Switch the [ Richard Armitage ] off ?

So, yeah. I still am feeling no need to watch the first part of series 3 of Hannibal. I may have a have a lot of time on my hands shortly.

If you don’t want to sound preachy, Mr. Armitage, stop preaching. Since you report about yourself that you delete most of what you say, anyway.

There are so many self-contradictions in what you said that I am going to struggle to avoid tu quoque. We’ll see how it goes.

I understand what you to do for a living to be exploring different identities on behalf of audiences. As you put it a few days ago, “Imagining.” Okay. So that’s apparently different than what people do when they develop an online identity by means of a pseudonym. It would be great if you could clarify exactly what that difference is. The point about bullying isn’t creating an identity or an alternative one — even people who aren’t online create their identities. We might call that [cough] one of the fundamental activities of the human condition, one of the basic outcomes of consciousness: exploring our own identities. It’s one reason we watch drama and pay people like you — because actors mirror the human condition and we are permitted in watching to explore the character’s identity through our empathy with him (or lack of same).

You write that we should express our opinions via art. But art isn’t just something that people like you do, who are paid for it, or which belongs exclusively to the names we all know as great artists. It’s something everyone of us does all the time. It’s something that we do even when we write on line. Do you think that those of us who write online don’t think about which words to use, how to justify our opinions, how to express best what we feel so that others understand? That is art. It demands freedom of thought and expression. Most importantly, it demands freedom of conscience even when others don’t understand why we are saying what we are saying or doing what we are doing, or disapprove of these — a point that Arthur Miller was trying to get across in The Crucible. You are free to play a serial killer; fans are free to speak about and write about you in the communities we build. A conversation, too, is a kind of art, and for centuries people gave advice about it. Psychological speculation on motive is also an art. And a human right. No matter who does it. Even if I don’t like to read it when it’s done about me.

I know you don’t recognize this distinction, but there’s a difference between anonymity and pseudonymity. A pseudonym groups statements around a particular name that is not one’s real name; anonymity, in contrast, means that we pretend to assign no identity to what we say. Anonymity has its place, I think, even though it is more often abused than used effectively. Pseudonymity is a creative technique. People can use pseudonyms to hurt each other, yes, but people can also use cars to hurt each other. That’s no reason for responsible people not to drive them. Pseudonyms are actual identities — including artistic ones. The Brontë sisters? They all published using pseudonyms. Servetus is also a coherent identity, similar to, but not quite the same, as the person who writes Servetus. If you don’t believe that, check out how betrayed blog readers feel when Servetus does something that’s not in their picture of her, or says something they believe she should not say.

I am skeptical that you think in much detail about the effect your words cause when they’re not causing us to swoon, about the effect they have on us when we disagree with each other, which is a normal human reaction, and not, as you imply in these piece and the last one, something to be avoided and suppressed. Even now fans of yours who don’t use pseuds on Twitter are congratulating themselves over it, because you approve of that, and the next time there’s a problem, the ones who do use pseuds will inevitably be targeted because “Richard thinks people who uses pseuds are bullies.” You were the one who charged your reader to think about “the destination of our words” and “the fuel propelling it.” Nothing you said today was ill meant — but it will still be used by some people who read it to police others.

This is what it is. No one who speaks can ultimately control the destination or the effect of his or her words. There’s a lot you can do — express yourself more precisely, for instance — to control what you say or write. But you can never control (or even anticipate all the possibilities) of how what you say will be understood. If that were the condition for speech, that no speech could ever hurt anyone, even accidentally, no one would ever speak.

And this, too, was a kind of breathtaking misunderstanding of what speech is or why people insist on free speech protections:

And even as I write this I know that there will be those who just say “No, I have the right to speak about what I like, how I like and to who I like, I have the right to be a bully if I wish

Having the right to speak about what one likes is not the same as having the right to be a bully. You still haven’t defined cyberbullying, but I really wonder what you know about history. It’s stunning that you think that people who disagree are doing it just to be contrary:

It could be anger, it could be hatred. Sometimes it’s provocation, sarcasm, humor. Sometimes it’s just to be contrary to what everyone else is saying.

Do you know why people are sarcastic? Have you thought about why they express themselves via humor as opposed to using another trope? Every rhetorical strategy, every genre, has its own purpose.

Sure, there are contrarians in the world and people who write chiefly to anger others. But that’s not why those of us who defend free speech do so. We do so because, in the market of possibilities, despite all of the worthless stuff out there, which you point out and I concede, there are still contrary opinions that are worth articulating, considering, expressing, defending.

That goes as much for the world of entertainment and acting as it does for politics and society. Does it matter who is the most convincing Macbeth? Does it matter who should play Batman? Yes, because even if we don’t answer that question definitively, figuring out why we think the way we do tells us more about our artistic choices the next time. That there is much out here in social media land that is not worth reading does not meant that everything out here is worthless; that an opinion is angry or contrary to the majority does not mean that it is incorrect. That something may be unworthy of our attention does not imply that it must be so. Would you have liked to have your own art written off this way when you were a teenager? Or a young actor, trying to be brave?

