Let your words be anything but empty

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From January correspondence with Otherfan:

This fandom is weirdly conservative – from the vanilla fic to the obsessive policing of correct behavior […]. And I’ve never seen another fandom that wants (needs?) the object of its adoration to be such a blank slate.

I’d love to read a rational discussion of [that issue], but I’m not sure such a thing is possible in an open forum. Inevitably someone will take personal offense at this line of inquiry and the Umpteenth War of Passive Aggression will commence in the blogosphere, or else someone will misinterpret it […] and the comments will devolve accordingly. One of the things that has cooled my interest in the RA fandom is how many interesting but potentially challenging discussions are shut down with some variation on “I don’t care if he’s X or Y, he’s beautiful and a great actor. The End.” Infuriating.

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Screen shot 2014-01-29 at 5.09.47 PM***

Theme of the year was no more shame, no more guilt. The shadow doesn’t win this year. Someone I know said creativity comes from openheartedness. I’m sick of silence.

~ by Servetus on January 30, 2014.

58 Responses to “Let your words be anything but empty”

  1. I agree that you aren’t likely to get that open a discussion. I can do it easily but from what I’ve seen here it isn’t possible to have such a discussion without someone or many someones taking offense. It is a shame really.

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  2. Other fan seems to always hit the nail on the head. I look forward to reading what you have to say Servetus.

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  3. I feel like it’s a really unfortunate commentary on contemporary discourse (I don’t think this phenomenon is wholly confined to the Armitage fandom) that the prevalence of the notion that “If I’m right, you *must* be wrong” shuts down the possibility of rational, reasonable discourse for so many. I often get the feeling that there are some who are actively seeking to be offended or outraged. I’ve come to expect this in my real life…it’s really a drag to see it becoming so much more common here…I’m running out of places to escape from it!

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    • particularly when you’re largely discussing a huge hypothetical.

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      • Yes…the divide between what we *know* versus what we think or feel is enormous. I suppose it follows that the level of emotional attachment (which people might actually not be fully aware in themselves) to one topic or another is also a major contributor to disconnect…

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  4. Okay, I admit I’m not sure exactly what this is referring to–but my purpose in being a member of Richard’s fandom is to have fun and pay homage to the talent of a man I admire tremendously. If I see comments I don’t care for, I ignore them–but I will say I’ve never once thought of him as a blank slate, and I don’t see him that way at all.

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    • I think the problem, frankly, is that he’s not a blank slate to any of us *in our minds*. We see him, read about him, and populate him with characteristics based on how we process the information we find. But some people can’t live with the way that other people color in the Richard Armitage picture, and the rhetorical response to that is to say not just, here’s some differing evidence, how do you understand it? or even I don’t care, but to insist that no one should care or, to some extent, even dare to speak about it. As long as you stay within relatively uncontroversial lines (“Richard Armitage is beautiful,” “Richard Armitage is talented,” “Richard Armitage is a good person,” and so on) you’re safe. But that picture is basically empty, innocuous and more or less pablum. It’s not a picture of a real person. I can’t imagine Otherfan will step in here — she’s doesn’t see the risk of being disciplined for her opinion as attractive, part of the reason she stopped commenting here — but I’m guessing that’s what she means.

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      • Thank you for explaining as I too didn’t understand the blank slate remark. I am not really convinced that what you’re describing is unique to this fandom. I have to deal with communication and conflicts in RL on a regular basis. In my experience there are very many people who just cannot cope with being criticised, who always want to be right and whose emotions are running high, preventing them from focussing on facts or hypotheses.
        All these are major problems in ‘face-to-face’ discussions. Discussions in the fandom do happen almost 100% on social media and across different cultures. they are thus at least 100% more difficult.
        That doesn’t mean we should not express our controversial opinions but the reactions you’ve described will be inevitable…

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        • While I agree that disagreement is part of life, I disagree that social media are much like real life in this regard; I’m usually easily able to resolve the types of disagreements in real life that persist indefinitely and take on lives of their own in my virtual life. indeed, I think that’s part of the problem. Our social media experiences are radically decontextualized, so that we (a) talk to people on social media we wouldn’t speak to in real life, thus putting ourselves in a situation to experience more conflict, and (b) perhaps in relationship to that state of affairs, experience or develop disincentives to the development of empathy when someone disagrees with us. What I experience on social media in particular is the strong belief on the part of some parties that it’s perfectly fine to insist on the shut down of certain conversations. That doesn’t happen just in this fandom, of course, it happens all over twitter (for instance), but I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that, and certainlly not at this level, in my real life.

