Quick reflections on APM and fan-on-fan compassion

If you’re not familiar with the term APM (Armitage Protection Mode), please check out the definitions here (RAFrenzy coined the term) and in the RADictionary, here.

I’d like to take as read our general agreement that Richard Armitage does not need anyone’s protection in any amount greater than other adults do, including that from fans against fellow fans. I’d add that even if some of us tried to protect him in some way, it would actually have no effect on those fans who did not wish to be influenced by us because our fundamental worldviews differ. It might also be worth a reflection that APM manifestations are one of the things that make us look silly — even as I support the right of any fan to look as silly as she likes. So, if APMing makes you feel good, I suppose I don’t have a good argument against it except in terms of how it affects the people around us.

I’ve always tried to write here sincerely and straightly about my perspective on Richard Armitage, but that perspective is not always in line with the mood of the blog’s friendly readers, let alone its hostile audience. I’ve thus been the object of intensive APM several times, particularly recently; sometimes in my comments and sometimes in places where I imagine the casual fan doesn’t see it. APM sometimes appears in response to jokes I make, but it tends to appear in particular when I make a personal identification that questions some tabu or cultural prejudice that we in the West relate to “goodness” in a person (for instance, two big issues I’ve broached here are my responses to Richard Armitage’s personal history of smoking and/or smoking on screen, and my responses to sources in which he mentioned that he was a slob).

It strikes me, when I look at what I want to write about next, that the potential for APM is going to increase and I want to have said something about my perspective on it. A year ago I’d have said, well, okay, if it’s going to cause dissent I won’t write about it, but I haven’t been successful at that anyway, and if I’m to grow I need to be willing to accept more APM in my life, I suppose.

Blogging for approaching four years, I realize that no matter how or what I write, it’s not going to suit some people. If I write too positively or emotionally about Richard Armitage, I’m not being critical enough, I’m “worshiping” him, or there’s something pathological about my devotion to him. If I write something long and analytical I’m taking fandom too seriously; if I write something short and funny I’m being frivolous; if I write something about his body I’m objectifying him. If I write anything neutral or negative, some readers believe I’m taking what he says too personally, misunderstanding him on purpose, not giving him the benefit of the doubt, or even trying actively to harm him.

Some of these reactions have to do with the season of fandom experienced by the fan who’s commenting; I don’t think I’ve ever been an uncritical observer of Richard Armitage, but it is clearly true that as time passes and I gain a greater knowledge of what we can see of the man, I’m more likely to make jokes that newer fans find either not funny or hurtful. One’s position as a fan also determines one’s own likelihood to take personally things Armitage says, or to laugh or not laugh at jokes that he makes. My point is not that there’s a single correct response here, but rather that our responses will differ and the main thing is to take responsibility for them as our responses and not blame them on other people.

And I’m not beyond the occasional APM move myself. My APM vulnerability is processing of information, the way that observers draw conclusions on the basis of evidence that I find flimsy. I have it in the other direction, too; I sometimes think fans draw too positive conclusions about Armitage on the basis of poor evidence, but obviously that kind of thing is less emotionally bothersome — indeed, we don’t have a name for it. I occasionally write about it as a function of tropes like “virtuous Armitage.” Just like most of the fans who APM me, I’m way more likely to intervene if I think someone is saying something unfairly negative about Armitage than I am if I think they’re saying something unfairly positive. In my case, I suspect, my personal form of APM occurs because I’m an MBTI “N” and have had to work on balancing my intuition with rationality and evidence for much of my adult life, so my automatic response to a conclusion is always to ask, what is the evidence? and when I find the evidence questionable, I always ask a question. How did your reasoning take you there? The other problem is that I teach historical argumentation for a living so my brain is hard to turn off in this regard. I’m one of those people who listens to the news and makes lists of argumentative fallacies. Another trigger for me, frankly, are issues around the vocalization of desire. But I’m trying.

In any case, probably everyone who’s ever been APMed would agree that being the object of APM definitely sucks. As a periodic succumber to APM I can also verify that doing it never makes me feel all that great, either.

