they told me or am in a position to guess because they’ve told me something about their politics, they are probably equally split into agreeing or disagreeing with him. Tumblr was the public place to look for people who strongly disagreed with him, where the reaction broke out immediately. There was also a strong core of folks who were glad that he didn’t speak about politics and that’s been the case for at least a few years — Frenz wrote about that at least once. And lately the argument has been that it’s not in his interest in terms of public perception to have explicit political opinions and that any wise publicist would prevent him from expressing such. I read that a few times yesterday. (I honestly don’t think that’s the case — he didn’t say anything that’s going to prevent him being hired.)

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          • That is more or less what I was trying to say at Perry’s. Probably ill worded.
            Excellent post and comments. I still think that there is a PR strategy component, aimed at broadening his appeal in a “left” (in an American way) industry: let’s never forget whom he’s working for. That’s what I was getting at.

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            • I tend to think this was a career move to be accepted by the American entertainment industry. It’s been rumoured for years that you don’t work in Hollywood unless you have a liberal ideology. And if that’s the case, it’s a huge disappointment. Not the ideology because that was a given — but the part about wanting to be accepted by Hollywood. Yuck! Hope I’m wrong.

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              • While I agree that the industry tends liberal, if that were true, that you don’t get work without being liberal, there’d be no work for Mel Gibson, Clint Eastwood, Vince Vaughn, Chuck Norris, Kelsey Grammer, Sylvester Stallone, DAvid Lynch, Drew Carey, Jim Caviezel, the list goes on and on. There are plenty of “out” conservatives and closeted ones in Hollywood.

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                • Why would there be closeted conservatives in Hollywood? Are their closeted liberals in Hollywood? I think it is an issue and it’s not a good thing that people are considered based on their political views rather than their talent — whether they are liberal or conservative or something else. The country’s become so polarized it’s almost impossible to have these conversations without name calling, ridiculing, etc. And that comes from all directions.

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                  • While LA is a place where it’s okay to be liberal, there are no doubt closeted liberals in Hollywood, too — people who don’t find their political affiliations germane to what people should know about them. (In the case of someone like Chuck Norris, I believe that he is genuinely conservative, but I also think that aids him in the kind of work that he tends to do / get.) In politics as in anything, I think that people or admit what is in aid of getting work and hide what is not. I don’t know that that’s peculiar to Hollywood. I can imagine that certain political opinions aid you in getting certain kinds of work, if they are known, because propsective audiences identify with those opinions (Clint Eastwood is another example). No doubt Susan Sarandon’s political opinions made her sympathetic for her role in Dead Man Walking, too. But that’s not unique to the entertainment industry and it’s not necessarily cut and dried (liberals work, conservatives don’t isn’t IMO an accurate description of what’s happening).

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            • This is the deal: if you decide that nothing is ever real, then nothing will convince you. You’re never going to get the “proof” you’re looking for because in fact no proof can satisfy you. But that’s your (and my) decision — what to believe is real and what isn’t.

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  17. Living in an European country, his views are indeed quite in the middle. I do wonder what UK voters really think of their coalition, the UK doesn’t have a strong tradition when it comes to coalition governments, unlike many of its mainland neighbours.

    Also political beliefs can always change, negative traits are a bit harder to modify. If there was a shimmer of douchey behaviour coming through though, in all these years, then this would have been a very different discussion indeed.

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    • The news reports I read are troubling — reactions to the “bedroom tax” and the reduction of entitlements that have increased the draw on UK food banks by a factor of three. So if I’m reading news about it, some people must be bothered by government policy. I’m sure not everyone. I don’t read about British public opinion as much as I do about British politics.

      This is a nice distinction between negative traits and political convictions — I think you’re right that we tend to be focused on the positive traits (and don’t see the negative ones, whatever they are, a temper, if his self-reporting is accurate).

      I think a litmus test for me could be if he joined the NRA. I would want to know why, but it’s hard for me to think of a good reason to do something like that. But I can think of fairly similar things that probably wouldn’t bug me — if I discovered he was a donor to the GOP (then again my own parents were). I can take a lot of conservatism, actually, probably more than the average US leftie. Like I said, Pesky’s the bulldog.