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          • I wrote my previous comment in a hurry this morning (before leaving for work). Perhaps I should have expanded on the topic of “communication on social media”. I agree with your analysis of twitter etc. I have noticed that conflicts arise more easily and seem to be more intense than in RL. The potential reasons you give are plausible to me. In my opinion the fact that virtual communication lack the very important “non-verbal” element of face-to-face communication plays an important part too. The first time I noticed this was years ago when the mails I received from our customers shifted from “land mail” to emails. I was amazed by some of the emails – unfiltered anger, verbal abuse (not to mention typos, bad grammar etc.). This sort of transferred to twitter/facebook and highly likely the chat “thingies” which have become increasingly popular. I think those of us who use social media mainly for “fandom purposes” make similar experiences but as I said they are not confined to the fandom.
            I am fascinated by how communication works. It’s a very complex subject. Of course that doesn’t mean I accept intolerance, verbal abuse or people telling me what I may say and what I mustn’t say. After all I am a responsible adult or so I hope.
            “Freedom of speech” is of course another interesting topic which is very much influenced by cultural differences (as you of course know). I won’t hijack this discussion and I am just taking a short break from work to write this – I’d better continue working now 🙂

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      • Richard Armitage being a blank slate, to a degree that is uncommon for celebs of his fame is something that has always bothered me. On the other hand the question who he really is, is what kept me interested. I see the appeal of the blank slate and why fans defend it, it allows to project on him whatever they want with no distractions, let alone dealbreakers. It has always been lurked the back of my mind that there might be the big dealbreaker after all and I never enjoyed fooling myself about that. To date I haven’t found that, it is just that my picture of him became a little more rounded and makes more sense.

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        • I don’t think he’s as blank a slate as many fans seem to want him to be. Sudden celebrity can be disconcerting to anyone, but the notion that he is or ever was a bashful innocent seems incompatible with reality. As a very young man he chose to make his way as a performer. That is not a conventional lifestyle choice. As an adult he is successful in a highly competitive industry. All this points to someone who is much more ambitious, much less naive, and very probably much less virtuous than the Armitage who seems to inhabit the popular imagination.

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  5. Great song, again. 🙂 And Other Fan is right on. I don’t care about a great many things others in the fandom do but they still have a right to talk about them.

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  6. Not having been a fangirl for any other person prior to RA, I can’t judge the blank slate topic in relation to other fandoms. but I know there is plenty of fanfic out there that is not vanilla. Is there less erotic RA fiction than other fangirl “objects”? I have no idea. Maybe someone could quantify it. As for the comment regarding RA fandom as wanting or needing him to be a blank slate: we know very little about him personally because he doesn’t reveal much. He chooses to present himself as a blank slate; take it or leave it.
    So we try to fill in the blanks as best we can, and we fill them in differently. In my opinion, the only way we (the fans) can create a RA blank slate is by suppressing or ignoring information we don’t like, then wiping the slate clean and pretending it’s always been blank. I wish Otherfan was still publicly commenting, she raised interesting topics.

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    • Way less erotic RA fic, most of it is behind a password, and concerns only his characters. Very very little RPF and many of the typical fanfic genres of RPF are represented only singly or not at all (e.g., there’s no mpreg, which is a curious problem).

      I actually disagree that he presents himself as a blank slate. We know a lot about him and he has said a lot about himself over the years, though less now than (say) six years ago. But that’s not the problem — who he is or isn’t — that I am talking about. I am talking about the insistence any time someone populates his persona with a quality that might preclude some other quality not on discussing the quality, but on ending discussion.

      That’s happened to me a lot here, as a writer. I start a topic, and just get worn out by the objections by commentators that the topic may even be discussed. One of my resolutions for this year, inspired by Otherfan, who was a sort of onlooker to one of these discussions and that is the source of her frustration, is to go back and pick up the missing threads and finish what I was saying. I’m starting to get disgusted with the way this dynamic affects me and I want to change it.

