me + the richard armitage religion: the emergence of denominations

Benedict Cumberbatch at the Hay Festival (2016).

Benedict Cumberbatch at the Hay Festival (2016).

I’m not a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch, but off and on, I have been observing the activities of a small sub-segment of the Cumberbatch fandom: the so-called “skeptics.” I’m writing about them today because they helped me understand something about the way that fandom discourse within the Richard Armitage fandom affects my own fandom position over time.

I’ll have to tell you the story about the Cumberbatch fandom first, though.

The skeptics have their origins in a response to Cumberbatch’s 2014 engagement and 2015 marriage to Sophie Hunter, and the subsequent birth of the couple’s son in 2015. At that point, as far as I can tell, a division arose in response to these events: between the vast majority of fans, who accept that Cumberbatch’s marriage to Hunter is “real” (i.e., with origins in a true companionate relationship) — and the minority of fans, who are skeptical. The skeptics call the acceptors “nannies.” In the interval since the engagement and marriage, further groups have emerged. For instance, those who seek to combat or deride the beliefs of the skeptics are called “antis.”

Sophie Hunter and Benedict Cumberbatch at the British Independent Film Awards (2016).

Sophie Hunter and Benedict Cumberbatch at the British Independent Film Awards (2016).

But the skeptics interest me the most, as they seem to have split into several subgroups, ranging from moderate to more full-blown skepticism:

  • those who believe that the marriage originated in some awkward or unplanned circumstance (a one-night stand between friends that led to an unexpected pregnancy, for instance), the pregnancy was real and the baby is theirs;
  • those who believe that the marriage was contracted primarily out of Cumberbatch’s professional needs, but that the pregnancy was real and the baby is theirs;
  • those who believe that the marriage is solely a performance and the pregnancy was faked, but the couple either used a surrogate or adopted and are now caring for an actual child;
  • and those who believe the marriage is solely a performance, the pregnancy was faked, and the child is a prop that is rented or borrowed as needed for photo ops.
Exclusive Benedict Cumberbatch spotted in Hampstead heath high street with his new baby Christopher and his is wife getting a coffee and running some errands. Pic TillenDove 180915

Benedict Cumberbatch in Hampstead Heath high street with his baby Christopher (2016) Pic TillenDove 180915

It’s been interesting to watch the emergence of these skeptic sub-groups, because as skeptics have come under criticism both from “nannies” and “antis,” as well as disagreed with each other, they have started to feud within their own ranks. Sometimes, when one skeptic is not as strict in her thinking as another, the less strict skeptic will be accused of being “a nan in disguise,” or a plant from Cumberbatch’s or even Hunter’s PR team sent to undermine the skeptic case. The result of such accusations are often a block, so that each subgroup becomes increasingly encapsulated and unaware of the ways in which other opinions are developing. As a consequences, divergences of opinion have pushed the divisions of the skeptic camp gradually further into more rigid, uncompromising versions of their own thinking over time. These positions are represented on various tumblrs and blogs, and manifestations of them occasionally erupt on Twitter. The convictions lead from making claims that are fallacious but harmless to activities that can be considered harmful, or at least inconvenient to, Cumberbatch and Hunter, and at least once to innocent bystanders. Skeptics sometimes espouse various bolstering beliefs (e.g., the idea that Cumberbatch was in drug rehab while rehearsing Hamlet). All of these claims have various degrees of evidence offered to support them, sometimes quite detailed edifices of evidence. (Indeed: while I’ve always been suspicious of how GIFs represent video, reading these blogs has made me think a great deal about how I understand and use photo and video evidence in my own arguments.)

f02a82420f957a5d68a293f6e9c34f24

Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman on the set of Sherlock (spring 2016). Not sure if the baby is real or a prop.

