#BlogIntroChallenge 2: why ” me + richard armitage ” ?

blog-intro-challengeme + richard armitage: it turned out to be an unexpectedly sensitive matter over the years.

I picked the name consciously. From the very beginning of my blog, my “About” included this description: “I have no personal or professional connection of any kind with Mr. Armitage. That’s part of the fun. You will notice the title of the blog which puts me before Mr. Armitage. What I write is as much or more about me as about him.” Those were two concisely formed, definitive identity statements (and it has surprised me how often people seem to ignore them or assume I didn’t mean to say those things).

This blog was intended as a personal text — as way to let go of the reactions I was having to Richard Armitage, and a conscious decision to go on the journey as a fan that seemed to be pressing on me in February of 2010. I wasn’t interested in delivering news about Armitage. People were already doing a great job at that. My major sources of information at the time were Richard Armitage Online (which I miss a lot) and RichardArmitageNet.com (which I still treasure). I didn’t want to document Armitage’s career (something both of those sites do really well, as does Richard Armitage Central), because as a historian I was already a professional documenter. I never wanted to be his unpaid publicist. Fan sociability was really important, and I tried to do my bit for the fandom as those needs emerged, but I didn’t want to operate or participate in a discussion forum, either. I wanted to write about myself and my own responses to Armitage and his work, and about my problems and ponderings about them, and readers were invited along insofar as they were interested in what I was writing and could obey the only rule for commenting at that time (don’t make personal attacks on the blogger or other commentators).

So it really was me and Richard Armitage in intent, although the ratios have fluctuated back and forth over time and the content and the rules have changed as my needs have changed. Indeed, a lot of things have changed over the years I’ve been blogging: at the very least — me, Richard Armitage, Richard Armitage’s career, the fandom, and social media. But that the primary intent of the blog is to write about me and the journey I’m on — that’s been a constant.

The title of the blog has regularly made people angry. Some have charged that it involves a grammatical error and that this choice makes me — someone known for her interest in correct speech — a hypocrite.

The case of the title is ambiguous, a linguistic pleasure English permits us. (The reader cannot not deduce from the title whether the title is the subject of an implied sentence or its object.) Even if the title is in the nominative, however, it’s not clear that the choice of the direct object pronoun “me” is a grammatical error. Grammarians’ opinions on this question differ, and it gets down to what kind of verb we think “to be” is (linking or transitive — which determines how we choose the case of the subject and object in a sentence) and whether we follow the Latin-derived rules for inflected pronouns (even though not all pronouns in English are fully inflected). If we assume that English grammar is derived from Latin, then we choose “I” in the nominative because “I” is the first-person nominative pronoun. The rule goes that one should say “It is I” and not “It is me,” but that rule demands that we transgress the equally important rule of subject / verb agreement in English (if we did not, we would say “I am it” as Germans do, literally [ich bin es]). If, on the other hand, we assume English grammar to be derived differently (from French, for instance), we can ignore the subject / verb agreement rule and say “It is me” in instances where we are trying to emphasize the identity of the object against some other possibility (C’est moi or moi, je suis americaine). In practical terms, almost no one says “It is I” any longer; English speakers have been saying “It is me” for centuries. The only situation where I follow the Latin-derived grammatical rule that constructs “be” as a linking verb and requires subject and object to agree in case and number myself is when I am speaking to strangers on the phone. If asked, “May I speak to Servetus?” I respond with “This is she” and not “It’s me” or even “It is I.” But if a friend or a family member calls, or more frequently, at the beginning of such a call, I certainly say “It’s me,” on the assumption that my conversation partner recognizes my voice.

In any case — the implied blog title for me has always been “[About] me and Richard Armitage,” which circumvents possible objections about alleged defects in my capacity to select the first person nominative pronoun correctly in English.

The more applicable question is the matter of politeness. In my implied title (where the nouns are in the accusative) we would normally say “Richard Armitage and me,” as for reasons of courtesy one puts the other speaker first. This is a rule our grandmothers probably corrected a hundred times when we were eight, and I sometimes wonder if the eagerness of critics to reiterate it relates to childhood speech-shaming. However, the charge that the blog should be titled so ignores the fundamental proviso that I am not only writing about Richard Armitage, but that what appears here is first about me. The blog was never intended as a courtesy or service to him, or an attempt to obtain his attention, but as an exploration of myself and my needs, as seen through the prism of my appreciation of him. In other words — the title involved an intentional breaking of a rule that was well known to me at the time I made it, and it describes a situation that has persisted through the five years of my writing it. Most humans are hypocritical about something, despite our best efforts, and it comes down, in our friendships, to what kinds of hypocrisy we can accept in the people we know. But that a blogger who named herself after a notorious heretic would break a speech convention in order to make a point can scarcely have surprised anyone.