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      • Thanks for clarifying the difference between RA fanfic and others. Could the dearth of RPF and other genres be because RA is not famous enough (yet)? Whenever I venture to mention his name and recommend his work, no one knows who he is. I am trying to reconcile the lack of erotic fanfic with the fandom who would presumably read it. Does it mean we have vanilla proclivities? BTW, I can see the post now, titled “I’ll take vanilla.” Would this type of topic shut down dialog and put some commentators into APM? I remember RPF was off limits to some, as well as gender issues and politics. As to going back and picking up the missing threads to finish what you were saying, go for it. Can’t readers agree to disagree without forbidding the topic to be discussed? It doesn’t seem too much to ask. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to read it. But you might cut yourself some slack on getting disgusted with the way the dynamic affects you. Arguments, even virtual ones. can be draining. Your blog is not a conflict-free zone and unless you stick to posts about eyelashes and thighs, controversies will arise. Perhaps how we respond to your words say as much about us as they do about you. Does tolerance only extend to those who agree with us?

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        • Well, I’ve tried to define the limits of tolerance in my comments policy — or rather, the limits of tolerance for comments here. Say what you like wherever you like, but you don’t get to say, here, for example, that this topic is overintellectual or illegitimate as a topic. That’s part of what OtherFan is talking about. It happened again in the last two days; I was told in my own comments to “get over it” and then excoriated for refusing to publish that comment and telling the person to stop it, or I would publish it and everyone would see her behavior. Which I maybe should have done anyway. My point is that toleration is for people who agree that conversational divergence should be tolerated, and that we can’t extend to toleration to people who won’t extend it to us. There has to be a line in practical discourse, which may be different than it is in other places (we allow anarchists to vote, for instance). In other words, toleration is also a contextual matter. Every community makes rules.

          I have never bought the notion that because a post is controversial, it’s acceptable for people to be cruel to each other. In other words, I disagree that writing about things that controversial should harvest opprobrium on the level of personal attacks in my own comments (or that if it does, I should have to publish them). Theoretically we could all talk about a controversial topic without blowing up at each other. I do this in the classroom all the time.

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  7. Interesting topic of Otherfan & you, Servetus. I’m glad someone is bringing this facet up. Isn’t a human only interesting due to his/her strengths and weaknesses? I for one feel rather uncomfortable to only drool about someone’s beauty or skills. But that’s only me, of course. I’m quite critical I must say and since I’m following your blog, Servetus, I begin to ask myself what your posts start in me or on what I can agree or not.

    The question is why people want to keep him on a safe but much too high pedestal. Doesn’t it say much more about „them“ then about „him“? It’s also quite risky – the higher he has to climb, the farther he has to fall.

    If there is a platform where everyone can discuss topics that goes beyond „he’s so talented and beautiful“ I’m all in.

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    • This is a nice point and I feel like it’s a dynamic that was really prevalent last fall, particularly (e.g.) in the discussion that emerged over his politics. Why are the stakes so high that he *can’t* be something I don’t want him to be? That if he is, that’s the end of it, so I won’t even take the rhetorical risk that he could be? I know, identity battles, which I’ve written about. But that’s only the beginning of the answer to that question.

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  8. Just wondering right now whether this post is meant to be a discussion or a metadíscussion? I have something to say on the former, but from the comments it looks as if we are talking about a perceived inability of this particular fandom to conduct an open and objective, impersonal discourse. Which imho is not entirely correct. Despite occasional flares, there is a lot of open discourse going on. It is occasionally derailed. But it bounces back. (Well, I am – as ever – the eternal optimist…) There is space for both approaches – for the dissecting, as well as the fluffing. For APM and for ADM (Armitage Dissection Mode *haha*). The problem is that dissecting is too often perceived as “dissing”… As always, we spend too much time on concentrating on what *separates* us, than on what *unifies* us as a group…

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    • I hope it bounces back but I’m not experiencing that 🙂

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    • Since I’m home all day with a sick kid, I might as well jump in here. For me, the problem is that whenever the dissection moves toward a subject that makes the audience uncomfortable, the conversation pretty reliably gets shut down. I expect Servetus gets the more strongly worded objections off-blog, but comments that say, in essence, “I don’t care about [whatever point was raised], Armitage is beautiful/talented/good and that’s enough for me” are just as effective at ending the discussion, because the implication is that it should also be enough for me. To persist in discussing a subject after being warned off in this way is a clear violation of community norms. This may not be the intent behind such comments, but this is the effect. When I contemplate participating in the fandom in a more vigorous and public way, frustration with this is what holds me back.