Given that most of the skeptics seem to be well-educated, intelligent, adult women, one may legitimately ask what motivates them to abandon the grounds of rationality for ever more unconventional theories about their crush. I will now offer a few (potentially not universal) generalizations. Skeptics are frequently accused of being unable to accept Cumberbatch’s relationship with Hunter because they are jealous or want him for themselves. While I can’t say that this is never the pattern, I will say that it is an explanation that doesn’t come from the mouths of skeptics themselves — and since fans feel free to say almost anything these days, and many fans who are not skeptics say they would like to be together with Cumberbatch, I find it a not very useful explanation. The explanation that comes most often from the skeptics (of all stripes) themselves, is that Cumberbatch has changed since his engagement. He used to be “Dorkybatch,” a funny, quirky guy, but in their view, he has become grumpy and unhappy, focused primarily on fame rather than art, alienated from former friends such as his Sherlock costars Amanda Abbington and Martin Freeman, and is becoming unattractive to potential employers. Rejecting the possibility that the real Cumberbatch has changed or is changing due to fatherhood, they conclude that what they see as his increasingly public misery in the last two years is due to the incompatibility of “Dorkybatch” with Hunter (who may have been pushed on him by Harvey Weinstein as part of an Oscar campaign, or may have coerced Cumberbatch into marriage with him for her own reasons) and predict the imminent demise of his failed “showmance.” In this sense, we might postulate that skeptics have simply built a particularly durable tulpa of Cumberbatch, one that withstands an increasing amount of evidence, when read in a common-sense way, to suggest that with an Oscar nomination, a marriage, and a child, he has entered a different, more serious life stage.

Cumberbatch and Hunter with the Cumberbaby, Spring 2016

Cumberbatch and Hunter with the Cumberbaby, Spring 2016

My personal position on the Cumberbatch question? On the whole, I reflexively employ a vulgar version of Occam’s Razor — the idea that the best argument in any situation is the one that involves embracing the fewest unproven or unprovable assumptions. This doesn’t mean I never prefer more complicated explanations, or never complicate explanations myself — simply that the need for additional assumptions in an argument must be proven. So I tend to think that the Cumberbatches are in some kind of companionate marriage, Hunter was pregnant with Cumberbatch’s baby, and the child is real. I agree with the skeptics that they often look unenthused to be with each other in public (or as if their smiles are pasted on), but I attribute that to (a) British restraint; (b) Cumberbatch’s well-known hostility toward the hullabaloo around his person, which preceded his marriage by years; (c) Hunter’s relatively unpracticed status in the spotlight; (d) the fact that he really is subject to constant attention and his privacy has been invaded in the past; and (e) my feeling that I — and others who are dependent on the entertainment press for their data — don’t have enough information to make a definitive judgment on the emotional status of a stranger’s marriage. At the same time, entertainment news provides fertile ground for the development of conspiracy theories. The entertainment press is widely acknowledged to be in bed with marketers, and thus dishonest and worthy of severe skepticism, and fan consumers of it may frequently experience the feelings of powerlessness that conspiracy theories so often arise to counteract. So, I suppose, mostly I don’t think further because life is complex; people have all kinds of relationships; and the truth of the situation doesn’t matter to me as I am not vulnerable to the Cumberbatch juggernaut. I know what it’s like to be infatuated with an idea that has the power to betray me, but I am not in hock to this particular idea.

Did you like this outfit? If not, was there anywhere to say so?

Richard Armitage at TCA 2016. Did you like this outfit? If not, was there anywhere to say so?

But I am in hock to my idea, my tulpa, of Richard Armitage. So I can’t leave Cumberbatch skepticism solely within the realms either of especially persistent tulpa or conspiracy theory, because it parallels something that goes on in my own experience and in our fandom, that contributes to my own stance in continuing to write this blog after so many years.

It occurred to me because of reading the “anti” blogs and thinking about my reaction to this particular celebrity marriage, which is to say, although I don’t care, I also find the public narrative of the relationship and the wedding, in combination with their public restraint, less than compelling. I can see an argument for the possibility that old friends produced an “oops” baby and decided to “do the right thing.” However, I don’t see any place in the Cumberbatch fandom where that opinion could be easily expressed. It’s not so much that the “nannies” are devoted to the cult of the Cumberbatch / Hunter romance, although some of them are, but that they do hold an allegiance to a positive image of Cumberbatch and a resistance to criticisms of him. The real question, though, is why the skeptics, in turn, have mostly moved well beyond their initial inability to credit the moderate version of what they are thinking about the “showmance.”