I’ve talked with another fan a lot about this and other phenomena around the Armitage fandom since the 2012 Hobbit premieres, where a ton of APM was in evidence, and one of the matters that has occupied our attention repeatedly is the way that certain rhetorical moves prioritize Richard Armitage as the object of compassion while ignoring the need of other fans for same.

How this works, rhetorically —

Fan A says something. Makes a joke, let’s say, about something Armitage says.

Fan B’s identity issues are consciously or unconsciously triggered by Fan A’s remark. And Richard Armitage cannot be at fault.

In order to defend her identity, Fan B responds with an APM move, defending Armitage against Fan A’s joke and saying or implying (via hurt feelings) that Fan A should not have made the joke.

Fan A instinctively feels attacked because in fact, she is being attacked. What’s confusing about it, of course, is that the attack doesn’t look like an attack on her, it looks like a defense of Richard Armitage.

APM moves have, I think, at least the following possible interpretations for Fan A: “Fan B thinks I don’t understand what I can see plainly before my own eyes”; “Fan B thinks I am trying to harm Armitage”; “Fan B thinks I am not a good enough fan”; “Fan B is alleging that I am a bad person / not compassionate / don’t have a conscience.”

Since those statements would naturally generate an angry response in the average addressee, something we can assume Fan B knows as well, it reads like Fan B has decided that APMing is more important than laughing or ignoring a joke she doesn’t like, or making the attempt to empathize with Fan A.

Admittedly, empathy for people one doesn’t like or has started to dislike or just plain doesn’t understand is the hardest kind to develop.

The problem for Fan A is that Fan B’s statement leaves Fan A no possible response that gets the interlocutors out of the mess they’re in now. Fan A can point out that she made a joke, but Fan B has already decided that the topic is not a joking matter. Depending on her level of rhetorical sophistication, Fan A can make a joke back, but it risks looking like a joke at Fan B’s expense, which can’t help matters. Fan A can defend her position — but then she looks aggressive and mean because the attack itself was a passive one, precisely designed to have the effect of making anything Fan A does look bad. That makes it doubly hard for Fan A to develop any empathy for Fan B that’s not based on condescension (especially if Fan A is a fan of longer duration and has witnessed a few rounds of wank), which doesn’t improve matters, either. If Fan B’s charge mobilizes absolute moral terms, as often happens, Fan A’s only exit is either to agree that she lacks morals or conscience, or insist that her right to speak involves the right to challenge absolute moral terms.

In essence, the need to preserve absolute compassion for Richard Armitage (and by extension, the identity of the self defending him) comes at the expense of finding compassion or being willing to ignore what other fans are doing.

This is something my own position has changed on over the years. Even a year ago I would have said that Fan A should just put up with Fan B’s APM and laugh at it and/or ignore it; but it’s become enough of a problem here that I’ve decided I am going to have to, and thus can, live with the reputation consequences of defending my positions. Whether a reader thinks so or not — I am certainly human and make mistakes and while I try not to make them I am also entitled to make them and live with the consequences. Whether a reader thinks so or not, I have a conscience and I ponder the rightness or wrongness of what I do before doing it, as do all fans who are not sociopaths, I believe. Whether a reader thinks so or not, Richard Armitage is also an adult human and thus susceptible not only to the love and adoRAtion of fangirls but also to the laughter, criticism, and negative responses of same.

I don’t believe that there’s a way out of all of this, particularly as the Richard Armitage fandom is so often a “first strike” fandom (it’s the first time a fan has had this experience), and particularly because the influx of newer fans is so regular, so if we wanted to call APM a sort of “growing pain” of fandom, it’s going to be around forever. I’d actually rather not call APM a developmental stage, because I find that (a) condescending and (b) inaccurate — some new fans never manifest APM, for instance.

No conclusion, because I’m still thinking. But I wanted to have mused publicly on these things, because I am sure to succumb again and as they are likely to come up again here, I will have occasion to think about them again.