Do think that people who disagree don’t empathize with others? That was the most surprising implication of this interview and the previous one, which seemed to espouse passive aggressiveness and conflict avoidance as virtuous life strategies. I’ve listened to a lot of sermons in my life, 2-3 a week for my entire childhood, and then I did a research project as a scholar where I read 1,600 sermons over about two years. I know a homily when I read one. Medieval sermon authors knew, and the ancients before them, a millennium ago and more, that vaunting one’s humility is also a species of pride. Unlike them, though, I would say: pride is not a sin. Just a human tendency.

~ by Servetus on June 12, 2015.

87 Responses to “Switch the [ Richard Armitage ] off ?”

  1. “Nothing you said today was ill meant….” Yes, I believe this statement. However, the can of worms is definitely Costco size, and the ramifications like the waves on the beach. I am afraid consensus is not coming anytime soon, but how interesting to see the various blogs and their individual views on what this means to the many authors writing. I’m enjoying the discourse, and all I’ve seen so far is within respectful boundaries. I’m not on Twitter, Tumblr, IMDB, Instagram and the like by choice, but for those who are, I think the tone is just as important as the words chosen. As for anonymity, it is not something to hide behind, but a safer way for me to keep my privacy. I would say the same words with my own name as I would with my pseudonym. For me, the two names both represent the same “me”.
    Again, I appreciate reading your thoughts, whether you disagree or not, and I’ve been coming to this place for many years for the pleasure of sharing in our admiration of this man, his work, and how he portrays the human condition.

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    • Unless you’re doing something I’m not aware of, you’re not anonymous. The thing is that real cyberbullies can only seldom afford to be meaningful pseudonymous — because someone will try to identify them, and it’s very hard to protect yourself completely from leaving a trail somewhere. Anonymous or meaningless handles, however — they are often used to bully because they can be easily abandoned.

      I think Armitage missed that he can afford to say things with his own name because he is a really powerful person. There are people who can’t afford to say even very innocuous things with their real names because the cost would be too high. Teachers, for instance.

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      • Very true….professional lives of teachers and their private thoughts/words … too great a cost! And I was thinking the very same thing, he can afford to be himself online…he has a very prominent position! Then again, I can see his risk if he went so far as to have a contract revoked, or lose an agent because of his views. However, I have seen many celebrities bounce back from devastating setbacks due to their behavior or words that “the average Joe” would never be able to rebound from. His image has been carefully nurtured and, he is now enjoying the benefits of a well-respected position based on who he seemingly is in real life (to the extent that we can know him). Kindness and decency (remember how Martin described him?) seem to be where his comments come from. However one interprets his recent statements, whether you agree/disagree or land somewhere in between, there is much to be said for respectful response. I’m glad you don’t care if you’re in the minority. ..you repeatedly state your mind respectfully with regards to open debate and freedom of expression. It’s a valuable spot you hold.
        Oh, I knew I wasn’t completely anonymous. … I don’t have to be that careful. If approached by someone I knew who recognized me here, I’d blush, but it wouldn’t ruin my life.

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        • yeah, I don’t think he has NO cost to being honest, just that there are a lot more things he can say in his own name than a public school teacher in the US, or an international diplomat, or a district attorney, or someone whose business is dependent on a particular moral image, can say. Those people enrich my fandom, I’m glad they are around, they’ve never been abusive, and I see no reason they should be excluded from social media because they use pseuds. Similarly, if someone who’s been real life stalked wants to be a fan, s/he has almost no choice but to use a pseud. Fine if it’s his preference to only be in social media with his real name, but he should realize that it’s his preference because of the circumstances that condition his life and that the circumstances that apply to him don’t apply to us in the same way.

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  2. Bravo! Bravo!

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    • Thanks, once again I will find myself in the minority, but not because I am trying to be contrary, lol. Because I feel that while there are plenty of valuable things he could have said about cyberbullying and/or bullying in general, he picked dangerous ones to emphasize and left the most important ones untouched.

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  3. What a can of worms, indeed. Oh, Richard. What was it Voltaire (a pen name, I do believe) said? “I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to your death the right to say it.” Something along those lines . . . :/ Keep sharing reason and sanity, Serv.

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    • As I said to a fellow fan recently who’d been policed for something she’d done in September but who wanted to police something I wrote — you may not agree with me, but the next time people come out to police you, I will be there to defend you anyway …

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  4. I can always count on you for a different perspective. I didn’t happen to find his foray into blogging problematic, but you make some good points here. I agree with your defense of free speech, but again, I didn’t read what he wrote as pro-censorship (other than his suggestion to censor ourselves by thinking twice before hitting send). I didn’t agree with him that we should avoid pseudonyms or anonymity, and I agree with you that especially in today’s uber-PC environment, to do so for teachers (and certainly other professions, too) could be very detrimental to a career. I also agree that some of what he said, though most likely unintended by him, will be used by some fans to police others. However, I’m not sure if it’s possible for him to blog about this topic and NOT have people use his words to police others. Policers gonna police. LOL

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    • Let me be provocative — why should I urge anyone to change their writing habits? Is something automatically less profitable to read because it was written quickly, or in anger? That reasoning seems fallacious to me. In fact, I only post without thought extremely rarely. The two times I did it I regretted it so badly that I learned my lesson. But I would never have the nerve to tell someone else that they should think first before posting at any speed. Not least because I might miss something good. Too many people suppress good stuff because they have qualms.