Did you like this outfit? Do you feel you can still say that? Richard Armitage at the Hobbit: AUJ premiere in NYC, December 2012.

Did you like this outfit? Do you feel you can still say that? Richard Armitage at the Hobbit: AUJ premiere in NYC, December 2012.

I sometimes wonder if something similar is happening to me. I don’t think that I hold any strongly counterfactual beliefs about Richard Armitage at the level being a “skeptic,” even if I sometimes tear my hair over things I don’t know or can’t explain.  However, I do hold a stance strongly counter to many parts of the fandom, which is that I’m willing to be critical of Armitage in a way that the more typical fan at this moment might not be. This position used to be less of an outlier than it is now, but the place where criticism of Armitage was mostly likely to be found in fandom — the blogosphere — has been shrinking over the last few years. It used to be that if I wrote about something I didn’t care for, I was never in complete isolation. The likelihood that my response to anything Armitage does — no matter the response — is thus proportionally higher. That means that posts that criticize or interrogate him rather than primarily praising him get more attention, and that as a result there is a greater incentive to be critical, if I’m not careful. I don’t want to be pushed into the corner of the anti-fan when I don’t really feel that way. (Then again, most of my fellow bloggers who became really frustrated with Armitage have more or less quit blogging — which separates me from them on yet another axis. I can’t totally explain why I stick with this even when I get so exasperated. In the end, I’m still “caught.”)

Even more, though, however, I sometimes find my reaction to the pressure of having a minority opinion causes me to build rhetorical walls higher than I might otherwise. The more regularly I have to maintain my right to be critical, the more frustrated I become in doing so, and the more vehement I am likely to become in defense of my position. This isn’t to say that those who disagree with me are responsible for what I say; at my age I should know well enough how not to be provoked, even if I am not always as successful at restraint as Benedict Cumberbatch. But I sometimes see this blog as a place of refuge for people who, like me, like to make certain kinds of jokes, or don’t especially like audiobooks or Hannibal or David Copperfield. And when I think that, I think of two things. First, I think about the emergence of confessions (what we call denominations today) in the sixteenth century during the Reformation, and the way that arguments created walls that ended up much higher than they need to be. But second, and just as importantly, I look at those skeptical blogs with a little more compassion. I think about the fellow fans who got in touch to say that they didn’t like Armitage’s outfit at TCA last weekend, who felt they could say it to me but not in public. I want to maintain my position insofar as it’s authentically my own position. But what skepticism demonstrates to me is that sometimes the rhetorical work to maintain that position ends up creating consequences for myself that harden my position when I don’t initially intend to do that, when all I want to do is create a safe place.

~ by Servetus on August 9, 2016.

73 Responses to “me + the richard armitage religion: the emergence of denominations”

  1. I don’t like both outfits much but I seem to be way beyond the need or enthusiasm to talk about his clothes….not to mention making jokes about it. For me voicing this dilemma is also a bit tricky most of the time so I think I gave in and don’t talk much about RA at all.
    But I am so glad you still provide a safe place for jokes and critical analysis!!!!

  2. Oh and the idea of renting a Cumberbaby made my day 😀

    • Maybe he’s just an especially young, talented actor. I’m sure it pays well.

      • Oh mein Gott, auf so eine Idee muss eine erst mal kommen – ein gemietetes Baby… ein gemietetes Baby! Ich komm da nicht drüber weg. In diese Abgründe bin ich bisher noch nicht vorgedrungen. Wahrscheinlich besser so. Occams Rasiermesser scheint mir in diesem Fall doch sehr angebracht (hab ich von dir gelernt – danke 🙂 …).

        • There are some really interesting discussions out there about how the pictures of the baby have been photoshopped ot make him look more age appropriate and so on.

          • Müsste frau sich da nicht fragen, warum in aller Welt jemand einen derartigen Aufwand betreiben sollte? Ich meine, BC ist doch “nur” ein Schauspieler, warum sollte er sein komplettes Privatleben fälschen? Nutzen und Aufwand stünden in keinerlei Verhältnis… ich sag nur “Rasiermesser” 😉

            • Well, speaking from the viewpoint of the logic involved: you build a more complicated explanation when something about the simpler explanation does not appear to you to account for what you observe.