Finally: why make the personal choice in blogging? Why write about me, first, and Richard Armitage second? Anyone can blog for any reason — even if I prefer some of those reasons to others — and no one needs to define a niche. Still, to me, blogging as an activity moves beyond news provision to give us a sense of who is blogging, and given that we can get news from anywhere, the person is just as interesting as the news. Niches emerge whether we plan them or avoid them because there is no news without perspective; bloggers have personalities and our personalities affect our interests and approaches and hence, what we write about and how we do it. I’ve had my struggles with Armitage fan community over the years — having gone from seeing myself as a very explicit sponsor and supporter of same from 2010 to 2014, and switching to a very pulled-back mood since then — and knowing that others see that community in strikingly different terms than I means that I’ve become somewhat skeptical about its possibilities. Still, I have enjoyed getting to learn about the personalities and activities and lives and loves of the other Armitage bloggers who have spoken about those things in whatever depth of detail, and some of these people have become true friends. Not everyone — and the diversity of the Armitage blogosphere means that all of us who want to read or talk about Armitage have plenty of places to go and no need to hang around a blog that makes us unhappy. And even more importantly, because each of us will see things differently from her own perspective means that there will always be more room for more bloggers to join us — hopefully keeping this little notional corner of the web going as long as Armitage’s career persists, and maybe beyond.

So why be personal? Because my appreciation of Richard Armitage is personal — and in the interval since I’ve been blogging, my fandom has influenced who I’ve become. If my identity were not tied up in this writing, if this blog were not personal, I wouldn’t be doing it. I’d be writing something else personal, somewhere else.

~ by Servetus on May 31, 2015.

13 Responses to “#BlogIntroChallenge 2: why ” me + richard armitage ” ?”

  1. Because my appreciation of Richard Armitage is personal…

    I don’t know why that should carry so much resonance after all this time, but it does. It is, personal. He is, personal in my mind. Only mine in my space, it’s so simple but a profound moment for me. Not unlike many others you have provided.

    Thanks girl!

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  2. many fans try to downplay the impact that following Richard’s career/being involved in fandom has had in their lives but you’ve built a whole blog around it, and that’s one of the reasons why I’ve found your writing so interesting. you’re not afraid to admit to the things you find yourself doing and the thoughts you find yourself thinking in regards to being a fan, even if that means a loss of control over it. many of your struggles have been my struggles and the ones that aren’t, I can still appreciate. the placement of “me” in your blog title conveys all of that in the simplest of terms 🙂

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  3. I have always loved the fact that you put yourself ahead of Mr. A in your blog title. You have been so true-hearted and consistent in putting yourself “out there”. It is so refreshingly honest. “This blog is about me and Mr. Armitage. Take it or leave it.” This is what your title means to me.Your musings about yourself make me think more about myself than I am usually willing to do. And besides being bravely serious , you can also be silly. Thanks to you I have learned many proper names for kissable RA areas previously unknown to me. (names, not areas.)

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  4. I have enjoyed reading what you have wrote on your experiance with life and how you feel about Richards work. Anything that we do or say or feel is our own personal thoughts/feelings. I do know that over time that personal thoughts/feelings do change as we are always changing.

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  5. Tbh, I think it is an expression of healthy realism to put “me” first in any kind of observation of RA (or other people). Because it brings home the fact that the activity of being a fan is essentially an expression of self, and much less a comment on the OOA. There is a certain amount of irony in the blog name, too, because on an objective level, of course people want to know more about the eponymous star than about the unknown writer. That’s in the nature of celebrity-watching (not the right word in this context, but for want of a better one). I think your blog exactly does what it says on the tin. It comments on you – and richard armitage. So it’s perfectly suited to your purposes.

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    • being a fan is an expression of self = yes. I need to finish that next tulpa post.

      I’m always surprised when people tell me they ended up getting as interested in me as Richard Armitage (it happens from time to time) because I too am more interested in watching Armitage, and were it not for Armitage, I wouldn’t be blogging in this particular way. But any decision to write involves a huge act of ego and so I am also surprised when people drop in to tell me I need to get my ego out of this. How, exactly, does anyone separate her self from what she writes? (shrugs)

      But yeah — it was intended as an accurate label and it has stood the test of time.

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      • What we write is an extension of our ego. Even if we only write the words Richard Armitage Richard Armitage Richard Armitage over and over again. Cos it says something about us when we do that. Ugh. This is getting philosophical. Better stop 😉

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  6. Here is my reason and thanks for inspiring me 😊 and I liked that post 😊

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