      I don’t think it’s possible for him to stop policers. However, I do think it would have been possible for him not to put the words in their mouths. I also think that all of this will have absolutely zero positive effect on either policing, or bullying, or the general atmosphere in the Armitage social mediasphere. No one is going to change his/her behavior based on this.

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      • Well, to be fair, while I do wonder what he reads fandom-wise (and there have been a number of things he’s said recently that suggest he’s paying some attention), I don’t think he’s agreed to be a Cybersmile Ambassador to make a difference in the “Armitage social media sphere” or the policing problem we have in this fandom, though maybe he hopes it will have a positive effect tangentially. I figured he’s mostly concerned with helping youth who are targeted by cyberbullies. Chrystalchandylre posted an article tonight that opened my eyes to the statistics and they’re incredibly troubling. Not to minimize the problem of cyberbullying within the fandom as we know it raises its ugly head here, too… but I think his intention is mostly to reach out to young people as that seems to be a cause near and dear to his heart.

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        • well, but that’s part of why this is such a wrongheaded approach. He’s the one who said, “think where your words will go.” (This is also something every professor who teaches writing says to his/her class, albeit in a less judgmental way: think about your audience and its presuppositions when you think about what you will say.) Armitage wants this message to go to teens but the first readers will be fans, some of whom may be teens. I don’t see — how much he reads of the web neither here nor there — how he could avoid knowing that after ten years, or of somehow forgetting that he has 157k followers on Twitter. He was chosen for this job, I assume, because he has a social media following. So either (a) he forgot that hundreds of women are hanging off of his every word on Twitter, especially the superfans, and would react to what he is saying based on their own experiences (b) he realized fans would read this and react to it and he thought it was a good thing to be saying to fans or (c) he realized fans would read this and react to it and he didn’t care about our reactions.

          Now — it’s fair to say, fans weren’t necessarily his number one target with this. But he knew we would be likely to read it. And while you can say “this message isn’t for you,” you can’t forbid people from reading messages in light of their own experiences. That’s a natural, normal human reaction. To be honest — if I were going to say something about cyberbullying what he is saying is not what I would say. If one of my nieces were being cyberbullied, I would not recommend to her that she read this because I don’t think it is helpful at targets of bullying. It seems directed entirely at people who might be inclined to bully either on purpose or accidentally (slipping into it without thinking, which I do think happens). To me in that sense, it is largely counter-productive. Finally, he also had the opportunity to say — “teens, I am speaking direclty to you.” But in fact he not only does not say that, he seems to think that the behavior he is prescribing is applicable to all humans everywhere.

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          • I’m quite sure he knows a huge portion of the readers will be his fans, and I think, as he appears to mean well, that yes, he thought it would be a basically good thing he was saying. I also think he fully anticipated not all would receive his words well. You just said he was “prescribing behavior”, which is a touchy issue and I can see where you became uncomfortable with his post, where you felt maybe “preached at” and how that would bother you given your general distaste for prescriptions on others. What I meant was that I don’t think he originally embraced this cause in order to address the fandom issues, but really in reading some of what he said in the blog post, it was my impression that he was at times responding to some of the criticisms that have been directed at him by the fandom since his initial interview, which is absolutely his right to do, just as it is your right to respond on your blog the problems you had with his words. Whether each agrees or disagrees with his response to these criticisms, or his opinions on the topics he chose to write about, will be an individual reaction for each person who reads it. I don’t pretend I know what the best way to address the topic of cyberbullying is, but I’m pretty sure there’s no one best answer. The target audience may get nothing of value, or take one or two things to heart, or be mindblown by his abstract brilliance… who am I to say what others would get out of his post? I admired that he attempted to open up and share his thoughts, and I do think that many will find that valuable, though not everyone will. I admit I’m curious as to what you would say to the victims of cyberbullying if you were invited to blog on Cybersmile. I don’t know what I’d say. It’s definitely a tough topic upon which to offer advice.

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            • I’m not an expert, but here are some general observations:

              1. First timers / novices on the Internet should always use a pseud / avi, and they should create one / seek help creating one that is completely disconnected from their real identity. This means that if they do run afoul of something, it’s easier to “disappear.” It also makes it harder for real life predators to find someone they are looking for. This means they may have to violate the TOS of some social media platforms, but teens don’t read those anyway. If I were a parent, I would not let my minor child on FB, for instance, with their real name. Try to keep your kids away from snapchat and yikyak as long as possible.

              2. This is shouting into the wind with teens, but put as few pictures of yourself on the Internet as you can get away with.