              I think most people don’t complicate their explanations quite this much, though.

            • I don’t know how much you know about cosmology, but you are probably aware that before the emergence of the idea that the sun was at the center of the solar system, people in the West believed the earth was at its center (this is commonly called Ptolemaic thinking). There were all kinds of observational problems with that idea, but rather than abandon Ptolemy — which scholars were convinced was correct — they added all kinds of complications and additions to him, so that they could make their observations square with their theory. That’s kind of what is going on here — skeptics are so convinced Cumberbatch is really one kind of person that when they see this (for them) contradictory behavior, they adapt their theory to account for it rather than accept that perhaps their initiating idea is incorrect.

      • Hopefully he’d hired some great people who take good care of his money till he is all grown up 🙂

  3. By the way, I hate that outfit, but then I think I’ve said this already. I’m not sure because I’ve said so much. But unless I was drunk when I first saw it, I’m sure I hated it. There is no drunk that could make me like that outfit and that includes seeing it up close.: D

    • I think that most people did (the plaid suit). I kind of liked it, though, although it doesn’t look anything at all on him like it did on the models.

      • Actually, that suit has grown on me. I think it was the tight pants I didn’t like. As to the subject matter of the piece, I want to say something about it, but I’m not sure how. I need to think on it some more, and I feel I should because it’s an important subject IMO.

  4. Hate the plaid suit. Didn’t care for the suit last weekend – I think it was mostly the no socks. I am absolutely NOT a fan of no socks.

    Also agree with Herba – renting a baby for show…. that just takes the cake!

  5. Healthy criticism (for RA’s good) and pluralism of opinions = healthy fandome and happy and successful RA 🙂

    • well, I don’t know that the fandom is really “for” RA in that sense. I don’t seek to make his life easier or harder. But I do think the fandom is more fun when we don’t all agree.

  6. This was one of the reasons why I was so intrigued with your blog here (Well, that and the pictures, I have to shallowly admit…). You like Richard Armitage but you don’t take anything and everything he says or tweets as gospel. Your posts about his tweets and his policy of deleting tweets that led to broader discussions (I had to think of the three monkeys. Don’t look, don’t speak, don’t hear…) and I found myself agreeing with you ( I hope I remember your point correctly now ahem.) that it is not the best way nor the smartest to handle situations like that.
    I like David Copperfield and how he reads it and I liked his performance in Hannibal. His outfits often lead to me being amused and wondering if that was his own doing or if his stylist got carried away again.
    And I still like reading your blog for the aforementioned reason that you are not under the spell (or curse?) of the rose-coloured glasses when it comes to Mr Armitage. Personally I think that is a very healthy way to be a fan. You don’t have to like or support everything they do.

    • Have I told you my theory of how Armitage was forced at gunpoint to read David Copperfield? They only occasionally let him take bathroom breaks.

      Thanks for the kind words. I think my concern is turning myself into a spectacle as the eternally aggrieved fan (something I might really have been in danger of in 2015) — and especially if I do that unintentionally, as the result of a rhetorical process.

      • I wasn’t aware of the gunpoint part but he doesn’t sound like is stressed about something during reading. On the contrary. It is a really great (in my opinion) performance. Now I’m curious. chinhands

        • There is a gang of Dickens supporters who wander NYC forcing random actors to read classic works of Dickens as audiobooks in unabridged format. As a next move they are planning to kidnap Jerry Seinfeld and force him to read Bleak House.

          • That awkward moment when I’m not entirely sure if something written is meant in a sarcastic way or not. I just went through several facial expressions from frown to smirk. 😉
            I mean… Jerry Seinfeld, really? I’d kidnap Rupert Penry-Jones because of the voice but that’s just me, I suppose.

            • I think the issue for them is that RPJ is not often in New York. Kidnapping across international borders is a lot harder than just pushing someone off the street on the Upper West Side. Although there may be a London gang, too.

              (I often forget to use emoticons — yeah, I was trying to be funny)

              • Are they dedicated Dickens fans now or not? A little effort, please!
                (No worries I laughed and got asked what was so funny.)

