Why tumblr made me happy Friday night, observations about related things [pw=really]

[This post about “Richlee” is passworded because it’s directed only at fans who’ve been observing what’s been happening lately, and while I want anyone who wants to read it to have access, I don’t necessarily want it to be googleable just at this moment. Eventually I may make it publicly visible. Don’t like Richlee, aren’t interested in the topic, don’t read, and please don’t comment. Please be aware of the terms of the comments policy if you are not. I will block people who tell me I can’t write something. If you have already been blocked, you are still blocked.]

Friday, I really loved tumblr

Friday someone tried to start a fight on tumblr, and it looked like a lot of people were rising to the bait. I was shaking, because lately tumblr seems to have been doing a lot of shaming, to the point that I’d been considering killing my tumblr presence. (Not that anyone cares about that but me, of course, but I wanted a reason not to go there anymore.) It abated a bit when Richard Armitage Confessions stopped publishing confessions about fans, thankfully. But it’s been an observable pattern since July 2012 that just when Richard Armitage is about to have a big moment, someone shows up to create some drama between fans on the Internet, to the point that I’d started to wonder whether there was an orchestrated campaign to make the Armitage fandom look bad just at the point at which new people might be looking at or joining it.

But then this post appeared, and changed the mood completely!

So first, I’m gratified because when the same thing happened at imdb about six weeks ago, the community of regulars more or less disintegrated, although it took three weeks for the trolls to drive them away. Essentially, the people who sought to spread dissent won — not least because the regulars were not connected enough to each other to dispel the mood of anger and frustration, and thus the disagreements among the regulars did as much to end that community as did the opportunists from outside. At tumblr, in contrast, that didn’t happen. Someone said something really honest, something really true, and instead of shredding her, the community of people who follow the #richardarmitage tag, even those who didn’t agree with her position, got together for a big group hug.

But additionally, I was happy because fandom is really something we do for each other. Yes, we have a shared interest in following Richard Armitage’s work, but 99 percent of the time, none of us have any direct contact with Richard Armitage. The people we interact with on a day-to-day basis are other fans, and so when we can support each other, in my opinion, we’re fulfilling one primary function of fandom. As a friend said a few months back, I am not in community with Richard Armitage, but I am in community with you. I was so thrilled that so many people came out against happiness theft — which is an act against our fellow fans.

So, yay, tumblr!

me + Richlee as it stands

As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve been trying to write about “Richlee” since the mid-fall of 2013. The last installment is here. My interest and persistence in doing so was a major contributing cause of the troubles the blog experienced most acutely this spring, and I admit, I have been worn down by becoming the target of so much grief over it from all sides. I’ve written about it as a fantasy for reasons that are explained below, but most readers who left comments simply could not accept that stance. For many people, it was neither acceptable to write about it as a fantasy if it wasn’t true; for others, it was not acceptable to call it a fantasy if it is also true; for yet others, even the fantasy was unacceptable itself, on gender-political grounds, because a straight woman was confessing to it. I got slimed from everywhere. People targeted those posts intentionally to get me to ban them; sockpuppets got involved, which I hadn’t fully realized at the beginning; and I got so preoccupied in protecting what I was saying against other people’s agendas that the project of expressing my own truth simply went under. Add to this, of course, that I had been narrating things that happened to me in the past, and events eventually overtook some of what I was saying. I still plan to continue that series because it’s important to my understanding of how fandom has influenced me, but I need to jump ahead a little bit.

As the troubles afflicting the blog escalated, the most interesting conversations I was having all started to take place off blog. And at the beginning of January, a particularly acute crisis in the fandom meant that a lot of people were suddenly writing to me off blog. I got into conversations with about ten fans about the question of Richard Armitage’s sexual orientation, and one of them was particularly intense and poignant, with exchanges over more than a week. “I wish we could talk about this openly, or that I could publish this conversation, because it is really honest and says something important,” I wrote to her, “but as it stands you and I would both be crucified and ridiculed. I could take it for myself, but I don’t want to do that to you.”