              3. If you are cyberbullied by someone you know, tell an adult you trust (teacher, parent or other relative, coach, pastor, etc.) immediately. If the person you tell doesn’t understand the dimensions of the problem or tells you you are exaggerating, seek out another adult. Do not ever suffer in silence. Report any threats of harm to the police (IMO, skip the schools, which don’t really understand what they are dealing with, unless there is something going on in the realm of traditional bullying during the daytime).

              4. In the face of bullying online, do not respond. This is really important. Do not EVER respond. That is what the bully wants. Experienced bullies know how to trick novices into doing or saying things they will regret later. If a response is for some reason unavoidable, then the only acceptable response is RELENTLESS CHEER.

              5. In the case of organized school bullying like we’ve seen in the US in recent years, the problem seems to be that real life and social media life become so interconnected that the target can never escape the bullying. What goes on in the hallway at school seems to blend seamlessly into social media at night. You’re not going to stop bullies unless they do something illegal, but you do have the recourse of creating non-virtual spaces for yourself and find friends that aren’t connected to your social media networks. Adults can help with this. There are still plenty of things to do where you can make friends who will respect you that don’t involve nonstop social media exposure. Visiting elderly people, animal rescue / human society volunteer work, various kinds of volunteer work, reading, playing a musical instrument, doing crafts. Develop an awareness that you don’t have to be connected to your social media network all the time.

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              • That’s a great list. You know, last week when I was shooting some of the daily rehearsals by the dancers, I was noticing how many of them were glued to their phones/tablets in between their time on stage. And some were pretty young. I could not help but wonder about how heavily involved some of them might be in social media . . .

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              • That is a great list, and a lot more practical. LOL =) Still love RA and his heart’s in the right place, but I acknowledge that his efforts thus far may not be precisely what Cybersmile was looking for. That said, on the bright side, he has room for improvement and hopefully he’ll embrace it.

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              • That definitely is a great list. Seriously, maybe is could be sent to Cybersmile. I’m not being sarcastic, it is a comprehensive and helpful tool (I have advised my kids when they were younger to not respond as tormentors soon tire of tormenting and move on, unfortunately to a new victim, when there is no reaction).

                However, it is my feeling that RA’s initial messages were not designed to be that comprehensive in solutions, or techniques. The Ambassador role is probably more than a one tweet and one blog gig; perhaps he intends to move towards more concrete advice or strategies etc in future, who knows.

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            • I would add to this — find ways to teach yourself or strengthen your view (if possible, find adults and other friends to help) that you are not who other people say or think you are.

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  5. Well, if he wants to trigger discussion and debate among his followers, he did the job lol

    I’m used to pseudonyms and even most of my friends call me thus when we meet in RL instead of my real name. It’s a preference or taste on names, another choice rather than the one given by parents, and it’s where the fun could begin, I think.

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    • yeah, all kinds of reasons for pseuds. I have fandom friends where, even if I know their real names, we still call each by our pseuds.

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  6. Thank you! You very eloquently pointed out the things that were bothering me about the new “Human Condition” post.

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  7. Serv, you’ve made some very good points that I’m still digesting so I’m only going to respond to your last sentence: “…vaunting one’s humility is also a species of pride…”–this describes what I’ve been sensing for a long time about Richard especially after him joining Twitter. I remember his constant humble responses to the accolades from critics and subsequet Olivier nomination re: The Crucible made me at times want to shake him and tell him that it’s okay to tout your own horn! His sense of humility and deference felt to me like a form of his own vanity at times, which I agree with you is an all too human tendency.

    I was confused and put off by what I heard was RA’s explanation for the deleted selfie tweet, something about it
    it drawing too much attention to the person and not the project, which, if that was his real reason, is another example of a vain attempt at modesty. I’m sorry but if you’re in this game of show business and in competition with anyone from Cumberbatch to Mark Strong for good roles, I feel you can’t afford to NOT make waves and show the world how gorgeous, strong and capable you are.

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    • I agree. Sometimes he strays slightly into Uriah Heep territory.

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      • LOL! “Your humble servant . . .” I have to confess this week I was looking at some of the photos I took of the dancers last weekend and some additional photo edits and humble old me said, “Damn, I am good at this!” We don’t want RA to turn into Kanye West *shudders* but it is OK to say positive things about yourself and your abilities. It really IS.

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      • Thanks for citing Dickens. I wanted to but then decided it would be too much icing on the cake.

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    • I think it’s fine not to toot your horn (although as judiang points out below, it’s a bit incredible), but then please don’t brag about how you’re not doing it. That undercuts the point.

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  8. Birdie-Status: (still) alive and (softly) chirping. But oh man, it’s hard to breathe…..

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  9. That was the most surprising implication of this interview and the previous one, which seemed to espouse passive aggressiveness and conflict avoidance as virtuous life strategies.

    You hit the nail on the head. One of the symptoms of a seriously afflicted people pleaser. I would also add that some of his statements sounded amazingly naive for a man his age and choice of profession. And yes, also ironically he seems to wear his humility with pride when he could not have possibly gotten ahead in the cut-throat business without tooting his horn.