                • My reading of the NY group suggests that they are Dickens fans but they are in favor of expanding the profile and making it more relatable by having Mr. Jarndyce sound like a contemporary Jewish comic. Dickens fandom is more complicated in England, absolutely, and the English gang may be more intent on preserving the purity of the reading.

                  • Thank God the Dickens gang don’t know Iain Glen 😉
                    Can someone please found a Cornwell gang, kidnapp Glen and Mark Strong and force them at gunpoint to read ‘The Last Kingdom’ and ‘The Pale Horseman’?!!!

      • I remember from the promotional interview on David Copperfield RA was doing 10 pages per day, so it has taken a bit more than one month to record the whole book. these are quite comfortable conditions for reading, no? Or he didn’t tell us truth 🙂 I like his DC. Personally I think it is his best audiobook as of today. The most emotional moments for me were the parting of David and his mother and her ensued death and Dora’s death. Both moved me to tears.

  7. Wow! I admire BC’s acting chops but after reading this fascinating account of that fandom drama, I believe I’m glad to be right where I am. In this fandom, warts and all. It does make you wonder what kind of huge hullaballoo might ensue if RA ever makes a big step (and publicly) on the personal relationship front.

    • Well, keep in mind that this is a small group of fans. I think there are maybe about a dozen and a half skeptics, so let’s say they have a sympathetic readership of perhaps a five hundred fans all told (max) — which is a drop in the bucket of the sea of the Cumberbatch fandom. The vast majority of Cumberbatch aren’t constructing a conspiracy theory. It’s fascinating to watch, though.

      I can’t even imagine what would happen if Armitage appeared with an official partner at this point. There would be a few days of rubble, no doubt. Just judging from how exercised people got when he appeared three times with Annabel Capper back in 2010 …

      • I would like to see this happen, fans surprised by the appearance of an official partner.
        Maybe the situation would be handled in a more mature way than in fandom characterized by younger fans .

        • I don’t know if it’s about younger fans, per se. The Cumberbatch skeptics seem to be mostly women in their 40s and 50s from what I can tell.

          • Well I was wrong and it’s obvious that fandom’s behaviors are incomprehensible for me 😉.

            • yeah — I think once you get beyond people who just are interested in entertainment, there are a lot of surprising things. In a way, it’s not too surprising, as most teens don’t have the money to invest in fan stuff the way that women at mid-life might.

              I do think that hard core shipping is something relatively more likely to be done by younger fans — but there are also many, many hardcore shippers who are my age, lol.

  8. A very interesting read…I’ve been peripherally aware of the factionalization in the Cumberbatch fandom for a while now, so I appreciate the snapshot view.

    I also really appreciate your efforts to maintain a safe space for discussion – and I know very well that sometimes the cost to you is pretty high. The energy it takes to be take an “alternate” position is enormous lately. I know that I am one of those BTS “skeptics” of the TCA look…a little too Miami Vice meets Matlock for my personal taste. In this particular context, I didn’t want to be a buzzkill on what was clearly a moment of fandom high, but I also frequently balk at the possibility of being compelled to “defend” a minority position from what often seems to me a disproportionate response.

    • I liked the outfit, but I am sensitive to the problem of not liking something in the “wrong” moment and what you say totally exemplifies what I am trying to put my fingers on here. Picture comes out — 80% love it, 20% are not enthused. The non-enthused say something and the enthused jump on them. There’s a tendency to speak more vehemently than one feels just to maintain a capacity to say anything. I don’t know that this is anyone’s “fault,” or what behavior to suggest in the situation. I think a lot of people don’t want to be buzzkills, but I also think that if everyone agrees and the people who don’t are silent, much less of interest emerges.

      • It is kind of an tangle…and truthfully, on a topic that is more weighty than fashion (which to me is 98% subjective in any case) I’m more likely to be willing to put the energy out to stand ground.

        As I consider it further, I suppose that in and of itself, voicing a differing opinion doesn’t have to be perceived as “buzzkilling” either…but I find myself less and less willing to take a chance in open forum largely because I don’t have the time, inclination or patience (without reverting to sarcasm which will only fan flames) to explain myself should there be a reaction. I don’t know what the answer is either.

