2015 at “me + richard armitage” in review, part two

Continued from here and to some extent here. Pictures in this post are entirely arbitrary and here to break up textblocks.

Why is this post so hard to write? So hard, even to start? And then publish?

I’m wrestling with a paradox that I hope becomes obvious in its progressively deepening iterations. It’s definitely been laming my writing, although I think I know the way out now.

To make this clear, I think have to go back to the fall of 2014 to start the story, and I have to reference, as well, my narrative about the 2014 pre-Christmas fallout. (So I apologize, ahead of time, for potentially fanning those embers. I can’t avoid it, though, and still be honest. And to those who are made nervous by the disclosure of the nuts and bolts of my thought process — yeah, it makes me nervous, too, to say this much. I am concerned about this much vulnerability. Then again, this blog was all about vulnerability and honesty being okay. “me + richard armitage” is my experiment, its content is not determined by others’ definitions of appropriate or inappropriate fandom.)

me + richard armitage + entitlement

This section is continued from here.

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I got derailed on continuing this because I didn’t expect substantive disagreement on the point that the “no favouritism” tweet Richard Armitage made at the time was a response to what was going on that week in the fandom and not just a general Christmas message. Originally I had written quite a bit about why I had reasoned that way, but I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter for the purposes of the story. What matters is that I did suddenly have the shocking perception that he might be paying attention. I’ve had a lot of conversations this year with fans who think he’s paying attention to them, such that a separate post on fan cognition might be worth it eventually, but I’ll skip that now, because what matters for the purposes of explanation is what I felt at the time was happening. And at the time, I thought: Armitage (or his tweeter) thinks that the reason for this disagreement is something about favoritism. And also: That’s not what it’s about for me.

I guess the executive summary of the answer to the question — if I concluded that Richard Armitage had noticed me, how did I feel about it? — is: Badly. For him and for me, even though I still stand behind everything I wrote and did in December 2014 (remember what I said about not being to publish unless I think something is the best I think I can do), and everything since then. And now we get to the reason that I decided to come clean in the earlier posts in this series — because the situation has always been murky and it felt like it was getting murkier. As long as I felt or could plausibly say or convince myself that Richard Armitage was not noticing me, I felt like the blog was largely not a problem, no matter what I wrote on it. Twitter complicated that, obviously — not because it became easier for him to notice things, he always could have done that — but because it became easier for him to respond to them, or at least to be thought to be responding to them.

And the bigger issue is the social media world that surrounds us and the possibilities (whether real or illusory) it affords us.

Going back a step

So, do you all remember this, back in October 2014?

Armitage was filming Sleepwalker at the time, and after some very dark pictures had been tweeted, some fans were tweeting him and Elliott Lester that they wanted a better picture. Other fans protested that asking Armitage or those working with him for a photo was an inappropriate use of Twitter. I felt that this was the sort of thing Twitter was for — allowing fans an illusion of direct communication with Armitage, or a capacity to participate or even influence — and so there was no harm in them importuning him for a photo, as to my thinking he could not possibly have felt seriously pressured by such requests. In other words, I thought that there was no harm to fans expressing their desires, as they would not influence him in a direction he didn’t like in either case.

So now, fast forward to December. I had not been enthusiastic about Marlise Boland’s interviews of Armitage when they had been published in the spring, but I had never written my criticisms directly, only in oblique comments. I figured the interviewers were a one-off in Boland’s attempts to build up her youtube channel, anyway, and I hadn’t anticipated that she would become the vehicle for Armitage’s appearance on Twitter, in a way that I found questionable. When she surfaced as the person who was going to do the fan interview for The Battle of Five Armies publicity, and then did the first interview, I was equally troubled by her interviewing, which hadn’t changed much in style if at all. And I thought, you know, I’m allowed to state an opinion, so I will.