~ by Servetus on December 27, 2013.

27 Responses to “Quick reflections on APM and fan-on-fan compassion”

  1. Solid observations Serv. I guess sometimes fans forget that the object of their admiration is also a person, and people are irritating. Goodness knows I am! ha ha I’m not a fan of internet fights in general — although sometimes the rhetoric can get to a significant level of heat, but if the writing’s clever, I do get a kick out of the odd online scrap. 😉 But in general I try to follow the basic rule of sifting through the interesting & sieving out the noise. I dig RA — I like his work, the way he expresses himself, how he looks & carries himself. But he’s not perfect. CLOSE…but not perfect 😉

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  2. The thing I find fascinating is how often people will find one thing in one interview and stick to it like it’s Gospel, when it seems to me that he will sometimes contradict himself (particularly in grueling junkets like this one, where he’s fighting exhaustion, giving the same interview over and over, and trying to generate new and interesting soundbytes every time).

    I guess what I’m saying is “there’s no reason to rip each other’s faces off because we don’t agree”. Which means that I’m saying I agree with you. So, yeah. :}

    I think as he becomes more “real” to us (which is in itself an illusion), it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the fandom. I’ve been enjoying reading all the articles on this general topic: as Richard goes more “Hollywood”, as Richard distances himself from his fans, as there are more photos and less wait time between, as he does more and (hopefully) high quality projects, as the propaganda machine churns out relentless tidbits of his life on review for us… what will that mean to the different layers of the Army?

    Fascinating stuff. Thanks, as always, for thinking these things through so I don’t have to.

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    • yes! I’ve often thought there’s a fascinating kind of literalism at work in a lot of APM — I think I find it interesting because I collect his statements on certain topics and I try to figure out how they could fit together, and the answer is almost always something about genre of statement, context, audience — and the fact that humans are unbelievably complex even beyond our own capacity to describe ourselves.

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  3. Hmm, I’ve been pondering your post (I like to do things alliteratively) and I’m trying to figure out the difference between APM and simply calling people out on being jerks. To use an extreme and so hopefully unambiguous example, when that bloke on Duck Dynasty made homophobic statements, could he argue that the people who criticised him were engaging in Gay Protection Mode?

    Isn’t it good to challenge people when you think they’re saying something hurtful or nasty? Isn’t that how people have fought racism, sexism and all the other awful isms, by speaking up? Saying RA doesn’t need others to defend him seems to me to miss the point. I mean, Mike Tyson doesn’t need others to defend him either but if someone called him the “n” word wouldn’t it be reasonable of me to criticise them?

    One other thing I’ve never understood is the idea that other people are wholly responsible for how they react to what you say. Isn’t that illogical? The word reaction implies a response to an action. So you’re not responsible for your actions? We post in our blogs because we want others to read what we have to say. This is a basic fact. Otherwise we’d make our posts private or wouldn’t have our journals on the internet where everyone can read them. But why do we do it? What’s the difference between posting on a public blog and writing where nobody else will ever see what we’ve written? The reaction. Writing in a private journal you get no reaction. It has other benefits but you get no feedback.You put your thoughts out there and get no response.When you put your words online you know that everyone who reads them has a response. It may be indifference or a negative one but you’re not just throwing your words into the void. So if we write precisely because we know we’ll get a reaction, it’s disingenuous to criticise people for reacting, either positively or negatively.

    Finally, in your example, why is it ok for Fan A to react to Fan B’s comments but not ok for Fan B to react to Fan A’s initial comment?

    You really should have an espresso machine in your blog. This much thinkin’ needs a lotta caffeine!

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    • Welcome to the blog. Really quickly, after 3 beers with Obscura 🙂

      I don’t know how long you’ve been reading Armitage blogs, but if you haven’t been reading long, I suggest you observe for a while, and the APM phenomenon may become clearer to you. (I assume there are variants of it in other fandoms; APM is just our acronym.) If you have been reading for a while — I think that it’s clear in my mind after observing this for four years that there are distinctions.