This was a second sense in which the post last night moved me, because it finally provided another variation of evidence something I’ve known for years: While I would never deny the existence of homophobia, it is much rarer in this fandom than some people apparently think. Not everyone who doesn’t discuss the theme is doing so because s/he opposes same-sex relationships, and it is indeed possible not to ship RichLee and still not be a homophobe. It’s possible because we don’t actually know these people in our real lives, and Richard Armitage exists only in our imagination and in the pictures we see of him, and for a few people, via a brief encounter for an autograph. So it is, in fact, possible to put Richard Armitage together with any number of different people of any gender (or animals, or furniture, or cartoon characters) in our fantasies, of whom Lee Pace is only one of many options. Fantasy does not have to be real to work, and — this is particularly important — for many people, to be enjoyable, fantasy does not have to correspond in any meaningful way to reality.

For many of us, fantasy may be even more enjoyable when we know it is not real. I laugh every time a troll writes to tell me I’d be devastated by “the truth” (whatever that is) about Richard Armitage, because I have known since I was a fan for three weeks — Jan 30, 2010 is the entry in my personal diary that marks this epiphany — that Richard Armitage’s real life sexual orientation, if it were publicly known, would have zero effect on my fantasy life. Fantasy is not reality, and in my case, the Richard Armitage fantasy seems particularly impervious to reality. Richard Armitage could be married to Queen Elizabeth II or Zachary Quinto or Kermit the Frog and I’m fairly sure that neither of those things would have any effect on my fantasy life or my enjoyment of his work, or the influence studying him has had on me.

Nonetheless, that’s not true for everyone. Some people need their fantasies to have a basis in reality, or they can’t bear the possibility that their fellow fans would ridicule their fantasies. And the atmosphere this spring was poisonous, with epithets being hurled in every direction and people suggesting that any fantasy that did not correspond to their version of reality was creepy or sick. The kind of people I was talking to were not represented in the discussion because they had seen what had happened to anyone who said they weren’t shipping, whether they stated a reason or not. The constant application of the term “homophobe” to people who might legitimately have been grieving was cruel; no one has to be a fan; people have different reasons for being fans; they have different reasons for losing their fantasies. I was getting tired of an atmosphere in which a few kids were going around triumphantly telling everyone in class there is no Santa Claus as if it would surprise them, ridiculing them for ever having believed, and then telling them they were politically suspect if they said how they actually felt. Happiness theft is mean.

Lest it appear that I am solely opposed to the positions of a trollish subset of the aggressive shippers, I was also getting tired of the repeated, thunderous insistence on the other side that because Richard Armitage’s romantic life is a private matter (something no one contests), it can and should never be discussed in public by anyone. People who thought that ended up being a much larger practical problem for me. In short, I found myself on some level of non-agreement with everyone about this topic and that made it hard, because in order to write one must imagine a sympathetic audience and the only people I could imagine who would be willing to be sympathetic to my observations I was already talking to.

All this, I suppose, as preface to some conceptual observations based on all of this — and I want to emphasize, in no particular order.

Slash shipping is not a political act or a demonstration of how affirming we are

If you’ve read this blog you know that I slash ship. I also stated my political opinions about same sex relationships (during the summer of 2012, incidentally). But. No one including me should suggest these things are at all equivalent. Shipping RichLee in any variation (fictional characters; RPF; real life) does not constitute “supporting” anything but our own desires.

Shipping same-sex characters or even real people is not really a political act or a demonstration of how liberal or accepting one is. (Some very same-sex accepting fans who nonetheless don’t slash ship for fiction or reality.) This is true whether one wants to pair romantically or sexually fictional characters (Thorin and Thranduil), characters in RPF (Richard Armitage and Lee Pace), or even the real Richard Armitage and Lee Pace whom those characters claim to depict. The reason shipping is not a political act or a demonstration of coolness is that all of these things happen only in fantasy. This is no less true for for actual people than for real characters, for even if we wish or believe that Armitage and Pace are a couple in real life, as far as I know, what we believe we know about their relationship only reflects our imagination of what it might be.