And then, as so often, the discussion got off topic, degenerating from its initial focus on whether Marlise Boland is a poor interviewer or someone that fans would like to see interviewing Armitage again and again, to a defense of the right to speak critically at all about fan matters, and accusations that those who insisted on their right to speak were bullies. This is a button that is too easy to push with me, because I resent the idea that as a fan one must simply call everything good, and a lot of this blog is devoted to critiquing the sort of product that is given to us by the press. Since, in fact, none of these criticism have ever actually stopped me from writing, only tired me out or slowed me down, I should possibly stop giving in to my impulse to reply.

me + fandom + entitlement

Richard Armitage signs autographs at the BAFTA red carpet, May 2010.

Richard Armitage signs autographs at the BAFTA red carpet, May 2010.

But I’m left with the problem of entitlement. When, if ever, is it permissible for a fan to make a request? Is expressing an opinion about something the same thing as making a request? (In the case above, is saying “I don’t like this interviewer” the same as asking, “please don’t ever do an interview with this interviewer again?” or demanding the same?) If one makes a longterm investment in a fandom, at what point is it reasonable for a fan to disagree with the direction a fandom (or the career of the object of the fandom) is taking?

My answers to these questions have long been relatively unproblematic for me. One can always ask, as long as the request is not intrusive or damaging to Armitage’s privacy, but has no right to expect a positive response. So from my perspective, no matter how I feel about the taste issue personally (i.e., my own reaction to what is asked), fans should be able to make whatever requests they like of Armitage on Twitter. This is one of the defined purposes of the platform, in my opinion, and the requests don’t have to be limited to things Armitage wants to hear, because this is also one of the outcomes of the structure of the platform. To me, there is a difference between expressing an opinion about something (“I don’t like Hannibal“) and making requests (“Please don’t do another project like Hannibal“) or demands based on one’s opinion. While all these should be seen as permissible statements, again, one has the right to express one’s opinion; no one has the right to expect that her opinion be influential. “I disagree with your politics” is a different statement than “You have no right to speak about your politics.” (I admit, I always wonder, when someone questions someone else’s very right to speak — and note that doing that is different than disagreeing with them or pointing out errors in what they are saying — what they are afraid of.)

Finally, I think that one has the right to speak, whether positively or negatively, about things in which one has made a long-term investment. (So, yeah, the “why are you a fan if you criticize Armitage? / why do you analyze things so much?” argument has historically had and has little effect on me; I said how I feel about that years ago and nothing’s changed.) My personal stance is that fans should have no influence at all on role choice. I/we haven’t made that kind of investment in his career. However, we certainly have the right to react to role choice, not just with our feet, but also with our words. And when it comes to fandom, I’ve made a long-term enough investment in it to feel it acceptable if I express opinions about that, even if I apply certain rules as to what I will say about it publicly.

Richard Armitage signs autographs on the red carpet for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Wellington, November 2012.

Richard Armitage signs autographs on the red carpet for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Wellington, November 2012.

I have often had the feeling that some fans believe that expressing any other opinion at all beyond an unreservedly positive one constitutes (an inappropriate) sentiment of entitlement. By that definition I would be the epitome of the “entitled” fan, since there are very few issues that I haven’t offered an opinion on, often a critical one, in the last six years or so. However, if entitlement is “the feeling that you deserve to get what you want based on your opinions,” I don’t feel that I am entitled, because I have never thought that I deserved either to get what I wanted, or even to be listened to by Armitage. I have felt, do feel, that I deserve to be able articulate my opinion on my own blog and to be able to talk about it rationally (see comments policy!) with people who want to talk about it. Moreover, while I can account for certain reactions or misunderstandings and try to avoid creating them, it’s been a theme of this blog since at least the Spring of 2012 that no blogger can possibly be required to anticipate, accommodate, and adjust for every possible reaction that any hypothetical reader could have to what one writes. If that were necessary, no one would write anything, because every position anyone could take will be problematic to some reader. The audience for this blog is not infinite.

[By the bye — all of this, of course, presupposes (an) interlocutor(s) who can deal with the free expression of opinions — but before I get to Richard Armitage, I need to clarify something about myself as a writer, first.]

me + communication + entitlement

Richard Armitage "tweeting" fans during Hobbit promo tour #1, 2012.

