Are you too weird for words?

A follow up to “Be who I need you to be, Richard Armitage

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have you ever done something silly • did you do it by accident • on purpose • because someone gave you an award • because someone urged you to • because you wanted to send a message • because a marketer told you to • because you wanted to be nice • because you have always been grateful and wanted to respond in kind • because it looked like fun • because you just couldn’t take yourself too seriously • because you’ve got a silly streak and you wanted out of the box for an hour • because you know that jokes made with literalist statements that can’t possibly be understood literally and sarcastic remarks with a straight face or a big grin are achingly funny precisely because of all the people who won’t get them • because silliness creates this sense of clandestine shared community for everyone who giggles • because you couldn’t get over the irony • did it just happen • did it feel good • was it too much • was it fun • was it exhilarating • were you sorry • were you unrepentant • did you worry you’d get a reputation • have you ever wished you’d said less • have you ever wished you’d said more • have you ever put on an act and wished you’d been genuine • have you ever been genuine and wished you’d hidden yourself • is what you do real • or is it just another performance • is it you • or is it a pitch • or even just something people want to see • a response to the desire of another that you understand and want to fulfill • is being what people want you to be part of your personality • is it a combination • do you know anymore • did you ever know • where’s the line when a big part of what you have to sell is yourself and everyone watching you thinks you’re a different person • do you still cringe when you realize that what people want to buy is you • but only the version of you that they want • a conditionality which by the way also applies to me •

so many conditions we place on each other just to live • are there too many • did you worry that people couldn’t accept you • did you leave home to find people who could • did you find the people you were looking for • once you got there did you realize you were just as weird in opposite ways • did they tell you that to make it you would have to let it out or at least channel it • did they tell you that in order to understand verisimilitude you’d have to dig for what was real • did they tell you that that verisimilitude is a dodge behind which the real ceaselessly recedes the harder you look • did they tell when you made it you could let it out • did you know that making it would mean some parts of it would never see the light • did you decide to make the compromise • or did it just creep up on you • do you care most days • is it mainly a problem on days you can’t be alone • do you live with it and decide to smile • or do you smile any way because your achievements have exceeded your expectations • because your life has gone a different direction than you’d planned •

what do you do when people demand to see the real you • do you believe they really want to know • that they understand • and show them a piece • do you conclude they have no idea and don’t want to know • if you show them a piece do they flip out • if you show them a piece do they weep for joy • if you show them a piece and they’re ecstatic do you feel trapped • if you show them a piece and they’re angry do you hide yourself further • if you show them a piece and they love it do you wonder if the piece you showed them was real • isn’t it easier not to show anyone • to save reality for the real people you know • and enjoy the hell out of the irony • to love the people who ask even as you secretly have to laugh at them sometimes and wish they could laugh at themselves • and if you’re quiet you’ll always know who you are and you’ll always be safe • but then there’s that problem of feeling grateful and wanting to please • and the always-nagging conundrum of truthfulness in art • especially when the art you’re selling is you •

are your dreams silly • are they crazy • are they unrealistic • are they even dangerous • if you admit to them will you jinx it all • will they dissipate • will people laugh • will they be angry • will they stop buying • if you stop selling the thing they want • and could you live with that • if it meant that no more sales meant no more parts •

what I guess from watching you • if you weren’t a little weird in the sense of never fitting in all the way • you’d never have left home • if you couldn’t have lived out at least some pieces of it • if you hadn’t searched for the thing that fit at least a little better • you wouldn’t be where you are • and I never would have seen you • if you weren’t silly you couldn’t have laughed during the down times • if you hadn’t been just a little bit weird • or even a lot weird • the weird I see • the weird you’re willing to admit to • the weird you’re willing to perform for me • or even push in my face because you wonder if it’s what I want • I wouldn’t have fallen in love • my life wouldn’t have changed •

for me • what I see • it’s enough • I will always wonder if it is for you •

~ by Servetus on March 1, 2014.

34 Responses to “Are you too weird for words?”

  1. As the Facebook meme says, “Weird is a side effect of awesome.”

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    • I think it’s an interesting dilemma the performer finds himself in — weird enough to be original, admitting enough of that to do something exciting, but not crossing certain lines — and yes, I agree. Without that core of unconventionality, no artist would get anywhere.

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  2. love your thoughts here Servetus , for me Richard looks like hes having fun , big time ,.He knows exactly the amount of “talking” his behaviour will generate,.I like to imagine hes decided to let go and just mess about and play ,after all hes a guy and they never grow up ! !!!I I really hope that he really enjoyed himself and that this is a glimps ? of reallife Richard
    It makes me smile !.

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  3. I was wondering when a comment from that teaser will show up on your page! Was looking forward to it. I was baffled at first but I took it as it was – a teaser, oiuttakes. I’m sure there is much ado about nothing and we all can light a candle tomorrow after watching the whole interview. And if not, well … live and let live?