Don’t get me wrong; I love fantasy and it’s an important part of my life. But when we lobby showrunners to have a character come out, to have our favorite characters get together in a slash ship, read or write slash fanfic, or insist to fellow fans that two men are a couple, we are simply clamoring for our own fantasy to be realized in a particular form. As a broad generalization, there’s nothing wrong with wanting one’s harmless fantasies realized. We just have to realize that when we do these things, we are doing them for ourselves, not for our LGBTQ friends or for the gender-queer community more generally.

For those who do it, shipping real life Pace and Armitage is something that gratifies us and has no bearing on their states of mind. We do not “support them” by shipping them; they do not need our support and have never asked for it. When someone says to me, “I know they are together and I want them to be able to be open about that,” my usual reaction is to think, “you want” is the operative phrase in that sentence.

If we want to support real people’s same-sex relationships, we could:

  • Listen to what our same-sex friends would like us (or not like us) to do on their behalf.
  • Demonstrate and get arrested to call attention to problems, like the people in Boise are doing in the “add the words” demonstration.
  • Campaign for political representatives who support ending same-sex discrimination. Vote for them.
  • Stop using casual pejoratives in our own speech in our real lives.
  • Stand up calmly but firmly, kindly and not angrily, for friends or strangers when we see them being bullied or discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.
  • Work within our religious body or volunteer organization to make sure discrimination against non-heterosexuals is eliminated both formally and informally.
  • Get approved as foster parents and tell social workers we are eager for placements of LGBTQ children and teens, who are disproportionally represented among foster child populations in the U.S.
  • Work in groups that reach out to help teens made homeless by some families’ inability to accept their sexual orientations.
  • Make sure people around us know that we are allies so that if someone in trouble needs a friendly shoulder, we can be there.
  • Raise our children differently, so that same-sex love and lifestyles stops being a stigma that might affect an actor’s career.

There are dozens more things to do, but if we want to be open and affirming, the best way is through our own examples, by influencing real attitudes in the world around us.

On the other hand — slamming people with the epithet “homophobe” because they don’t slash ship? First, not true. (See above.) Second, silly. (Because whether anyone believes anything about Richard Armitage or what we believe has no influence on who Richard Armitage actually is or what he really does.) Third, meaningless. Because abusing people who disagree with you is never going to make them agree.

Laying insults aside, forced conversation and bad evidence convince no one

While I agree that the imperative of silence (“don’t talk about it”) is structurally discriminatory, a way to keep people from speaking openly about something that’s potentially very important to them, at the same time I admit that I don’t understand fully the impulse that says people who don’t ship must constantly be confronted with discussions about same-sex relationships. What is true is true independently of what people think about it, so why must certain matters constantly be broached? It creates the impression, for better or for worse, that the people who push the discussion have an ax to grind. There must be some kind of happy medium that we could find, a sort of self-selection out of discussions that don’t interest one. If we were a church or an office, it would make sense to me that we might be perennially occupied with this topic, as we would all be involved in the same project and need to develop agreement about how to deal with these issues. But we’re not; we’re a loose association of people with a common interest who’ve developed some affective bonds around that.

That said, for people who feel strongly the need to convince others of their proposed ship or of the non-existence of a ship — it would be really helpful if people acknowledged the relative value of their evidence. I have made no friends for making this point before, but at the risk of being repetitive, some kinds of evidence are never going to convince people who don’t think intuitively. And even some of us who instinctively tend to think intuitively would point out the weakness of that kind of thinking. Better arguments are available, but we keep coming back to the weak ones — and it’s precisely weak arguments that make opponents think the people who make them are crazy. Shippers aren’t the only ones who use bad evidence, though — both sides use the evidence that convinces them most rather than taking a dispassionate look at everything that is known or thinking about what kind of evidence might be most convincing to a skeptic. Finally, it would be helpful if everyone who stays involved in the conversation could acknowledge that something can be true without the known evidence for it being particularly convincing.