Richard Armitage “tweeting” fans during Hobbit promo tour #1, 2012. This photo was meant to reflect his second or third experiment with the “Twitter interview” format.

There’s the first paradox — because what is it that one wants to achieve when writing or speaking?

Presumably when fans tweet Richard Armitage that they want a picture, in fact they do want a picture. There was no parallel goal for me, in that I wasn’t writing to Armitage, but only for myself and the potentially like-minded. I willingly admit that I hope never to have to make the decision to suffer through another Boland interview of Armitage, but as I hope I have substantiated above, expressing that opinion was not the same as seeking to prevent him from being interviewed by her if that were his choice. I admit, as I said at the time, that having to see him filtered through her as “the voice of the fans” was a turnoff that might eventually have become a dealbreaker for me. Still, my goal in writing in the first place was never so far-reaching. I sought to engender a discussion of the merits of the interviews, in a setting where I was reading little but open jubilation and praise for her work, and then to defend my right to speak critically of her. In essence, part of a fandom is supposed to be about talking (frankly) about things that happen in the fandom and when one can’t do that, one is being unfairly frustrated.

But to get back to the question: yes, when one writes, one does want to be read. One is always writing for someone — even if only for the hypothetical person who will read one’s diary after one dies, or even for oneself. If one did not want to communicate, there would be no reason to write. Richard Armitage was never in the intended audience of this blog, but one cannot write without audience and there is absolutely a factor of wanting to be read and talked to when I blog here.

Lucas North (Richard Armitage) seeks information about Maya in Spooks 9.2. Cap.

Lucas North (Richard Armitage) seeks information about Maya in Spooks 9.2. Cap.

So the problem is really wanting to be able to speak and have a discussion about what’s going on in the fandom — which is the point of talking to point in the fandom in the first place — without being seen to be making binding prescriptions about it. I want to be able to speak my mind about Armitage without verging on the terrain of expecting him to do as I wish, even if I do express my preferences in that regard. As I sketched out above, to me, saying what one wishes would happen is not the same as expecting or insisting that it actually happen; “I wish Richard Armitage would not play James Bond” does not carrying the same expectation as “I insist that Armitage not play Bond.” This was an easier line to maintain before Armitage joined Twitter, as it was eminently reasonable to assume that he wasn’t paying attention, or if he was, then that he wasn’t going to respond because he had no mechanism to do so. When one spoke in public about him, one could not be seen to be speaking to him directly.

All of that changed when Armitage joined Twitter.

As the social media world has changed, the sources of audiences for this blog have changed as well. At one time they came primarily from WordPress or other fan-specific forums; there was a period where most came from tumblr; and in the last year or two, most have come from pinterest or Twitter. So if I want to speak about Armitage and alert people to what I am saying, I must tweet (and I would argue this is the same for any other blogger who actively seeks an audience; a Twitter presence, no matter how minimal, is indispensable as a tool for finding people). Before anyone objects — the point of seeking an audience is not necessarily to have the audience agree with one — but in order to find people to talk to, one must go where they are, and since Armitage is on Twitter, that’s the most active segment of the fandom right now. Who wishes to find people with whom to talk about Armitage, must eventually go there.

First picture of himself tweeted by Richard Armitage, August 22, 2014.

First picture of himself tweeted by Richard Armitage, August 22, 2014.

I have typically skirted the problem by not tweeting @RCArmitage (although I did that recently in a moment of extreme frustration, I regretted it immediately because it happened at a moment when I lost my temper with the discussion around Michelle Forbes. Still I can’t undo it and I am not going to make believe I didn’t do it by deleting the tweet). I have as much right to be on Twitter and talk about Armitage there as anyone else, and in fact, I and other fans were there having conversations about him for years, well before he joined it. Still, it’s not an uncommon perception, I suspect, that Twitter is less fun since the advent of @RCArmitage, and particularly since his prescription that people not talk in ways that might be offensive to mums and children. His very presence there enhances the impression that he is listening and that fan speech must be moderated to accommodate that awareness. Still, the terms of this blog never included Armitage in its audience and that has not changed simply because he’s decided to tweet in the interval. That he can hear in that setting does not require that he must pay attention.