  9. Hey. It’s your blog so express your views. People can choose to read it or not. Best always.

    • thanks, and yes, no doubt — but that’s not really the question I’m asking here. I’m asking more about how the dynamic of differing creates a rigidity or an indignation that hardens me (or others) as a writer or a thinker.

  10. I enjoyed this post (and the rundown regarding the Cumberbatch fandom issues). Good food for thought. Being an invested fan, in my experience, can cultivate defensiveness. Sometimes I’ve done it to myself and other times I felt positioned to take the defensive. Maybe it is part of empassioned human interaction? I don’t know.

    But I’ve noticed that fandoms that grant both critical and accepting fans the same amount of space to express themselves productively tend to have more satisfying exchanges – heated though they may be. Diversity of thought is what helps us clarify and define WHY we hold the opinions we do. Without it, how do we ever gain any discernment?

    • I’ve been on both sides of this, too, although another piece of it is the whole question of how the euphoria effects you. I personally really enjoy debate and have a poor thermometer for realizing when someone else is either over-charged or emotionally involved in a way that I am not.

      also I should clarify that this isn’t everything going on in that fandom — just one division I’ve been observing lately. I’m sure they have lots of other discussions as well. So much is going on there that there’s probably a lot of intersectionality that passes me by (Setlock observers who are skeptics vs setlock observers who are nans, and so on).

  11. Ok. I guess that it is an aspect of life that a belief or an opinion is maintained purely because it has met with opposition. For me it comes down to the ability to question my own thinking and my reasons for differing. Am I doing so purely to be contrary to popular belief or because I truly believe what I am saying? Ultimately a view or opinion is solely that and not a statement of fact, whether we wish it to be or not. Yes we do tend to associate with those who hold the same way of thinking, but I do not feel this should dictate or limit our opinions. We should have the right to question and discuss.

    • There seems to be a lot of this at the moment and I’m questioning the extent to which it is entering my own thinking about certain things. In essence, we can’t “unknow” things we already know and new evidence is always inserted into older frameworks we’ve built for it. At the same time sometimes new evidence explodes a framework. I’m still trying to figure out where I am about this question with regard to Armitage, that is, how problematic my lack of appreciation in general for his tweeting is to my fandom.

  12. I’m late to the party here, but thought I’d join in and say:
    a) the thought of Jerry Seinfeld reading Bleak House made me just about fall over laughing
    b) the rented Cumberbaby thing is so absurd that it cracks me up too. I am imagining a business with various babies at different ages with varying degrees of baldness/hair. Would one rent by the hour? The day?
    c) I wasn’t going to say anything about the latest suit/golf shirt/no socks combo, but since you practically “invited” me to, I will say that there is something about that suit that looks like it is made of a soft sweat-shirt fabric that seems weird. I don’t like golf shirts with suits, and my opinion on no socks is fairly firm — one must be in the South of France, it has to be hot August, the suit has to be linen and the male who gets away with it is wearing loafers and likely Italian (could I be more specific? 🙂 )
    d) you have never come across as an “aggrieved fan” but I get the theme of your post completely. But some reactions of fans who defend even the silliest things about Armitage can provoke one into inhabiting the corner which you describe occupying. As you know me through personal correspondence, I have a hard time understanding people who do not enjoy engaging in any sort of debate and consider any difference of opinion a personal attack or even “bullying.” My personal worry is that the fandom is going to start reflecting the wider world where it is becoming very, very difficult to engage in rational discussions anymore.

    • The thing about the babies is that the longer the rental, the less you pay.

      Next time Audible tweets about who’s your favorite audiobook artist I’ll suggest Seinfeld for Bleak House. Why not?