If shipping isn’t supportive, not talking about things known publicly doesn’t protect anyone, either

I’ve noted above that shipping is not a way of supporting real life same-sex relationships in particular or in general, and that no one involved has asked fans for our support. The latter point surely garnered nods from non-shippers. But at the same time, none of us should kid ourselves that our personal decisions not to discuss something “protect” or “protect the careers” of the people involved. Like shipping, deciding not to gossip supports our sense of ourselves. When I have been offered material or opportunity to gossip and when I successfully resisted, I felt better about myself for doing so. This is about me, not about you and most importantly, not about Richard Armitage. If he’s not grateful to shippers for gossiping I can’t imagine he’d be grateful to non-shippers for not gossiping; in fact, I imagine he most largely doesn’t care what fans do or say other than that they not be mean to each other in his name.

No one denies the problematic qualities of gossip, but at the same time, it is a reality of human life. The rules of discourse are different in different places — and we can enforce our own rules only in our own spaces, just as the only person’s behavior that I control is my own. There are discussion rules here, but they don’t prevail everywhere, and rules that prevail elsewhere are not in force here. We all learn to navigate this sort of situation in our lives everyday, so it’s hardly surprising that it’s reproduced on the Internet. When we are in public, we have to accept that other people may have different rules than we do.

While the extent to which this is true has been vastly overstated, moreover, I tend to agree with the oft-made point that some people — but not all — who insist on vigorous silence with regard to a same-sex relationship have had or would have no problem gossiping about heterosexual liaisons. Of course, some people would never gossip about any relationship. But gossip is not immoral, however distasteful some of us might find certain forms of it, and forbidding people to gossip about their own fantasies is just as much a version of happiness theft as insisting that their fantasies are uniformed or creepy.

I’ve also never been convinced by most of the arguments provided on behalf of “privacy” as an iron-clad line that is obvious to everyone. Some features of all of our lives are simply not capable of being hidden — subject to law and custom in the places where we live. In fact, things that are a matter of public record or known to many are, by definition, public, whether or not they started that way. It seems silly to pretend reliable evidence that is in the public sphere doesn’t exist, even if one doesn’t want to link to it or spread it oneself, as if one is remaking reality to pretend that pieces of it are not there. Again, everyone will draw her / his lines around this differently. People who define these things differently than we do are not inherently evil, nor do they wish Richard Armitage harm.

Some might interject that Richard Armitage has stated that he doesn’t want to talk about his private life; that’s fine — I am not forcing him to and if by some odd turn of circumstance, I ever meet him, I won’t ask him to discuss it. He’s entitled to make that decision for himself. But Richard Armitage does not decide for me what is an acceptable topic of discussion in my own space, either.

But slamming people with epithets like “delusional” because they slash ship? Not true. (See above.) Second, silly. (Because whether anyone believes anything about Richard Armitage or what we believe has no influence on who Richard Armitage actually is or what he really does.) Third, meaningless. Because abusing people who disagree with you is never going to make them agree. Does this sound familiar?

The “fetishization” problem

One objection to my decision to write about Richlee as a fantasy was that it was an unacceptable objectification of a real relationship for prurient purposes. In other words, while it is acceptable for gay men to fantasize about this possibility, it is not acceptable for a straight woman to do so. After thinking about this for a while, I found the form in which it this notion is usually expressed unconvincing.

Of course, a slash fantasy means something different to me than it means to a gay man — just as it means something different to every person on the planet. But the word “fetish” is being extended beyond its utility here. Originally, a sexual fetish was something that took over one’s sexual fantasies to the exclusion of everything else; nowadays, people use it to mean “something that gives me a thrill.” For better or for worse, everyone gets a thrill from something, and the fact that same-sex couples are the object of external sexual fantasy does not differentiate them from heterosexual couples. I agree that there are politically problematic aspects to slash shipping (I have the same instinctive reaction about philosemitism, for what it is worth). I think the main problem occurs when people confuse their fantasies about same-sex relationship with a political attitude (see above), and when they insist on forcing their interests into the real worlds of actual same-sex couples as if those fantasy external reactions and concerns were somehow relevant to a real world situation that involved gay men. To use the philosemitism parallel: it’s not a problem if non-Jews are extremely interested in Judaism and have strong feelings about Jews, and read all about them, and wish they were Jewish, or even convert to Judaism, and so on. What’s a problem is if philosemites assume that their own feelings and interests constitute support for real Jewish concerns, define the experience of being Jews for Jews themselves, or lead them to believe that Jews owe them something for their philosemitism.