I know that the behavior of many Armitage fan tweeps suggests that they believe that his presence on Twitter is more important than that of anyone else, but I would argue exactly the opposite, in full awareness that a lot of people will disagree with me. I would put it this way: Armitage is the most important person in his own sphere and his own career and so on. In the world of the Richard Armitage fandom, however, if Armitage chooses to be present via Twitter, his needs, desires and expectations are one among a group of these. @RCArmitage does not own the Richard Armitage fandom. Within the Twittersphere, Richard Armitage is just as important, or unimportant, as anyone else.

Last piece: Who I need Richard Armitage to be

Richard Armitage, in rehearsal for The Crucible, 2014. From the program.

Richard Armitage, in rehearsal for The Crucible, 2014. From the program.

A last thing I need to mention as part of the context for this discussion is the whole question of the nature of the Richard Armitage fantasy. I’d mentioned a long time ago that the role of Armitage in the fantasy is to be what each of us needs him to be. This was another way of expressing my long-held opinion that, absent personal knowledge of the man at a level that no fan I know has, all of our ideas of him are pieces of a fantasy that we build individually and collectively. (I started to write about this about a year ago — I called this fantasy construct a tulpa.) It’s interesting to reread that earlier post about “being who I need you to be” now, insofar as it included, at the time, many of my preferences, and it also included things that turned out to be prescient. However, the main addition I need to make to it at this point is something that is not in the original post — my realization in the interval that the fantasy of Armitage for me is someone who doesn’t simply accede to everyone’s requests to be who they need him to be. That is to say, my Richard Armitage tulpa is someone who is capable of surviving the decision to to please people.

There are reasons why that is the case — and I will go into this more into the next post — but it’s a real problem insofar as Armitage has repeatedly 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 tulpa. Initially, I didn’t do this stupidly, simply because I assumed that anyone who made it as far as Armitage has professionally could not have done so without at least some friction in his life and that any artist, in order to make an artistic statement, must be able to hold his own against the pressure of others. Then, too, I watched him do that, night after night, in London in the summer of 2014, so that was the sort of act I thought him capable of. His interviews that summer, especially the one with the annoying Tanya Gold, seemed to suggest that he was capable of holding his own against pressures of various kinds.

Summary

BuY-gAxCQAAGcXMSo, to put the pieces together: I had settled the questions of fan entitlement for myself in a way that satisfied me philosophically (even if it might not work for everyone). I didn’t want to be talking to Richard Armitage or influencing his choices or behavior. However, his appearance on Twitter in August of 2014 complicated that problem, at least hypothetically. Once he joined Twitter, I did not feel that Richard Armitage had a greater right to shelter from the discursive rules of Twitter than other users do, but my picture of who I needed him to be also suggested that he was robust enough to withstand or ignore critical statements about him, even if he were more prone to seeing them than he might have been before tweeting. In December of 2014, there was suddenly a sign that maybe I had participated in the fandom in a way that he had taken notice of.

I was relieved that Armitage apparently didn’t intend to have Marlise Boland deliver his Christmas message, but this was way too close for comfort for me. So I was queasy. Around my birthday, in the spring of 2015, I made the decision that I was going to leave the position I had, and while I didn’t do it “because of Richard Armitage,” I admit that the picture of the artist as someone who is willing to make uncomfortable choices and sacrifices in order to achieve his or her artistic goals was influential. I built this picture involving Richard Armitage and his appearance in The Crucible in increasing detail in my mind after the summer of 2014, and then again particularly during the spring of 2015, when I was watching The Crucible actively as a means of counteracting my issues with Hannibal.

And then — Cybersmile hit. Since I’m at 3500+ words, I’ll stop now and try to continue tomorrow.

~ by Servetus on March 20, 2016.