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    • I think the self-described late bloomer is having some trouble navigating the waters of social media . . . well, he *has* always had that thing about water, you know. I find myself wanting to say, “Richard, honey, I have a good decade on you and while I am not the cosmopolitan jet-setter you are, really, darling, I’ve been through that school of hard knocks. And maybe you should just hush for now.”

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      • Heh, I said that to a friend earlier. He needs to sit tight for awhile and get some social media savvy and experience under his belt before takes on an ambassadorship.

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        • Agreed. I think he would be better off primarily focusing on what we know he DOES do with incredible skill and finesse, acting (and possibly some forays into producing/directing if so inclined), and sort of stay away from this sort of thing until he has more of that necessary social media experience and savvy.

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          • As someone said to me last night, he could talk about his work, his characters, and the process of acting, and I’d listen until I fell over. Unfortunately he rarely seems to use Twitter for that.

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        • And I do believe he really does mean well—but that old adage keeps popping up in my mind: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

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  10. Ode to Lightening Up

    Do I really care about this stuff,
    Aren’t I in this for the fluff?
    Is Richard really sweet and humbler,
    Than other hot actors smoking on Tumblr?
    I am all for intelligent discussions,
    Airing our views without repercussions.
    Can online discourse avoid the shouting,
    And bullies be restrained from outing?
    Let’s throw out the hurtful words,
    All that vitriol is for the birds.
    Can we get back to his azure gaze,
    Or his eyelashes which can amaze.
    CyberSmile has some lofty goals,
    But sad to say, trolls will be trolls.

    I agree with you, Serv , especially on the points for not using a RL identity. I use mine, only because no one would care if I was ” outed”. I think CyberSmile is a worthy cause, but I am unclear on how they plan to minimize bullying or help victims fight against it. And for the record, I censor my negative comments to avoid controversy. I don’t mind being pilloried for a political stance, but I will not argue over a selfie or other RA related hot topics. Not sorry, don’t care.

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    • Love the poem, Kathy.

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    • I can’t write poems Kathryn (not even in German) but I agree to this comment and to a lot of what has been said in the other comments so far.
      My first thought after reading the article this morning was ‘Oh no’. I also think the ‘anti cyberbullying stance’ is mainly directed at young people. I know for a fact that using fake avis and names is an important piece of advice for all teenagers when joining social media. A victim of cycerbullying who has used their own name and photo may not be able to shake of the bullying long after deleting their various accounts just because it will be found via google for years…

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    • Love the poem. Most people have consciences and (his stripe of) preaching will have little or / no effect on those who don’t. I think no one is opposed to self-censorship. I know no one believes this but even I self censor 🙂

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    • Love the poem and the comment … and the post..and all comments ..and 🙂

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  11. 1) I don’t understand why he doesn’t get a publicity person of some sort to help him with things like this. I’d have appreciated a well-structured text.
    2) I guess this is directed at teens, but his choice of examples of art and his understanding of social media seems to be more fit for a target group his age?! (May I also say that the art choices are a tiny bit pretentious :D)
    3) I don’t want to sound preachy, BUT insert sermon – oh Richard 😀 if you wanna preach, then preach – and if you don’t, then just don’t do it
    4) he confirmed what I suspected for ages, he’s afraid to let go and give everything he’s got for his acting, because deep down he’s constantly monitoring himself and others. I’m sure there’s some crazy and kinky stuff there because we all have that in us (think Christopher Waltz, who’s not afraid to let it out), and I think he could be so much better if he showed more “courage” in his acting (in fact, I’m hoping he will some day). But it’s interesting that he blames bullying at school for this, it’s really the most interesting thing about this blog post. It makes total sense to me.
    5) I also get the feeling that he’s not really over it. I was bullied at school and if I had to write a piece like that I’d definitely adress the victims, too, and try to point them into the direction of resources and coping techniques and tell them hey, look where I am now – you can make it, too etc. But I read of a man who even in this text (and constantly on twitter) is basically apologizing for what he does.

    and… you know you always get asked if you could spend a night with a celebrity blah blah, and many people in the RA fandom say, oh, I’d just want to drink a bottle of Pinot Noir with him and talk with him about everything… I feel that we got a glimpse of that via this piece. I’m sure it sounds awful, but I still stand by it… I’d rather shag him. Because with every text he puts out there, I get turned off a little bit more. But it’s good in a way – loosing that pedestal that one puts their crushes on must be a good thing somehow. I just hope he doesn’t talk about feminism next because that I wouldn’t be able to digest I guess.

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    • Love your comment, esp. the last paragraph! ;P

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    • yeah, I’m sure there are a lot of teens these days listening to Fauré.

      re: 3 — yes, he contradicted his point about don’t say, “I don’t mean to be mean, but” when you know you are going to be mean. Don’t say you’re not preaching, but, and then preach.

      self-apology as a life strategy — you know, he said something about this in December but I didn’t take it seriously. This text definitely casts a ifferent light on that.