I choose to write about Richlee as a fantasy because it means a great deal to me on that level. I wouldn’t say that its primary component is that it gives me a thrill, although it also does that; its meaning encompasses and moves beyond that. But I don’t believe that because I write about my fantasy I am either helping them, or helping same-sex couples more generally; nor, as I have said many times, do I believe that my fantasy hurts them or same-sex couples in any way. It is simply separate from those matters. My fantasy is not real.

Respecting each other’s experiences and admitting the things we don’t know

Although it’s been mainly the source of contention, I still believe in my heart of hearts that there’s a productive tension between the two positions — one that says it is better not speak of these things and the other that says everything would be different if people were just honest. I can think of circumstances under which both are true. I don’t want to associate either position with a demographic or an age group although it’s fair to say that these attitudes often diverge somewhat on generational lines. Younger people, less tempered by disappointment in life, may be more optimistic about the value of total honesty; older people with more experience of how the world works in practice may be more prudent about the problems with total openness. Younger people may want to assert their knowledge; older people may be more likely to realize that virtue, and indeed enjoyment, can be found in silence.

 

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But as I say so often on this blog — the world is not an either / or place. It’s a both / and place. And I think this realization is essential if we wish to cultivate respect for each other as fans. A little humility about what we think we know doesn’t hurt, either.

I think each of the following assertions is correct, they do not all fit together easily in real life practice, and they all play a role in this debate:

  • The world would be easier for same-sex couples if people were more open and accepting of them, and to this end, someone has to push in that direction. The world will not change if no one demands it do so.
  • While it may be admirable when people choose to live out their identities as a means of changing the world, still a single individual cannot be expected to bear the burden of that on his or her back — particularly against inclination or personal interest.
  • Forcing someone to use his life or career to fulfill a political, or indeed any, end against his own desire is not an act of love or support; it is an insistence that he fulfill our own desires, not his own life ends.
  • A person’s sexual orientation is an incredibly complex matter, much more so than politicians, religious figures, activists, or even sex therapists or psychologists would suggest. The individual is the only who knows how to describe that state of mind, the only one who has the right to make decisions about it, and the one who ultimately bears the greatest consequences of living with that decision.
  • Sexual orientation may be an essential piece of one’s identity, or a less important one — and only the individual involved can say how important that puzzle piece is, and in what ways, and how s/he is willing to live that piece in public. How important an open confession of sexual orientation is in one’s life may change with circumstance.
  • Because the world is imperfect, it is impossible to tell on a blanket basis whether complete openness or silence or somewhere in between is the best strategy in every situation. Even smaller generalizations can cloud the relevant issues brought to bear on an individual. People have to navigate this problem on a case by case basis.
  • People with a certain amount of life experience in pursuing employment in demanding professions are aware that it is often better to say less than more when pursuing work. Acting is a particularly demanding profession insofar as people sell not themselves, but a constructed image of themselves.
  • What might be ideal for fans as a whole, or even a small group of fans, is not necessarily ideal from the perspective of a career that has to be pursued on the basis of an image sold to the general public, one that in turn has to be produced by an individual who may have entirely separate concerns.
  • None of us knows with very much precision what Richard Armitage’s desires for his career or his life are.

In the end, Richard Armitage is the person who knows best about his life and desires. Any attempt on my part to say about his personal life as it interfaces with his career — “he should just _____” — as if I know what is best for someone I observe from a computer screen? — is at the least arrogant — no matter what I put in that blank. That doesn’t mean I don’t form my opinions, or think my thoughts, or wish he would fulfill my desires.

And if I can’t reasonably tell Armitage what he should do, what he should think, how he should be — how can I tell that to my fellow fans?

Some grace seems called for. For Richard Armitage and for ourselves. I would have said until Friday night that I hadn’t seen much of that lately. But it is precisely the kind of grace that the tumblr fans showed to their comrade the other night.