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    • My personal take on the teaser was that what I saw struck me as funny / ironic — but that we haven’t seen enough to know really. I wasn’t expecting a documentary interview, huge revelations, or a high level of journalism from an obscure fan-driven web channel. So my reaction to the trailer itself was so unoriginal I didn’t feel like it really deserved a post on its own. What this really is is a comment on the reactions I’ve been seeing, and my point was mainly that motivation for doing anything is highly complex and when we read a text like this vid, we have to think about the factors that influence the production of the text and that affect our own reactions to it. I don’t think this is “the real” Armitage OR “fake Armitage” — I don’t think he is either hero or victim — and frankly, I think on some level that is not the right question to ask. I think the ways that material like this is made means that it ends up reflecting all kinds of negotiations. The main negotiations that interest me are the ones that Armitage makes, admittedly, but the ones that fans make in assimilating it are also, to put it frankly, fascinating. I am however on record as opposed to fan-on-fan policing, and it’s hard to write about fan reactions without slipping into policing, so I wanted to write about (surprise, surprise) me + armitage. There’s as much of me in this text as there is of criticism of the vid.

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      • I understand you completely and I enjoy it – as I’ve said before I like your irony (you could even be more ironic for my taste) and the way you are expressing yourself. It gives me much food for thought about myself and/or how the way **i** think or feel!

        I, too, agree with you, there is no real or fake Armitage. I’ve commented on YT, we have to wait and see for the whole interview. And only THEN we are able (or not) to form our own opinion if we like it or not about what we have watched. I’m not a friend of judging beforehand. And hey, honestly … as long as he’s not selling his soul to the devil, I’m okay with it. I cannot stress it enough: He is one of us – he is human. And as we know, humans are multifarceted and complicated, we all have fears and dreams and hopes and moods and …

        On a more ironic note: I wonder if people already discussing on other places something I’ve observed in the teaser… wonder if that is another issue they will pull out their *hair* … not that I would care but I’ve heard people talk about dirty fingernails…? #wut

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        • Thanks — I almost always get into trouble when I write ironically, interestingly, even if I label a text ahead of time with clear markers that I’m making ironic statements. It’s one of the hardest things for readers to understand. It’s also very hard for us to think of him as motivated by normal human impulses — fan reactions (including mine) show that time and time again. And there are some surprisingly strong lines around cultural norms in this fandom, too. It turns out that cleanliness is a huge issue (it surprised me, too).

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  4. *about* that comment (sorry)

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  5. I loved this. And I loved the video. I thought he looked like he was in a silly mood. Obviously as fans we’d prefer to see him relaxed rather than at the other end of the spectrum in interviews? I would think? I had to cock my head when I saw comments on the video that said the fan was crying in the bad way. I don’t understand the reaction of being made sad by another person’s laughter and fun.

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    • I assume everyone has reasons for their reactions, and a right to their reactions … and this was not (as far as I could tell from these snippets) meanspirited fun. I guess, though, we are all a little weird, and not necessarily in the ways that might be anticipated 🙂

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      • Yeah, everyone has a right to their reactions. I’m just confused by the negative ones. Of course, my understanding is not a necessary component of anyone’s reality.

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        • no. (mine either, fwiw). I linked to the “be who I need you to be” post from a few a months ago because of this — in essence, we each have identity needs that are fed by this activity.

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        • Alyssa- you’ve summed up my thoughts exactly. I loved the teaser and thought we saw a bit of the playful dorkiness that attracted me to RA in the first place. You can’t please all of the people all of the time, it seems.

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          • well, if ever person watching has his/her own version of who the real Richard Armitage is, and they are all slightly different …

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    • I was surprised to learn, people took the teaser serious. Wasn’t it obvious that the outtakes were put out of context?

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      • one of the most interesting aspects of this fandom is observing cognition patterns. it wasn’t obvious to everyone, apparently, or if they knew they didn’t care.

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  6. I had high hopes….and he fulfills them step by step 😀
    I envy him posts like this , Serv.

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  7. I think we have to remember that first and foremost, he is an actor…

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    • yes, it’s precisely that question this post seeks to address by asking hypotheticals — what are the multiple influences that affect the decisions of an actor in any particular setting. Although I would put it differently. First and foremost he works as an actor. As he said in the Vulpes Libres interview, he’s always trying to forget he’s an actor, especially when he is acting.

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  8. Weirdness is quite cool. Loved your thoughts! I was shocked when I first saw the teaser, but then I enjoyed it later (after watching it thrice). I felt quite happy to see him act like that 🙂 I mean, for ONCE, the poor bloke wasn’t so serious like he always is when it comes to interviews.

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    • yeah, and we know that on some level he wanted to or thought he should do it, it wasn’t a command performance in the sense that the Hobbit press interviews were.

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  9. It is so good to see him relaxed and having fun. I loved it. The interviewer was overly self-conscious tho and it was distracting, but I will let that go bec if I was in her shoes I prob wouldn’t be able to form coherent sentences.

    When can we see the full interview???

    He beat out Cumberbach? Take that Cumberbitches. 🙂

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    • I think she’s trying to turn herself into a journalist and isn’t quite there yet.

      I guess there are two more parts? Not sure when they will appear.

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      • Her husband Paul will edit part 2 today, at least that’s what he said. Should be uploaded tonight (for you)/tomorrow (for me) then.

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  10. […] this road a year ago), and I didn’t like what she produced (see my very ambivalent comment here, for instance, and the comments here –note that I was already excerpting pieces of private […]

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  11. That was absolutely beautiful.

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    • Thanks. I’m always grateful when the “back issues” are useful for someone. I hadn’t thought about this post for a long time.

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