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      • I do know lots of people are dissatisfied with the coalition, especially those who voted for the Lib-Dems. And from what I can gather, most are annoyed by the wishy washy policies, which is not surprising as it quite common in coalition governments. As I’ve only known coalition governments, I’m aware it’s more a case of pragmatism than what each party wants. Let’s just say I’m used to not expect a lot. 😉

        And his negative traits are present, I have no doubt he has a temper. The difference is, as we know so far, he doesn’t aim the temper at someone else, like assaulting some bystander à la Justin Bieber or Naomi Campbell. From what I can tell, if he’s in a bad mood, he’d rather be left alone, which would also explain why he’d sequester himself a bit more when he was playing Thorin or Guy. They weren’t exactly the most chippy characters ever. As of yet, most signs point to a basically decent person, who was raised to do the right things, or at least try, and do the best he can.

        If however some report came out that Richard attacked someone for no apparent reason, then yes, I’d have to rethink my opinion.

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    • The other thing, too: there are plenty of celebs who have the “right” political opinions for me. But i don’t like them because of their negative traits. Sean Penn would be a good example. I’m probably on board politically with about 80% of what he says politically, and I think he is a talented actor. But violent attacks on photographers, and a charge of felony domestic assault? I can’t really go there.

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  18. I’m with you and Richie .
    (BTW, I wonder how he is when drunk?)

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  19. Well, having been described, erroneously, as left of Mao, I find his comments to be very centrist. Nevertheless, I agree with Servetus that what he did was brave. Even though Austin is a fairly liberal place compared with the rest of Texas, opinions such as he expressed would also engender stupid epithets like the above. Since his fandom (in the US) is not isolated to the northeastern seaboard, his comments could potentially alienate a fairly large swathe of people. George Clooney, for example, is subject to some terribly wrathful commentary from the more rabidly right-wing sector in Texas.

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    • agree re: TX.

      Something that always surprises me about this whole thing is people’s desire “not to know.” Which, to me, seems in a way like lying. There’s a weird dynamic there — I can only be your fan if your political opinions square with mine, but I suspect they don’t, so just don’t tell me. (Reminds me of Molière, on some level.)

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  20. No, as far as I know you can work in Hollywood with or without a liberal leaning. Clint Eastwood has no problem and neither do most other conservatives. When it comes to acting few care what you are. Now if they don’t “like” you that may be different but hey Mel is working. Chuck Norris, well Chuck went pretty weird last election. According to him and his wife the world was going to end if Obama was elected but I’d bet that Chuck could still easily find work if he wanted. So I don’t see any problem here for Richard. His remarks were too mild really to have that kind of effect anyway.

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  21. […] love everything associated with Richard Armitage. No minimum requirement involved! I don’t, as I said recently. And I suppose you can be a fan and spend a lot of time tearing your crush down. Still, I wonder […]

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  22. I’m curious:

    Does RA use Britain’s National Healthcare institutions and doctors? If his father needed a life-saving drug not available from the NHI, would Mr. Armitage stand on principle or fly him to the US? If his nephew, Abe, had a rare form of cancer, would he be sent to St. Judes or Houston Medical Center, or be admitted to an NHI facility heated by the incinerated bodies of aborted babies? Moving on….

    I assume Mr. Armitage employs bodyguards, particularly at premieres and other promotional events, who are undoubtedly armed. So, it’s okay for him to be protected by the 2nd Amendment, but the rest of us should be defenseless? There’s a word for that, you know, and it’s not a very nice one.

    Btw, how’s that Obamacare working out for ya? I noticed that you complained vehemently about those mean ol’ Republicans trying to delay its implementation, but not a peep about those decreed by your Messiah as it imploded around him. There’s a word for that, too, and it’s not any nicer.

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  23. […] ago those of us in sympathy with Richard Armitage’s political opinions were asked to consider how we’d feel if Armitage espoused the opposite political opinion to […]

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  24. […] informed to speak on the topic. (This reaction mirrors the situation in Fall 2013, when Armitage spoke out on the political situation in the United States after he had lived here for about….) So one line seems to be drawn around what one can say in terms of one’s expertise, and […]

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  25. […] him astray, something she denied on Twitter, after which she protected her tweets for a while. I happened to agree politically with the mood of much of what he said (if not the details), but the crucial issue for me was really that he spoke out and said what he thought. At the time I […]

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  26. […] for us. Some commentators are generally averse to Armitage making political statements, and others (like me) are more positive about it. Armitage said almost nothing political until 2013; it was so […]

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  27. […] his political opinions; indeed, I am often pleased, as I know how difficult it can be to speak, and they have sometimes left me feeling very akin to him. On a basic level, he has as much right as anyone else, and he’s always the most powerful […]

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  28. […] (Full disclosure: I come from a hunting family and I have said how I feel about U.S. firearm laws.) […]

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