      APM is not simple disagreement about Armitage, nor is it criticism of someone who says something impossible (“Armitage is an axe murderer! You’re wrong! — that is not APM). My most recent experience of an APM comment was for a joke I made about Armitage’s fumbling with vocabulary in the US MTV interview. The comment defended Armitage as a way of dissing me for daring to joke about him. (APM is sometimes or often a response to lese-majesté or pointing out that Armitage is not perfect in a way that bothers the fan who’s reading the comment.) The Duck Dynasty example isn’t a good one, because in fact the people who criticized Mr. Duck Dynasty were criticizing his actual expressed opinions and not his person. They were not engaging in ad hominem attack on Mr. Duck Dynasty; probably most of them had no idea who he was. There was IMO no sense in which critics of Mr. DD were hiding their personal reactions to DD behind a political statement about gays. In other words, criticizing homophobia wasn’t a cover for some other sentiment.

      Homophobia in non-trivial, and it needs to be criticized. In contrast, it’s not clear to me why anyone would criticize someone else who made a gentle joke about Armitage’s use of vocabulary unless s/he were personally offended by the possibility that anyone might laugh over the occasional stumble in an interview. Such defenses speak of feelings of personal attachment / identity that are wounded by such jokes. That kind of criticism says on the surface that it’s a statement about Armitage (he wasn’t stumbling!) but it’s really a criticism of the other fan (how dare you say that Armitage was stumbling!).

      So, one feature of APM is that it is almost always an ad hominem attack on another fan that disguises itself as a statement about Armitage (i.e., APM is different than expressing an opinion about Armitage, or one fan simply supplying another with information she doesn’t have, or two fans disagreeing about how to interpret something, or even simple trolling, all of which are easy to identify). What makes APM confusing is that it masquerades as being about something different. Re, problems with ad hominem arguments and why they are banned here, see comments policy in side bar, which takes you to a link I wrote on ad hominem. The main reason that I enforce a policy against ad hominem is that personal attacks make analysis and discussion of analysis impossible because they don’t have rational discourse at their core. They distract from the issue being discussed by focusing participants’ attention on the character of the speaker. If I write a post about Armitage’s haircut, and someone makes an APM comment about how fans who discuss Armitage’s haircut are irrational, that means analysis of the haircut goes out the window, and I spend all my time defending myself and justifying my right to speak.

      That has been a real problem on my blog in the last six months and it’s led to numerous blowouts, to the extent that I’ve been considering for some time continuing to write but simply killing the comments section of the blog. In other words, your dichotomy between writing in public as on a blog, and writing in a journal is, IMO, a false one. We write for an audience in both cases, and there are many shades of grade between totally public writing that I allow everyone to comment on with no guidelines or moderation, and completely private writing that no one but me sees. In fact, the software recognizes these possibilities via its differing moderation capacities. The reason I continue to foster a comment culture is not, in fact, my desire for reaction *as* reaction; it’s that I’m interested in meeting likeminded people who want to go on similar developmental journeys together. I don’t, in fact, write in a style that’s intentionally polemical 90% of the time; APM in that sense can be a misreading of an author’s style by a reader who can’t accept that the fact that my view of Armitage differs from hers and thus chooses offense as a reaction. Note that I don’t mind if someone’s offended by what I say; what I do mind is when their offense turns into a personal attack on me.

      It’s a matter of continuing amazement to me that some people think this blog is an attempt to harm Armitage with malice, for instance. A number of readers interpret everything I say in that vein. Most of them are blocked now because they can’t stop themselves from making personal attacks on me — or other fans who might agree — and that kind of thing eats my time in ways that are unproductive to me.

      To summarize — it’s not that it’s not okay for Fan B to reaction to Fan A’s comments, it’s that in APM, Fan B’s reaction disguises itself as a statement about Armitage but is really an assault on the integrity of Fan A for daring to make such a comment. If A jokes about B, and B says in response, your joke is insulting to Armitage, in a case of APM the issue that masquerades as the main one is “Armitage,” but the key word in that statement is “your”.