~ by Servetus on July 7, 2014.

30 Responses to “Why tumblr made me happy Friday night, observations about related things [pw=really]”

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this!

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  2. so much to digest here but I am very glad I decided to click on the link and read 🙂 I agree that it is about us, and our fantasies, above and beyond anything else. my preferences are about me and yours are about you; if I shame you for yours then maybe I should reexamine mine b/c it’s clearly not giving me the enjoyment I claim it is if I need to tear others down to feel better about it.

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    • Relieved it was okay to read, lol 🙂

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      • well, with you one never knows 😀 it may be something I don’t want to think about but probably should (that’s a good thing). in this case it was something that I have thought about but not in quite this way before.

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  3. So much to digest here ….. so true. I hope what I am about to say is ok.

    I have just read the post on tumblr that was referred to and it was so sweet, so touching, so honest. And to be honest myself and admit to my selfishness, it is EXACTLY how I feel. It seems so noble saying ‘I just want RA to have true love and happiness’ with whomever…but, in my darkest, secret heart I much prefer not knowing any particulars of his love life. I must admit my preference for him not having one. I much prefer the blank canvas. And I don’t care if RA prefers us having this blank canvas because he is secretive, or realizes as an actor this is better, or because he doesn’t want anyone to know he is bi, or gay, or because he is protecting his woman from the media and or fans…..whatever the reason, it doesn’t matter to me. I just prefer to pretend he is single. Just single.

    I don’t understand people getting so upset about it, so trying to convince others of any position. Each side feels they have ‘proof’ one way or the other. But they don’t. They really don’t. But, I don’t get upset about it. There are bigger issues in this world.

    Also, after reading this post (this one, not the tumblr one) I FIANLLY get the RA/Pace fan fiction appeal. After reading some of the fiction examples, I must say…..That is totally hot! Really hot! And it doesn’t really come across to me as homoerotic, just pure erotic. Very hot! I think I need to start reading me some of that.

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    • I think you’re not alone — if the conversations I was having this spring are any index. In essence, it really doesn’t matter who Armitage is dating, if it’s known that he is dating someone, that is going to mess up a certain number of fantasies.

      I think one of the fascinating features of a lot of Richlee fanfic is indeed its intensity. I think that has something to do with the fact that both men are capable of incredible intensity as actors. But it also has something to do with the authors and tne nature of romantic and sexual intensity in slash.

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      • I agree.

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      • I remember reading a comment Mr. Armitage said at one point, something about ‘be careful, be thoughtful, be kind, because there are fragile people involved’….he was commenting on his fandom being unkind to one another or something. (I was very new to it all when I read it). I remember when I read it that it struck me how much he has considered, how much he has carefully thought about, how his words and actions affect others. I found it very admirable. I think this is partially why he stays away from revealing too much of himself and instead focuses on his characters, his work. I think it is very deliberate on his part.

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  4. Thank you for taking the time to write this, Serv. I hope it reaches a wide audience within the fandom, and receives careful consideration.

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  5. It was pure pleasure, Servetus. 🙂

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  6. Absolutely. Spot on with both your analysis of fantasy in relation to fandom and the arrogance of trying to inflict personal agendas and views on RA himself. X

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    • let me make sure I’m understood — I don’t think there’s anything wrong with discussing our personal agendas.

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      • Absolutely. But discussing our personal agendas and beliefs is different to trying to impose them on others and I think that’s the point here. So what Richard says and does publically about his own sexuality is really his own decision. Equally, my reaction to and opinions on his sexuality are my own and something that can’t be dictated to me.

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  7. Thank you for doing this! It’s good so read someone who puts things into another perspective.

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  8. This:”While it may be admirable when people choose to live out their identities as a means of changing the world, still a single individual cannot be expected to bear the burden of that on his or her back — particularly against inclination or personal interest.” This should be carved in stone!!!

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  9. If they are a couple, it is a crime against humanity that we don’t have picys of these two in tuxedos on the red carpet. I kid. 🙂

    Well stated,but we come to expect nothing else from you!!!