      I think for someone whose fandom has always been, and maybe still is, heavily composed of women over 30, he shows a remarkable insensitivity to a lot of women’s issues.

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    • I am wetting myself…..with laughter of course. Mrs Johns Standring, I salute you!

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    • LOL! that last thought is horrid, mrsjohnstandring 😀

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  12. Some good points as always Servetus 😉
    I’d like to add something from my astrological viewpoint however – because imho there are always two Richard’s fighting against each other:
    a) “Moody Richard” whose Moon is conjunct his Mercury – with this communication has to do with feelings – a lot. So he simply can’t always trust himself in spontaneous interview situations facing “unrehearsed” questions, because this might result in telling really personal things without thinking, when the interviewer manages to hit a spot on his Moon.
    b) “Richard the Actor” whose Mercury is in square to his Saturn – stands for communication under control. Saturn is the one who “makes you think twice” and who would prefer to write a thoroughly composed letter anytime to an impromptu speech.
    In this letter of his you can see that Jekyll isn’t always in control of Hyde – both sides clearly show 😉
    We are all struggling with our internal “demons” and strive for balance in our personal and private lives – so don’t be TOO harsh on him. He truly means well 🙂

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    • I don’t think anyone is being harsh here, assuming he’s an adult, of course.

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    • As I tweeted to him last night (at 2 a.m. my time), I think there are 2 Richards — Richard the actor & Richard the man. The actor puts on one heckuva good show. But I think (from what I’ve read) ths man sometimes feels unsure of himself and his abilities. I’d just like to hold tight the ‘little-boy-lost’ and tell him everthing is going to be all right.

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  13. Not sure I want to weigh in on this whole discussion in detail and I have very little time to comment right now, but want to let you know that, although I am not annoyed by RA’s blog as you are, I do really enjoy reading your critique. Always makes me pause and think. Thank you!

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    • Thanks for the comment. I can understand why anyone would want to stay out of it. Unfortunately, for me, there are things that he said in this interview that are crucial matters.

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      • Yeah, I can see that. 🙂

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        • It’s important, though. There are things I never comment on because they don’t move me, or the relationship between how I feel about them and the waves I’m likely to generate by expressing them suggests to me that it’s not worth the effort. I’m saying this mostly because I’m getting flak at the moment (not from you) for overreacting, and it’s a means of delegitimating the speaker that annoys me, because it’s impossible to respond to, and it’s arbitrary in the sense that the things that trip my trigger won’t trip someone else’s and vice versa.

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          • OK, just to be sure (and I think you know, but I just want it said): The “Yeah, I can see that.” that I wrote above was in no way meant disparagingly or sarcastically! And so we come to why I am careful to enter into these kinds of discussions or discussions on politics or religion or whatever online (not only here but on any written forum like e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) In writing, you don’t see the other person and their expression or body language, you don’t hear the intonation and meanings are often understood differently to how you meant to write them, no matter how carefully you try to phrase them. Even when people give you flak (although I do not doubt you get messages that leave nothing to the imagination!) they may not quite mean it the way you understand it…

            Last week at work I had a good example of this. I was writing something that I knew could be a little controversial that I wanted to send out to all my colleagues and open up a discussion. I made sure to write down certain conditions, just to avoid misunderstanding. And don’t you know it, a few days later someone came to me taking exception to what I had suggested in the email. I explained the conditions face to face to that person and he was like “Oh! If you mean that, then it’s OK.” I told him I had said that in my email too, but he said he had not understood it that way. So, in the end it was much ado about nothing…

            Isn’t it some rule in communication that 80% of meaning is given through body language and only 20% through words? It is easier to go into a fruitful discussion face-to-face than in writing as in writing you have to explain way more to get the same message across and emotions more easily get out of hand. So, for me, controversy can be much worse when done in writing than when it’s done face to face. As I am a harmomy-seeker that gets hard for me. So, in any written communication I receive – I can maybe take exception to what it says there but in my mind I always am very aware that this is my own interpretation of what I am reading.

            That doesn’t mean I think these things should not be discussed in writing! It is good that they are discussed! It just means that I pick my battles so to speak, and this isn’t one I want to enter into. It has everything to do with recognizing that RA’s intention is very sincere, and I love that, but also seeing that the execution may be a little uneven here and there. OK, shutting up about that now. 🙂

            I hate that you get flak for ‘overreacting’! I am so sorry for that, because it is always brave to put yourself out there and it is hurtful when reactions get out of hand. It is very obvious to me that this is close to your heart and that is why you write about it so much and so passionately. Even if others disagree with you, there is no need to get nasty about it. So, I get when RA says you need to think before you write – but even when you do, everything still very much remains open to interpretation, especially when things are worded a little vaguely or when emotion takes over. Even what I wrote here can be taken differently to how I meant it, but I wanted to share this anyhow. 🙂

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  14. I am totally ambivalent about this whole cyberbully-ambassador-thing!
    I mean it is a great cause and I am sure like already stated in the comments above he means well but it seems odd to me that this organisation choose someone as an ambassador who uses Twitter (as far as we know) only 10 month and as no experience with FB, etc. (as far es we know) – like I said today via Twitter: It’s like you would hire a novice driver for Ferrari to be a Formula One driver.
    Btw, I must admit I was really relieved when I learned that some of the native speaker hadn’t understood everything he wrote because I sure hadn’t and thought reason for that was the barrier of language 🙂

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    • Right there with you, Herba.