      As far as “taking responsibility for what one says” goes, I think no honest speaker has problems taking responsibility for actual statements and actions. I have done so many times. The problem comes when I am made responsible for things I didn’t say or do. As far as whether it’s okay to criticize people for reacting positively or negatively — I’m fine with people reacting negatively to things I’ve actually said. I will call people out for reacting to things I haven’t said, which is another frequent feature of APM. If I say, I have a fantasy about a slobby Richard Armitage which is nurtured by certain pictures of him and statements that he has made, that is different from me saying Richard Armitage is a slob. If I get called out for having said the second when I didn’t say that, I’m going to criticize people for poor reading skills (which in the interest of keeping the peace, I wouldn’t have done a year ago, but I will do now). In that interaction, I am not the jerk.

      Based on my history of reading responses to what happens when I write something about Armitage that can’t fit in another fan’s picture of him, to the extent that that fan needs to attack me — and you would be surprised at how “minor” these things can be — I would say that this response is out of all proportion to things I actually say (for example, a spoof post I wrote about a year and a half ago about Armitage’s beard that triggered a series of ad hominem statements about me on a Russian comment board) but the result of a perceived need to defend one’s own vision of Richard Armitage that is the result of an identity conflict of which Armitage has become the focus. It results in a situation where the reader prioritizes compassion to Armitage over compassion to another fan out of a need to support the fan identification with Armitage, i.e., it is about the fan, and not about Armitage.

      Most of the reason I posted this now is that I’m about to say some things that I can predict that people won’t like, but the response will blow out of proportion to anything I say. I intend, for instance, to continue to talk about the Armitage/Pace ship as soon as I get a few hours to myself to redact the next piece of my writing on that subject. To give an example of how APM typically works itself out in this scenario — Although Armitage demonstrably does not need anyone’s protection from fanfic authors, it is the considered opinion of many people in this fandom that he does. Consequently, I will be vilified for discussing the fact that I enjoy this particular ship and saying why. But no one will admit that what I write troubles them so much; they will instead say what they say in the name of protecting Armitage. If they admitted this was about personal enmity, that would make them look unethical. For them, rhetorically, it is better to make me look unethical for “harming” Armitage. Otherwise they would look like bullies.

      I hear filter coffee has more caffeine in it than espresso 🙂

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      • I’ve been reading RA blogs for about six years and that’s why I asked for clarification. What you call APM is something I’ve only come across in this little corner of fandom and only as a counter-attack against a critic. A Get Out Of Jail Free card. Say and do whatever you like and if anyone complains, dismiss them with “You’re engaging in APM”

        I don’t think you quite understand what is meant by an “ad hominem” argument.Strictly speaking it’s a very specific type of logical fallacy whereas you seem to think it refers to any criticism of a person. Perhaps you’ve got confused because the literal translation of the Latin is “to the man.” I would say that the people who accuse others of APM are engaging in the kind of attack which you seem to understand as ad hominem. They ignore the substance of someone’s criticism and attack the person, accusing them of being affected by APM.

        You’ve missed the point I was trying to make with the Duck Dynasty example. Put simply, anyone can say something, no matter how unreasonable, about X and when criticised, claim the critic is engaging in X Protection Mode.

        In reply to my question about taking responsibility for your comment, you said “The problem comes when I am made responsible for things I didn’t say or do.” and ” I will call people out for reacting to things I haven’t said” yet don’t you do the same thing to others when you accuse them of APM? For example, you said ” it’s not clear to me why anyone would criticize someone else who made a gentle joke about Armitage’s use of vocabulary unless s/he were personally offended by the possibility that anyone might laugh over the occasional stumble in an interview. ” You are speculating on why someone would be upset then drawing conclusions based on these speculations – ” Such defenses speak of feelings of personal attachment / identity that are wounded by such jokes.” So you accuse people of APM based not on their own words but on your assumptions.