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  10. You definitely have me thinking. I think perhaps I am uncomfortable talking about sexuality in general rather than a specific type of sexuality.

    I have had gay friends my entire adult life and am going to a wedding next week between two women. My sister will be the pastor and the bride is her ex daughter-in-law.

    I guess I fall in the not a homophobe but not a fan of slash shipping group (for me.) I like to believe I live my life with a “Live and let live” attitude. I do my best not to judge others for their beliefs or behavior. I am attracted to kindness and it is one of the things I admire about you, Servetus. I don’t think it is mentioned very often but I believe you are one of the kindest people I know.

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    • I think it’s not that uncommon, really, and it’s been frustrating to me to hear that charge again and again (hence this post).

      re: live and let live — I think a lot of people felt that way on both sides until the 1980s. HIV infections changed everything for a lot of people. “live and let live” to a lot of people meant that really dangerous problems were being ignored.

      And thanks for the compliment — that is really sweet. I try to be kind. But I think my efforts are often cancelled out by my extreme impatience.

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  11. Ein paar unzusammenhängende Gedanken von mir:

    • Schön, dass du deine Richlee-Serie fortsetzen willst; ich fand deine Gedanken dazu sehr interessant.
    • Ich lese Fanfics, und zwar ganz verschiedene, kurze, lange, cross-over, slash … Alles. Ich lese die Storys einfach an und entscheide dann, ob ich sie lesen will. Manches gefällt mir nicht, dann lese ich halt nicht weiter. Manchmal bin ich selbst überrascht, dass mir etwas gefällt (St_Germaines “Flyboys” war so eine Überraschung). Einige Autoren sind sehr, sehr gut!

    • Ich glaube nicht, dass Fanfiction irgendwem schadet. Wenn ein Schauspieler danach beurteilt und eingestuft wird, was seine Fans schreiben … Nun ja, ich würde das absurd nennen.

    • Dass Richard sein Privatleben nicht öffentlich machen möchte, kann ich absolut nachvollziehen. Ich war selbst mal in der Situation, dass jemand viel mehr über mich (und auch noch ausgerechnet mein Sexualleben bzw. meine sexuelle Orientierung) wissen wollte, als ich demjenigen sagen wollte. Es ging ihn einfach nichts an, Punkt!
      Und uns geht Richards Leben nicht an.
      Natürlich möchte ich als Fan so viel wie möglich über ihn wissen, aber dass ich mich ihm so nahe fühle bedeutet nun mal nicht, dass er sich mir auch nahe fühlt. – Tut er natürlich nicht. Er weiß nicht mal, dass es mich gibt.

    • Ich kann auch nachvollziehen, wenn jemand gar nicht über RAs Privatleben rätseln und auch von (slash-)Fanfics nichts wissen möchte. Die Grenze, ab der ein Thema (jedes Thema) für irgendjemanden unangenehm wird, zieht jeder selbst. Jemanden als “prüde” zu bezeichnen, weil seine Grenzen anders sind als meine, ist sinnlos. Denjenigen dann anzufeinden, erst recht. Und ihn mit dem Thema dann ständig zu belästigen, ist für mich einfach nur ein Zeichen für einen extremen Mangel an Einfühlungsvermögen (oder für einen Troll). Wenn ich weiß, dass jemand ein Thema nicht mag, rede ich mit ihm oder ihr nicht darüber. Ich muss nicht überzeugen, sondern kann akzeptieren, dass jemand anders denkt als ich. So viel Vernunft erwarte ich von Erwachsenen. (Leider lag ich damit – wenig überraschend – schon mehrfach falsch, aber zum Glück habe ich die Freiheit, mir zumindest im Privatleben aussuchen zu können, mit wem ich mich abgebe.)