45 Responses to “2015 at “me + richard armitage” in review, part two”

  1. Brave and brutally honest. I admire your courage to face yourself in the mirror and write so eloquently about what you see there. X

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  2. When truths are spoken head on, nothing can be taken away. Waiting for your continuation with understanding.

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    • Thanks — I appreciate it. I think at least some of hesitance has to do with my awareness that there could potentially be so much disapproval of what I might say (among people with the patience to read it and/or who care) but I’ve gotta get past this block, so here it is.

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  3. “me + richard armitage is my experiment, its content is not determined by others’ definitions of appropriate or inappropriate fandom.” I’m so glad to see that you are willing to be vulnerable again. I respect your views greatly and they’ve always helped me see my own views more clearly, even when what I see is not something that I’m ready to admit to yet. I’ve ridden both sides of the fence in regards to keeping fandom positive or facing the negative views head on and discussing them openly. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s my responsibility to deal with my own insecurities and I shouldn’t expect others to tip toe around my issues in order to “stay positive” or “be real”, whatever the case may be on any given day. I personally can’t grow if I don’t analyze and that does not always work with the “stay positive” mantra. others may be perfectly fine with where they are and I am happy for them, but I am not fine. I need more from this fan experience than to just celebrate. that’s not a reflection of anyone else but me. my hope is that others, Richard Armitage included, can understand that. you take care of you and I’ll take care of me and hopefully we can share the same path in doing so. but I shouldn’t dictate to others what is acceptable behavior for sharing my path. if I don’t like it then it’s up to me to adjust my pace or position, not theirs. none of us own the path; none of us own the fandom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate the comment a lot. I think my only choice is to say a fair number of unpleasant things about my perceptions of the last year so … hopefully people can accept it for what it is.

      It’s interesting that you raised Richard Armitage here — I dreamed about him several times last night, for the first time in many, many months. They weren’t pleasant dreams, exactly, but I felt like it was a good sign. I do feel like he can take care of himself, anyway.

      There’s a sort of organizational problem in fandom in general I think — it’s hard to object in any vociferous way to positivity (although I think there are dangerous kinds of positivity), whereas it’s easy to object to negativity, or, let’s call it: criticism. My hope is always that over the years people learn that if they can’t live with my level of criticism there are other places for them — and that I haven’t been uniformly negative about fan positivity.

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  4. Finally more than 3500 words. I missed it! Waiting for more, ehrlich 😉 War ein wenig aus der Übung…..

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  5. I very interesting post, Servetus. I’m looking forward to reading more. Still not entirely sure whether or not I missed out, because I never really invested that much energy in a ‘celebrity’/ fan activity like writing a blog, for instance.
    I assume you ruffled some feathers along the way, well, from my experience it seems that people today get more aggressive and are quicker to shoot down different views – especially online – when they have to face an opinion that is not cute and fluffy. Tough. I would operate under the assumption that it’s your blog and therefore your rules. Anybody who doesn’t like it (incl RA in case he should accidentally stumble upon it), don’t read, return to google and try something else.

    I have a hypothetical question, if I may. Have you ever thought about what would happened with this blog, for expample, if your ‘fantasy’ (for a lack of a better word) with RA would die down? Would you just change the headline and keep blogging anyway?

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    • I was a blogger before this blog (see “about” in the sidebar). In any case, I would definitely keep writing, the question has been what I would write.

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  6. Ich denke nicht, dass du dich für deine kritische Art der Auseinandersetzung mit der Arbeit und der Person von RA rechtfertigen oder entschuldigen musst. Dies ist dein Blog und du schreibst sehr persönlich, ohne den Anspruch auf eine allgemeingültige, einzig wahre Sichtweise zu erheben. Ich folge deinen Gedanken hier noch nicht sehr lange und habe schon festgestellt, dass ich bin keinesfalls immer deiner Meinung bin. Du scheinst große Lust am Widerspruch und an einer schönen, kontroversen Diskussion zu haben. Aber gerade das finde ich ja anregend und höchst interessant… Du investierst eine Menge Herzblut in diese Sache. (Mehr als 3500 (englische) Worte sind eine echte Herausforderung für mich!)
    Wer die Herausforderung scheut, der sucht sich eben einen anderen Ort im www – es gibt eine große Auswahl.
    Für uneingeschränkte Begeisterung und ausgedehnte Lobhudelei finden wir immer noch genug Zeit 🙂

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    • it’s true that I’m a big friend of controversial discussion (according to certain rules) — that’s a symptom of so long spent in univrsities. Thanks for every word you read!