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      • Wow, she lives!

        A) I AM OVERJOYED and
        B) Hope kid is better soon.

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      • I understand that and I have seen it happening. But aren’t there some blogs where this happens more and others where it doesn’t? So that it effectively becomes a question of choosing your platform? Maybe I am hanging out on the wrong blogs? Or maybe I am not confrontational enough.

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        • Oh sure, there are definitely microclimates. But on the whole, I don’t think you have to be especially confrontational to incur community disapproval. I have found other fandoms to be considerably more freewheeling.

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          • I agree and I think one effect of this is that there are blogs where controversy never occurs because the blogger decides ahead of time never to say anything that could cause a problem. Which is their choice but that kind of decision has consequences.

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          • Totally provoking controversy now: Do you think that has something to do with age?

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            • I would have said “yes” until about 3 weeks ago. Now I am uncertain.

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              • To clarify – what I meant to say was “Do you think that there is a correlation between the “freewheeling” nature of a fandom and its average age”. By that I was implying that the younger the fans’ average age, the more tolerant and less prescriptive. I take it that is not what you meant?

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  9. When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world — the world of fixed traits — success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other — the world of changing qualities — it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself.

    In one world, failure is about having a setback. Getting a bad grade. Losing a tournament. Getting fired. Getting rejected. It means you’re not smart or talented. In the other world, failure is about not growing. Not reaching for the things you value. It means you’re not fulfilling your potential.

    In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented.

    — The influential Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck on how having one of two mindsets shapes every aspect of our lives, and how to rewire that internal monologue. (via explore-blog)

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    • OK — can you explain how this relates to the discussion? Thanks.

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    • I think the people commenting, making those fan fics, need some sort of validation. That’s what , I think, the above quote means. I sometimes see the people behind the comments about Richard more than the man himself. I read quite a bit, and he’s usually forthcoming, but I don’t really know him. I do, however, know myself in relation to all this. We’re the same age, we find ourselves single at this point in our lives, and we enjoy what we do. It makes him relatable to me. He’s got faults and flaws like anyone else in life, and I really resent the ADM or this whole policing business in the fandom. In fandoms, not just this one, people confuse the world at their keyboard with the world outside. If they are wrong about something, it gets translated was something must be wrong within themselves.

      Am I making any sense? I have backspaced the hell out of this comment to get it to making sense.

      I will end with something funny. Want to know the kind of Richard Armitage fantasy I have lately? And it’s far from Regency as a person can get…we get into arguments. I wonder what things would we fight over if we really were together. Not a hot-and-spicy thing for the Armitage confessions, uh?

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      • I think I understand what you’re saying. In a way that is the premise of this blog — I interpret Armitage in light of me. And that’s what’s starting increasingly not to be okay and room needs to be made for that again.

        LOL, I have a *whole* list of those things — reasons we would never work as real life partners, and things we would fight over regularly.

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  10. […] off of Fatima’s comment about fantasies — she is fantasizing about things she and Armitage would fight […]

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  11. Hi all – so I want to give you guys a little background on my experience of fandom so you can consider the source when I comment. I have been a fan of RA since North and South and went out of my way to see whatever he appeared in. A few years ago I was working on a very emotionally draining project and found that having a shirtless Guy of Gisbourne pic on my desktop helped alleviate some of the stress (some of my colleagues got a good chuckle out of it when they saw my computer screen). At one point in my life when I was going through a particularly angry period, I used a pic of him looking badass in Strike Back as my fb profile pic. I have watched all of his shows (MI5 and North and South multiple times) and have googled to read more about him.

    I have never read fan fic (I had to google what some of these acronyms were), don’t have tumblr and am not very active on twitter and since I can’t really figure out how to navigate the one forum I joined, my experience of fan disagreements is minimal. Basically my experience of RA fandom has been just my own thing and not affected by whatever other people are saying, doing or thinking.