    • Der obige Absatz gilt aber auch umgekehrt: Wenn in einem Blog ein Thema zur Sprache kommt, dass mir nicht gefällt, dann halte ich mich heraus. Ich mache dem Blogger keine Vorschriften, was er in seinen eigenen virtuellen vier Wänden zu tn oder zu lassen hat. Déjà-vu: Ich muss nicht überzeugen, sondern kann akzeptieren, dass jemand anders denkt als ich. So viel Vernunft erwarte ich von Erwachsenen. (Leider lag ich damit – wenig überraschend – schon mehrfach falsch, aber zum Glück habe ich die Freiheit, mir zumindest im Privatleben aussuchen zu können, mit wem ich mich abgebe.)

    • Was die reale Existenz einer Beziehung RA/Lee Pace angeht: Vielleicht. Vielleicht auch nicht. Vielleicht geben sie sich auch gegenseitig Tipps für die besten Prostituierten. Das alles wissen sie nur selbst.
      Mein Bauchgefühl sagt mir eine Menge: Dass ich Hunger habe, dass ich was gegessen habe, das mir nicht bekommt, dass ich Angst habe oder nervös bin. Aber es sagt mir leider rein gar nichts über Personen, die ich nur von Bildern und aus Filmen kenne. Aus den Informationen, die ich habe, kann ich jedenfalls keinen stichhaltigen Beweis konstruieren.

    • Das ganze Richlee-Thema ist ein wundervoller Beweis dafür, dass Leute das aus einem Text herauslesen, was sie lesen wollen.
      Es gab mal eine Untersuchung mit Personen, die Befürworter oder Gegner der Todestrafe waren: Beide Seiten bekamen denselben Text zu lesen. Und beide Seiten fanden nach der Lektüre ihre Einstellung bestätigt.
      Ähnliches kann man problemlos bei Fans finden, die über ein Interview sprechen.

    • Sollte RA irgendwann über sein Privatleben sprechen, wird es für mich nicht viel ändern. Ich bin mir sehr bewusst, dass meine Phantasie eben Phantasie ist.

    • Und zum Abschluss: Ich glaube, es ist allgemein bekannt, dass viele Männer zwei Frauen miteinander erotisch finden. Warum sollen dann Frauen umgekehrt zwei Männer nicht erotisch finden (dürfen)?

    Fertig.
    Glaube ich.

    Like

    • Hoppla. WordPress rückt also ein, wenn man Gedankenstriche an den Anfang setzt? – Sehr eigenwillig, dieses Dings. :-/

      Like

  12. As somebody who was within a whisker of leaving the fandom completely over the vile nasty behaviour on another board. I tried so hard to broker peace between the various fraction and when it failed I received PMs from both sides which were horrible. The ones that hurt the most were from long time RA fans.I read your post with interest and I really wish I could be optimist about peoples behaviour when discussing RAs sexuality. I think maybe the greater malice is the anonymous nature of the internet. We all “hide” behind screen names and for some on both sides of the fence so to speak, that is a licence to behave appalling. Some posters just will not accept the other persons view and the way they do that is to insult often using vile terms. I cannot believe that these people speak to each other like that in real life.

    Like

    • Totally agree re: longtime fans — an anonymous troll is relatively easy to shake off after a while but someone you’ve known a long time … sigh.

      Like

  13. The only thing I have to say, and I say it again and again, is that anyone who tries to “prove” that someone is in a homosexual relationship should not do that. It is totally up to the person(s) involved to disclose their sexuality. I don’t think you disagree with that. I understand the nature of fantasy. But sometimes it crosses the line when the people involved are not “out”. That’s just my opinon. It comes down to a question of who has the rights to the situation – the person who wants to publicly fantasize or the real person who has to deal with it in real life.

    Like

    • I’m sorry if I was unclear, but I think that what fans do in this sense is irrelevant to Armitage. Fans neither help nor harm him by what we say. The rights of fans to fantasize publicly on different levels are not less important than Armitage’s desires; they are coequal. That is the substance of this post. So we do disagree.

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  14. […] and he doesn’t need us to defend his words, his career, his actions, his role choices, his relationships, or anything about his life. He makes his own decisions about deleting tweets and they should not […]

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  15. […] have to be a shipper (according to some people I am, according to others, I’m not, and my middle of the road position on this has occasionally bought me grief), I don’t have to be in sympathy with the LGBT political […]

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