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    • same 🙂 as I said I wish I could understand everything he tried to say but in places it was a bit too muddled for me. However, I find it so interesting to get to know his thought process (not what he SAYS about how he thinks, but what he gives away by writing, which is far more revealing). creepy stalker mode hahahaha

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      • I agree. Native speaker here, and still puzzled by a few things after re-reading a couple of times. That said, the blog post was “revealing” in other ways that I could appreciate, namely about him.

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    • No. He has problems with syntax when it moves beyond the sentence level. Sentences move from theme to theme, paragraphs don’t hang together, and he buries the lede / thesis statement. He writes as he speaks, and while we often accept this sort of stream of consciousness in oral discourse, that approach makes it really difficult to communicate a coherent idea in words, where people aren’t absorbing the message so quickly and can and will pause to reread and think when they don’t understand. It’s frustrating to read this because it would be so easy for someone to help him express himself clearly.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Love you, Kathy Jones.

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  15. Well said, Servetus.
    Pour ma part, R.A m’a ennuyée (this preaching/non-preaching stuff….) mais à un point ! Un vrai donneur de leçons… Enfin….personne n’est parfait.
    Note: Voltaire n’a jamais écrit « Je ne suis pas d’accord avec ce que vous dites, mais je me battrai jusqu’à la mort pour que vous ayez le droit de le dire » (“I may not agree with what you have to say, but I will defend to your death the right to say it.”) ^^
    http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evelyn_Beatrice_Hall

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    • Thanks, I did not know that. My experience of Voltair is limited to reading the Philosophical Letters in undergraduate and then again in graduate school ….

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Hmmm. I haven’t read through everything here…looks pretty daunting. I disagreed with one thing only about RA’s guest blog on Cybersmile…the use of anonymous online…for obvious safety and security reasons mostly. Regarding the rest? I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with it. There is a term I am looking for…that I heard recently regarding the debate re climate change…something like subjective listening…something along the lines of one interprets what is said or written by their own personal agenda, beliefs, biases. So RA posted a blog. But, some say he has no business stating a point of view or an opinion. Really? Some say he is an actor and should stick to talking about that. Really? Only an expert on the topic who is bullet proof media savvy dare wade in? I am sure an accomplished actor in the business for 15 or so years who has worked on at least 3 continents and in contact regularly with people of all social and economic classes and of many creeds and races, prolonged filming locations in different countries with different types of politics and working along side people with different levels of formal and non formal education knows a thing or two and by now is pretty well versed by advisors and handlers in what to say and what not to say in public. That he is venturing out and stating an opinion regardless I think is great.

    I truly don’t understand how a pretty simple message on behalf of Cybersmile encouraging people to be decent human beings is so controversial. I didn’t get from it that it was preaching, advocating censorship or indicating debate and criticisms and humour (even sarcasm) was not welcome….just that mean humour for the sake of a cheap laugh may not be the best you can be. I did not read into it that political humour or sarcasm is wrong…only if used for a cheap laugh and only for a cheap laugh. I have read all the statements about ‘he should be aware of this and that’ ‘who is message has affected’ all of it. I just dont understand what is going on here. I really don’t. I don’t see where censorship comes into play. He asserts a right to tune out probably a lot of nasty or explicit stuff I am sure is directed at him. Sexual stuff cause he’s so hot, stuff like ‘I hate you, you ruined The Hobbit forever for me’. Whatever. I don’t understand why some are saying he should shut up and keep his opinions to himself. Please note, I am not defending him per se, just I am not getting why he, or anyone, can’t state Their opinion but the rest of us feel free to express all over the place. Yes, he and his like are celebrities and reach a wide audience. My choice what and if I listen. If Courtney Love wants to tell me shooting heroin is a fun Friday night and Madonna thinks getting it on with toy boy younger than her daughter is socially acceptable, well, I may not agree but she can say it all she likes. It’s my right to tune her out. RA is not saying there is no place for freedom of expression or sex or violence or tenderness or ugliness or nastiness in art or online… what I got out of it is the simple message of don’t go flaming all over the internet and, be it good or be it bad, just think and be sure of what you want to say before posting. I feel it before I think it. And I’m really not good at thinking things through and dissecting every finer point. If it feels right, it is right.