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  7. And this is why yours is the only RA blog I read regularly. You’re critical, yes, but in a way that seems very clear-eyed and self-aware to me. And to an extent, watching you process your own reactions has helped me work through mine. Thanks for all of it.

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  8. wow, was für ein ausführlicher und interessanter Post! Ich stimme Dir bei fast allem zu. Dies ist Dein Blog, Du gibst hier den Rahmen vor und das Thema. Wir Leser können entscheiden ob wir es lesen wollen, kommentieren wollen oder nicht! Du stellst Dich auch kritischen Kommentaren zu Deinen Beiträgen! Diese Entscheidung hat sogar Mr. A, falls er Deinen Blog liest. Da er nicht kommentiert, werden wir wohl nie erfahren wie er darüber denkt.
    Ich finde Deine manchmal kritische Betrachtung gut. Einen Menschen auf ein Podest zu stellen und anzuhimmeln hat noch niemandem gut getan. Und nur an objektiver Kritik kann man wachsen…. wenn er es denn je lesen würde 🙂
    Bei allem merkt man dennoch wie viel Achtung hinter Deinen Äußerungen steckt und die Wertschätzung. Wer das nicht sehen kann hat Deinen Blog nicht verstanden…….
    Mach bitte weiter so!

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  9. I echo what some others have expressed — reading your reflections and your ideas and following how you process things has helped me immensely in my own path to self-awareness, viewed through the lens of the Armitage fan world. I have not been a fan as long as you, for me it started in October 2014, but what followed were many months of intense following of Armitage — the whole things was perplexing and out of character for me and I found your blog was something of a Godsend in that it reassured me that I was still relatively “normal!”
    As I have told you many times before, I enjoy your blog whether you write about Armitage or not. I do not find you to be “negative” at all. It is my view that people who are uncomfortable with any type of critical discussion will often immediately cry “stop being negative!” Some of us work in fields where debate (sometimes aggressive debate!) is a normal thing, but clearly it’s not for everyone. I would think by now, after several years have passed, that fans would be aware that your blog is not the “roses and rainbows” version of being a Richard Armitage fan. If people want the purple ponies version of the fandom there are probably plenty of other blogs or sites where they can get what they need. I am pleased that you have let go of some of your trepidation about writing what may be perceived as controversial, and I know from reading the comments that there are several of us who find your writing intriguing and thought-provoking.

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  10. Happy to be reading here and wouldn’t change all that’s been posted for any reason or anyone. As always, this is an interesting read and I’m looking forward to your further development on the topic! However you need to process your experiences is fine with your readers, after all…this is your space!

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  11. Reading this was like letting go in a big exhaling breath, the tension left my shoulders. No one else writes like you Serv’ and I’ve missed it, I’m so looking forward to more. xx

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  12. Can’t wait for part two. In the five years (can it be that long?) since I started reading you, you have been fearless in your writing. Whether it was about your career, family or RAdom, you communicated your feelings clearly. And I have said before, you always explain logically where your opinions are coming from. I think RA can survive a little negativity, he is a big boy, after all.

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  13. I don’t want to whine…but tomorrow is now 😉

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    • go ahead and whine. I got caught up with work last night but it’s in that “I have to finish this” stage in my mind, so it’s burning away …

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  14. So glad you’re ready to share – great job w/both summary & details, as usual. “More, please” 🙂

    (Also enjoyed re-reading “Be who I need you to be”, btw. While it makes me no more certain what his personal choices and needs really are, somehow it makes me smile and really want to “release” him to his own path….though I can’t imagine really having the power to keep him from it ❤ )

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    • yeah, I think if he knows he’ll go down that path, no? One just kind of wishes he’d pick (or hopes that he has — I think this is a component of my “I need you to be happy” wish)

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I reflect a lot after this kind of posts.
    On me,on him,on why I disagree so much with him.
    I really admire your ability of writing and the strength of your opinions.