    Through my googling this past year, I came across this and a few other blogs. I found myself sucked into this blog, not because it was about RA (although that is how I discovered it, it’s not the thing that kept me reading all the old posts), but because I find what Servetus has to say really interesting and thought-provoking and while her writing might be inspired by being a fan of RA, it could have been inspired by anything else in the world and would still be interesting to me (because it is essentially interesting, not because it is just about RA). That is what makes her blog different from reading articles about or interviews with RA.

    I think the blank slate thing is actually WHY I personally spend so much more time googling, reading about, searching for info on RA than any other actor or person I might be interested in (about whom there is more info available). I go weak in the knees over Bradley Cooper too, but his level of exposure and apparent openness make it so I don’t need to research to learn more. There is something enigmatic about RA and the information that is readily available is all basically the same. It seems like this air of mystery is one of the reasons he has such an avid fandom – it fuels speculation on every aspect of his life and personality. Tall, dark, handsome, and mysterious are not limited to movie stars. I have certainly been driven to distraction by mysterious men I have dated. But of course that mystery is ratcheted up exponentially by the fact that he *is* a famous actor and none of us has any way to really know him. (This gets back to my interest in the fact that we see him but he doesn’t see us).

    I think the point about shutting down discourse is interesting on a universal level because I feel like it has to do with how we construct power. Up until finding your blog I never commented on blogs or news sites and rarely read comments on stories. (I used to love Gawker because they had a good system for promoting the most clever comments but they got rid of the system and now it is just like all the other sites with mostly useless comments). People comment on websites because they want to be heard and I think by feeling like they are being heard they feel empowered. But who is really listening and what does the commenter expect to get from the author of the post or the other commenters? It’s not like if I write a fantastic comment on Gawker they are going to give me a job writing for their site. I have had experiences on the facebook page for my dog rescue where we have had crazies make abusive comments that we had to delete – totally different situation of course but also related to power in that I have the power to control what goes on my public page and their negative comments could have the power to harm my work and reputation if they were to be believed.

    I find Servetus writing and the comments to be interesting and thought-provoking and it inspires me to join the conversation. What I get out of it is some mental stimulation and an excuse not to do the work I am supposed to be doing. But if Servetus or another commenter wanted to shut me down for whatever reason, I wouldn’t suffer any measurable damage (it’s not like I’m making a living by being an RA fan or the Stasi is going to show up at my door). Consider the source – that I have basically no experience with comments wars amongst RA fans (although I have seen comment wars on Gawker and other sites) – when I genuinely wonder a) why people even get into comment wars, b) why comment wars would make anyone feel that they can’t say something they want to say, c) what power is it that enables one person to police what another says online (when that person is not the writer’s editor or publisher)?

    I think Otherfan brings up an interesting point and I wonder how it is even possible for equals to police what other people say online. Why give someone else who has no real world power over me the power to determine what I talk about online? That doesn’t mean anyone will ever listen, but I can say whatever I want. The internet has made speech so much freer and we have access to so many more opinions – the cost and barrier to entry to be heard has virtually disappeared. I am sure there are plenty of RA fans who would engage in respectful discussion with Otherfan. I hope whatever negative experiences she has had will not deter her from saying whatever she thinks in whatever forum she has available to her.

    Great song btw.

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    • This is a nice point about Gawker. I think all the research I’ve read on social media say that unmoderated comments sections are essentially headed toward being sewers. Without someone watching and enforcing community rules they become so unpleasant as to be useless. I’ve been naive in the past, I think about what people seek to obtain by commenting here; this has been in general a problem of mine that I assume that others are motivated by the same things that I am but I think that is often not true, and me not recognizing that has meant that in the past I tolerated problematic commentators so long that their effects became destructive. I’m hoping that I am starting to correct that through more self-critical behavior and more careful reading of comments.

      I think I can answer your question about why comment wars affect the capacity to speak — it’s because we have felt in Armitageworld in the past like we are in a kind of communtiy together that we are perhaps not in. I care a lot about what my friends say. I don’t care about what total strangers say. I need a third category, I suppose.

      As far as being deterred — the problem is that if the discussion gets repetitive and the same thing happens every single time, it’s just exhausting. And there are always people around to repeat that dynamic.