        ” …your dichotomy between writing in public as on a blog, and writing in a journal is, IMO, a false one. We write for an audience in both cases” You’re misrepresenting what I said. I made it clear that my distinction was between writing in a public journal, such as a blog, and writing in a private one, such as a paper diary that you don’t show to anyone. By definition the latter is not written for any audience. “and there are many shades of grade between totally public writing that I allow everyone to comment on with no guidelines or moderation, and completely private writing that no one but me sees.” There is a difference in kind between public writing,
        whether for everyone to see and comment on or only one to see and no comments allowed, and completely private writing. One has an audience, the other doesn’t. They’re not on a single continuum.

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        • I’m not confused about the meaning of ad hominem is; I teach this material for a living and my definition in the linked article is pretty clear and widely agreed upon.

          If you’ve been reading Richard Armitage blogs for six years, I’m not sure entirely what you were reading. The oldest dedicated Richard Armitage blogs I am aware of (what I call the first generation, here) are just a bit over four years old. If there are blogs older than that, or were, I’d appreciate hearing information about them, even if they have now disappeared.

          Anyone can say anything of course and be criticized for it or not; at the same time, as a society or a culture or a subculture we are totally free to put rules on what we find acceptable versions of discourse. I don’t think that people who criticized Mr. DD were criticizing ad hominem (although his argumentation invited that). There may have been a classist aspect of some of that criticism, something I wonder about (“rednecks are homophobes”); I was getting that feeling in some of my RL FB feed but I couldn’t have proved it on the basis of explicit statements. As a postmodernist I agree there are only readings, not misreadings; that said, in a practical world that we observe conventionally, we do give clues as to intent when we write or speak. Intentionally understanding a joke as an attack is a poor reading, given the basic contextual clues that every high school student in the US is taught. I can note that a joke is a joke and not find it funny (what I said about Martin Freeman’s notorious joke a few days ago) without saying that the person who made the joke is an ass (something I thought, but didn’t say) or seeks subconsciously to harm people (something I didn’t think, but which some people extrapolated). Moreover, practically speaking, if we can’t use contextual and generic clues effectively, all we will do is argue.

          And no, I pretty much accuse people of ad hominem based on their words.

          And finally, of course private journals have audiences. No one writes without an audience in mind. If you didn’t need an audience there’d be no reason to write at all. The private journal audience may be much smaller — me writing for a slightly or much later version of myself, me writing to an audience of sympathetic friends I constitute in my head, me writing what I wish had said to people who were present in a certain situation, or me writing for my posterity. Those are all audiences, and they are no different from public audiences of people I do or don’t know, who also exist primarily in my imagination.

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          • Don’t you ever come to my blog again. You’re banned. I’ll be removing all of your comments too. As far as I’m concerned, you no longer exist.

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            • Wow. I was actually at the movies and just came to discover that your comment was hung up, but please. Don’t let me torture you with my presence. If you didn’t want to have a discussion I don’t know why you came here in the first place.

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  4. Interesting thoughts. I am never sure what makes the APM kick in for fellow well-wishers. We know so little about the “real” RA,which is ok, it’s none of our business, after all. He seems like a gracious, kind, humorous, well-spoken extremely handsome man. Does he need to be “protected” from anything that muddies that image? I would hope not. I hope his career is not so fragile that smoking or other “bad” habits would harm it. And conversely, aren’t there successful actors that have horrible
    reputations? Have those bad boys needed saving? Just asking, since RA is the only fandom I have ever been involved with. I have stated previously, I hope he has the opportunities he wants and we have the pleasure of seeing him in many projects to come. The more, the better. If “protecting ” him would help reach that goal, then I’m all for it. But I can’t see how it could impact his career in any way, so I am inclined towards the “why bother” point of view.

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    • it’s highly individual, I suppose, in that what someone else thinks muddies Armitage’s name is not at issue for me. I think one reason for my own reaction is that I am trying hard to be a person who integrates her own self-contradictions and can accept all parts of herself, even the less nice parts, and so I want that for the Richard Armitage that I write about here.