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  16. You know what I really regret? The fact that we can’t sit down over coffee and/or a meal and really discuss in person. I love the comment above from Babette about many sites being all “roses and rainbows” …lol. It’s true, and the roses and rainbows sites drive me batty to be honest. I would much rather read a balanced viewpoint. I can’t say that I have ever been courageous enough to write a lot of what I think on my own blog and I keep much to myself. Moreover, family dramas tend to get in the way of posting and I’m inclined to just get a ‘quick hit’ by reading various forum posts – in those, posters tend to get howled down if they perceive so much as a minor criticism of his work. (This happened with a comment re. a perception I had re. The Crucible onscreen. I must be of the 0.25% who found it a little disappointing – but I guess an onscreen experience can never equal the live performance).

    There have been a couple of semi ‘deal breaker’ experiences over this fan journey of mine but I’ve hung on to date. I’m interested in reading further about the fantasy construct you mention, as my own fantasy was undermined somewhat by my own Wellington red carpet experience, and then by random comments made by behind the scenes people (including location/land owners) on my various trips to NZ. I therefore find it difficult to marry the public image conveyed by Boland, twitter, with the ‘Armitage at work’ image I have gleaned over the years from my LOTR/TH tours. I guess however, one of the most important issues for me as to whether I remain active in the fanbase is the availability of his work to us, here, the quality of that work, and the genre. He hasn’t done anything to date recently that has really moved me, unlike the early days, so I feel I am in a bit of a twilight zone.

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    • I think it has been a contributing factor for me that 2015 was not exactly filled with interesting projects — after the highlight of 2014 with the final Hobbit film, there was a let down that Hannibal could not fill for me. I so wish we could have seen Urban somehow and haven’t given up yet. I’m really hoping for a lot from Berlin Station, though, especially as I am currently living in a house with cable TV.

      I agree that it would be better if we could meet in person (it’s frustrating on some level to meet people who live on the other side of the planet and think you will never meet them) because I also think that a lot of even the serious disagreements would seem silly if we were talking about them face to face. I have long wondered about the feasibility of maintaining any fan space that has a willingness to be critical at all (or one that doesn’t get overwhelmed with negativity). I have to maintain discussion rules here that some readers are simply not able to comply with because they are used to the open-entry platforms (Twitter, imdb) where they can say anything they like. It helps keep the discussions within certain bounds, but it’s not always ideal either and my own lack of interest in storms on my own blog means that I probably err on the side of strict enforcement.

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  17. […] from here. Again, I’m just picking pretty pictures to break up the […]

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  18. Danke für diesen Post! Ich bin ja kein richtiger Fan von RA, sondern würde mich eher als freundlicher Beobachter klassifizieren. Deswegen ist dein Blog auch der einzige, den ich regelmäßig lese. Was mir perönlich hier sehr gefällt ist, dass du deine eigene Meinung als Fan vertrittst und dich auch mal traust, RA zu kritisieren. das ist etwas, was ich bei vielen anderen Blogs, egal zu welchem Thema oft schmerzlich vermisse.

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  19. And she’s back. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your thought process and your feelings. It’s quite a struggle you are dealing with; I am not sure I have really ever analyzed my own RA feelings that deeply and I’m not sure I want to… you’re brave, Serv!

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    • Oh, and may I just add that I am in total agreement that not everything RA has to be immediately adored! Your critical thoughts on your blog always help put things into perspective!

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      • What finally pushed this out was reading a judgment of me on another website based on something I hadn’t said. I thought, hell, might as well be damned for saying something I actually think.

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  20. […] disagree on this question. We’ve been through this question several times since then; I think this was my most recent response to how the possibility was affecting me. But at this point, I find the […]

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