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      • that makes sense. I think you as a blogger with an audience are in a different position than myself or another commenter who is just participating in a more tangential way. You have a lot more variables going on (as any ‘public’ writer would). I hope that comment wars do not discourage you from speaking freely about whatever you want. Jeez, it *is* your blog after all, you should be able to say whatever the fck you want and if people don’t like it (or find it interesting, I should say), they don’t have to read your blog. I hope that you recognize that once you get to a certain level of visibility (which you have worked hard to achieve), there are always going to be people who don’t like you or what you have to say, but the reason you have an audience at all is because enough people do like what you have to say and the discourse you inspire.

        I get your point about repetitive negativity getting you down but I think that’s part of the natural cycle of things. For every frustrating interaction, there will be a new interesting person who finds your blog engaging and entertaining (ha, see what I did there, called myself interesting). But seriously, yes, you need a third category – your readers and other people who might be interested in what you have to say. Of course you care what they think, you are writing a blog that you hope people will appreciate but you have reached a point where your style is not a mystery, people will either gravitate toward it or not. Our consumption of your blog is our choice and you needn’t worry about offending people who might have one thing in common with you (being a fan of RA) but who might not understand the thrust of your blog.

        All that being said, I am guessing Otherfan is, like me, someone who reads and might comment but doesn’t publish a blog. My hope for Otherfan is that she doesn’t enable others to take power over what she feels like she can say in comments. People can’t actually police our speech with any enforceable power unless we allow them to (and by people I mean other commenters, certainly moderators can delete our comments). Don’t let the bastards get you down. Speak your mind and fight the power!

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        • I think the point is valid that the blog made some kind of “jump” that I hadn’t intended it to make, and that because of that I didn’t really notice it. I was behaving in the way I was on the assumption that I was in community with other people doing the same thing, and at some point I wasn’t any more. I think I’m more self-aware now. I don’t need to assume that anyone is my friend in the way I did (say) a year and a half ago. There are things I’ve already changed about my community behavior and more are probably coming.

          I think there is a problem when certain people take over a comment territory. That happened to me this summer here. I’ve been pleased to see how many people have come back and how many new commentators have popped in once I made an effort to limit those people’s control.

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  12. one more thing that just occurred to me after posting the interminable comment I just posted and that is that I wonder how much of this speech police thing is due to the general age range and gender of the RA fandom (as opposed to other fandoms with a larger percentage of younger women who tend to be more comfortable with being outspoken or fandoms consisting more of men who regardless of age think their opinion matters).

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    • I would have agreed with that until January 9, 2014, when I watched tumblr shred over the pictures of Armitage and Pace together.

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      • oh, I didn’t see all of that (and I wish I did because I don’t actually know what I am talking about, which is not unusual) but I think there is something about the idea that women have traditionally been taught to keep silent (vast oversimplification but you get the idea). I am tail end of Gen X and I feel like that started to change a bit in my youth but younger women ‘coming up’ seem significantly more comfortable being outspoken overall. I just wonder if fandoms who are comprised more of younger women who don’t really give a sh-t what anyone thinks about what they have to say would be as interested in policing what others are saying. Since the RA fandom is made up of mostly women 30s and older and these are also the people who generationally were more likely to be taught to keep quiet, they are more likely to police other people’s speech (or shut it down with the dismissive one liners you describe). I don’t think men have the same problem in general that women do in even feeling like they can speak. Men take for granted that they can speak – maybe not everyone or anyone will listen – but they don’t shut themselves up. Women still do. Hopefully that is changing.

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        • My guess is that tumblr’s point of heaviest gravity is probably at least fifteen years younger than the bloggers, maybe twenty. They were equally ready to police each other.

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        • the difference was, I think, that the bloggers largely stayed silent. The bloggers who are definitely older, self-censored, and tumblr got abusive.

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          • Seeing as it’s been brought up again, I’d like to ask what you think about the posting of the private pics of RA and Lee Pace. Your comments imply disapproval at the tumblr users “policing” others. So do you think it was ok for people to post the pics taken from someone’s Facebook not only without their permission but against their stated wishes? RA and Lee might be used to having their privacy invaded but what about the other adults and children in the picture taken at the dining table?

            I’m interested in your opinion on the ethics of this.