    Anyhow, if you are an Ambassador for, let’s say, Unicef…are you to be the resident expert and if not, just stand there and look pretty and keep your mouth shut? How much of an expert do you need to be before you speak (or write)? From what I have been reading lately the world should be very quiet right now. And dark. With nothing to read. Because none of us, as far as I know, are experts. But, we certainly are feeling free to state our opinions. As does he. On his guest blog. Where seemingly the same rules of freedom of expression seem not to apply. Do you have to have the solution to the famine, the war, the displaced, etc. Do you have to have the solution and then implement it to be a good Ambassador? Do you have to be knowledgable? Yes. Do you have to be an expert? No. You are an Ambassador. You are spreading the message, trying to be an example. Should RA just shut up because he isn’t the be all and end all media savvy expert with all the answers? Should he just be relegated as pin up boy because he is an actor? Did Tom Hiddleston get all this when he did that video about bullying?

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    • I haven’t read in this strand or elsewhere on the web (admittedly I haven’t been to tumblr recently) anyone saying he should “shut up and keep his opinions to himself.” I am not arguing that, neither is Judiang, neither is anyone here. IMO that’s a straw man.

      The thing is that “if it feels right, it is right” can be justified to support anything as long as the person who says it feels good about it. Hence his point about how there’s a “trippy” quality to social media and the Internet. That doesn’t differentiate what you think is good from what anyone else thinks is good. I see people in a state of high moral conviction frequently, whom I am sure feel good about what they say. That doesn’t make it right.

      Again, I don’t think anyone said he shouldn’t blog. I also think we are free to disagree with what he says when he does.

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      • I personally think my husband of thirty years (come Monday) is the greatest thing since sliced bread and I don’t agree with everything he says/does nor does he expect me to. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for RA AND because I do and because I know what he is capable of and how well intentioned he is, I sincerely hope this ambassadorship gig works out well and accomplishes what he and Cybersmile wish it to.

        But if I think his message (as of now) is vague and muddled, If I believe he could be more effective, I feel I have the right to say so. I don’t think he’s just a pretty face by no means, but I do definitely believe he would have been better off having more social media experience and savvy under his belt before he embarked on it. I appreciate Servetus for allowing me to express my opinion here. I don’t ask anyone else to accept or agree with my viewpoint.

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      • It irritates me when people act so ‘holy art thou.’ Mr. Armitage does not see how pretentious his words have appeared to many people of lately. Many of his fans do not care. They would follow him blindly. If he told them to jump off a cliff, they probably would do that. I like his work, but if it came down to that I would probably be the one to push him off the cliff first. j/k lol

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        • I think there are cultural differences at work here that influence these perceptions. In some cultures making assertions about one’s own virtue is more acceptable than in others, and I admit that I have a particular kind of allergy to it.

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  17. Well said.

    You are not discrediting Mr. Armitage at all. I think it’s okay to disagree people whose work you admire. He does come across as preachy at times in his tweets and interviews, which doesn’t make me think less of him as a person. Like many people who have taken an interest in Mr. Armitage’s work, I hardly know the man so I cannot comment on him as a person. All I know about him is that he is a really good actor and chicks (ladies and maybe some guys) are obsessed with him.

    No one outside of his inner circle of family and friends could truly know him as a person. For all we know, he could be married with 2.5 kids and living in a four bedroom house in England with a white picket fence. He is a good actor, you know, so anything is possible since we know very little about his personal life. In this case, he maintain some anonymity. Frankly, it’s not any of our business who he is or what he does outside of his profession.

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    • I don’t know that I agree with what I understood of the last sentence, but I am on board with the rest.

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      • For clarification, I was trying to say that his personal life should be none of his fans or the general publics concern. Other than his job as an actor and celebrity, no one should really care or spend their time pondering what he does in his spare time outside work. Some of fans think they know everything about him and behave like they know him at a person level. I think he should be able to maintain some privacy in life without people needing to know what the man does 24/7.

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        • … correction on the second to last sentence, I meant to type in “a personal level.” Sorry.

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          • Yup, i disagree. I don’t need infomation about what he does in his private life, but I do care about it and I will inevitably ponder the question. It’s dangerous to tell people what they should / shouldn’t think about, IMO.

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            • I totally agree with your last sentence. I get really irritated when some stranger tells me what to do. I just have to learn to hit the ignore button more often.

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  18. […] of other fans are typically pointless, in that they case more strife than they prevent, and are destructive both to creativity and fan diversity, but to the notion of a Richard Armitage fandom itself, in that attempts to control and preach […]

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  19. […] “Switch the [Richard Armitage] off” (June 12, 2015). Response to Richard Armitage’s second piece for Cybersmile.org. This post reflected an absolute nadir for me in feelings about Armitage. […]

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  20. […] described himself as a “people pleaser” or someone who tries to be accommodating and as humble as possible. One could say that essentially I’d picked a contrary-to-fact feature for my […]

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  21. […] took another opportunity to response to criticisms, which is here. My response to that post is here, and here’s a guest post by Judiang that articulated additional concerns I endorse(d). At […]

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  22. […] gotten another message. There are many reasons I can’t get on board with this initiative, a lot of them having to do with free speech issues, and I won’t go through them again, but one that I haven’t discussed yet is my […]

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  23. […] a plus, and which is important for the emotional project behind this blog, even when what he says bothers or enrages […]

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