      I agree that fan activities don’t really protect him or harm Armitage. I mean, think of all the extreme things that fans of someone like (say) Justin Bieber do, on a level that I’ve heard of any Armitage fan behaving, and yet it doesn’t seem to hurt his career. I thought some of the things Armitage seemed to be saying in interviews (e.g., HuffPo) were interesting, in that he seemed to be saying that his fandom led him to be typecast for certain kinds of roles — but I think from his comments that also realizes that a lot of what has happened in his career since 2004 is essentially path dependent and that fans are only one piece of that.

      As far as APM goes, it may be that because so many Armitage fans are “first strike” fans (never been a fan of anything else at this level), the extent to which we see Armitage as virtuous is more important to some/many of us. “At least I admire someone who’s worth admiring,” would be the script, there. I’m not sure that’s true and I don’t like to hypothesize about developmental stages of fandom, but it seems like an idea worth floating. So if a fan says, look, here’s evidence that he isn’t perfect, that disturbs the justification for doing something irrational, i.e., maybe he isn’t “worth admiring,” and if one is at all conflicted over the amount of energy and feeling one puts into this, I can see where that could be a significant stone in the road.

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      • Another thought provoking post, serv. I need to ponder carefully before replying further.

        I can ‘t resist throwing this in, though. I met a lady two days ago who had personal acquaintance with Justin Bieber . She says he’s a total a**hole.

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        • maybe he’ll grow out of it … ? In a lot of his “escapades” I can glimpse my own sort of vaguely forgotten impulse to thumb my nose at everything when I was an adolescent. He can just do it on a huge scale.

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  5. This post, and especially your discussion of fan-on-fan compassion, really resonated for me. I experienced what feels like an extreme example of APM. A couple of weeks ago I clicked on a link entitled RA silliness (or something like that). It happened to be a photo of RA pretending to hang himself with a tie, and it also happened that my brother had hung himself just the week before. I found the image distressing and simply said that the image was not funny for me because of my recent experience. I was not blaming RA (or really anyone), I was simply recording my reaction. What stunned me was rather than receiving a compassionate response I was attacked for not finding the image funny and for (apparently) criticizing RA. It’s sad if being a fan stops you from considering another fan’s pain.

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  6. Note to self: question I’m trying to answer inter alia is, is there an Armitageworld anymore? I behaved as if there was one from March of 2010 until October of 2013, when I ceased to believe it existed.

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  7. […] see the person at meandrichard has not allowed my last comment out of moderation so I’ll post it here. This was my last […]

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  8. A post to think about for sure. I don’t think that I have ever APM and I hope I never do. One of the reasons it took me so long to even think about commenting was there would be some APM and it would scare me off. The summer of 2012 was nasty and it took a long hard think and a great post you wrote to finally get me to break the silence and comment. Since I have never met RA and don’t ever plan on it I would never want to protect him, he can do that on his own or his PR team.

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    • I’m trying to work on ways to make it less scary to comment here, but as you see it’s trial and error. I’m glad you comment.

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  9. It’s really interesting to me that raising this topic immediately generated rage. More to think about in terms of how to deal with the attendant problems of this fandom and how this blog relates to them. QED, in a way. I think I’m going to close comments on this post now. Thanks to everyone who offered an opinion.

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  10. […] Armitage incorrectly — I give in to the temptation much more often than I would like. APM is also but one kind of manifestation of this tendency. I’ve termed this sort of squabble an identity battle, because the centrality of identity was […]

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  11. […] The triangular role can be played by other fans. So, for example, a troll might say something about a controversial issue in the fandom that will making differing segments of fans fight with each other in order to enjoy the spectacle. The conflict is between the fan and the troll, but other groups of fans are drawn into the fray as rescuers. A typical axis for this is any issue that relates to Armitage’s personal life. One group of fans will disagree with the content of the troll’s statement; a second will disagree that the matter should be discussed at all; soon the fans are fighting with each other as the troll — the actual source of the conflict — watches with pleasure. This effect relies on the fact that fans almost always identify more with their individual pictures of Richard Armitage than we do with …. […]

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