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            • Keeping in mind that this is a post about fan treatment of fans, not about ethics around photos in general:

              I thought it was sad that the way that some (not all) fans decided to express their compassion for the people pictured in the photo, which would have been legitimate IMO not just for the people we don’t know in the pictures, but for Armitage and Pace as well, was to be verbally cruel to fans who either hadn’t thought about it in the same way or disagreed with them; and that the way that some (not all fans) urged other people to stop talking about the problem was to do the tumblr equivalent of screaming. In other words, our fandom regularly uses compassion for Armitage as a moral brickbat to excuse verbally abusive behavior to other fans.

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  13. Me thinks that some fans […] identify with the object of their desire to the point that they can’t be objective. It goes into that weird political/religious world view place. If I identify myself as a Richard Armitage fan then I totally agree to a set series of values and constructs and anything that challenges that is too out of the realm for me to deal with. And because I have joined this fandom, we all must be the same, and any variation from that challenges a core belief in me that I can’t even consider that you might be different from me.

    Also the APM (Armitage Protection Mode) I can’t figure it out whether he unintentionally draws it out in fans or it is ingrained in their psyche or what it is. […]

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    • Edited slightly b/c although I know you didn’t intend it there were some ad hominem moments there (overidentifying is something I’m often accused of).

      This is something I would *really* like to know, something that I’ve discussed with OtherFan at other times, the whole extent to which there’s a particular flavor to this in Armitageworld.

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    • @Rob, so much yes my head hurts from nodding it in agreement.

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  14. @SEV OMG we know each other to the point, where you can edit me. LOL. My hubs “edits” me all the time. Oh dear me….

    Yeah, […] you over id, but you do it in a very conscious self-aware way, whereas, I think, the fans that are [upset] are not conscious or self aware of their […] identification. I hope that makes sense.

    @Jazz virtual *high* fives.

    I think everyone maybe could chill out just a bit. Have a bit more fun. Enjoy the discourse, whether you agree or disagree. Enjoy the conversation, even if it varies vastly from your world view.

    Honestly, you have pushed me out of my comfort zone more than once, and have forced me to define my stance.

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    • “Live and let live” is a great rule. I think it works best with people who do not see themselves as in community with each other. Which is possibly how I need to start thinking of myself / this blog.

      Like

  15. I agree with otherfan’s opinion. I’ve come across some things from ‘big name fans’ that were really offensive to me. I haven’t seen that kind of attitude in any of the other fandoms I’m a part of. And I think some of it is partly due to age, at least in the blogs that I’ve come across.
    There’s an almost-creepy possessiveness that RA fans have over him. Like not even in a joking sense.
    Maybe I’m biased because I tend to agree with everything you say Servetus, but for me yours is the only blog I regular check outside of tumblr. You always go deeper than the issue at hand and your intellect completely astounds me.

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    • Thanks for the kind words. There are a lot of other great blogs out there, too, though.

      It’s sort of been lost in the shroud of decaying fandom memory, but one of several reasons the blogs emerged was in response to the community rules on the forums. There were things that people wanted to discuss, and felt could be discussed, which were verboten on the forums (Armitage’s personal life was the main thing, but there were other rules as well). The forums dealt with controversy by saying ‘you can’t talk about THAT’ whereas the blogs tried to deal with it by saying, ‘you can talk about THAT as long as you’re respectful of the other speakers.’ We seem to be getting back to a place where people want to use the blogs in the way that forums used to be used, and that wasn’t what I wanted from blogging and I think it’s legitimate to say that I am not going there.

      I didn’t set out to be a BNF but it seems to have happened and I think part of what is happening here is I am struggling with my identity (which isn’t bad, but realizing that you aren’t who you think you are, or that you might be who other people think you are without realizing it and so you have to change your behavior even though you’d rather not, is a bit disorienting). I agree that the active BNF bloggers now are conservative in comparison to in the past. Which is also a change I’ve had to get used to. Someone sent me a nice tweet today about a post that she thought was hilarious — I went back and looked at it and thought, I could never write that today, it would offend too many people …

      Like

  16. […] IMO it is all about protecting our fantasies […].

    Like

  17. […] effect on me, for the reasons that Herba specifies and others that have to do with my own history in this fandom but also with my current (failing) energy level. Once I’ve finished managing dad’s […]

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