  13. sorry if this comes up as a repeat, was trying to post this earlier and won’t have the patience to retype 😉
    I am positive that baby is a hired prop, you should see the drawers full of silicone babies i have seen recently, all colours and shapes, all potty trained! And i have a special fondness for the one the ROH uses on stage, wiggling arms and legs and crying softly, total plastic cutie 🙂 (eye roll.. normal life seems complicated and error prone enough, why would people bother with such elaborate plots? i mean the actor in question not the people thinking about the possibilities, imagination is mostly a healthy thing they say)

    Aaaanyway, the onslaught of BS publicity does not find me with the ideal time and emotional resources, however my first thoughts on stumbling upon the pic were how cool Rhys I looked, he managed to look Welsh and London/Brit cool at the same time and i bet no designer had a hand in that. Nothing can do more for a normal man i think than a good pair of jeans, a well worn tshirt and a leather jacket 🙂 Compare the incidental pics of R from London with that grey concoction… I can but sigh, i think if he’d picked stuff blindly from his own drawers, stuff he wears daily in his own time he would have been twice as successful. While the designed has admittedly had some success in evening wear looks, day looks are.. how shall i put it ? Between granpa and Miami Vice really. The kind of stuff that looks fashionable in the pages of Vogue /GQ/Country Life and the like on a 20 year old bony model and under a professional photographer lens. Not the kind of stuff that looks good on real men, regardless how well built they are and how slim. The colours are beyond the pale for fair complexion. I don’t mind sockless at all because other than picking something funny in pattern and outrageous in colour what on earth can one pair with white trainers and grey? I will stop here as the fabrics have nothing to do with the gorgeous man within. But i have to focus on the face alone for the shiver factor in this get up. I just want to strip him down and stick him in an old pair of jeans, a tshirt and one of his gazillion leather jackets. Or some shirt with sleeves rolled up to show underarms. Serious spy or not, nobody should have to dress like this! (Lucas wouldn’t be caught dead in this get up me thinks ;-))
    Save yourself some money R and dress yourself as you do when you go about town, you’d be much better off in all respects (is what i would mentally say).
    There is however 1 photo in the new lot i like, black and white (ha!) headshot. Simply gorgeous!

    And i like David Copperfield, i spent a lovely month listening to it and felt bereft at the end of my 2h/day Armitage voice 🙂 I would not have felt the same had it been read by anyone else i suspect… I don’t feel the need to re-listen though.

  14. This comment from Hari:

    I am positive that baby is a hired prop, you should see the drawers full of silicone babies i have seen recently, all colours and shapes, all potty trained! And i have a special fondness for the one the ROH uses on stage, wiggling arms and legs and crying softly, total plastic cutie 🙂 (eye roll.. normal life seems complicated and error prone enough, why would people bother with such elaborate plots? i mean the actor in question not the people thinking about the possibilities, imagination is mostly a healthy thing they say)

    Aaaanyway, the onslaught of BS publicity does not find me with the ideal time and emotional resources, however my first thoughts on stumbling upon the pic were how cool Rhys I looked, he managed to look Welsh and London/Brit cool at the same time and i bet no designer had a hand in that. Nothing can do more for a normal man i think than a good pair of jeans, a well worn tshirt and a leather jacket 🙂 Compare the incidental pics of R from London with that grey concoction… I can but sigh, i think if he’d picked stuff blindly from his own drawers, stuff he wears daily in his own time he would have been twice as successful. While the designed has admittedly had some success in evening wear looks, day looks are.. how shall i put it ? Between granpa and Miami Vice really. The kind of stuff that looks fashionable in the pages of Vogue /GQ/Country Life and the like on a 20 year old bony model and under a professional photographer lens. Not the kind of stuff that looks good on real men, regardless how well built they are and how slim. The colours are beyond the pale for fair complexion. I don’t mind sockless at all because other than picking something funny in pattern and outrageous in colour what on earth can one pair with white trainers and grey? I will stop here as the fabrics have nothing to do with the gorgeous man within. But i have to focus on the face alone for the shiver factor in this get up. I just want to strip him down and stick him in an old pair of jeans, a tshirt and one of his gazillion leather jackets. Or some shirt with sleeves rolled up to show underarms. Serious spy or not, nobody should have to dress like this! (Lucas wouldn’t be caught dead in this get up me thinks ;-))
    Save yourself some money R and dress yourself as you do when you go about town, you’d be much better off in all respects (is what i would mentally say).
    There is however 1 photo in the new lot i like, black and white (ha!) headshot. Simply gorgeous!

    And i like David Copperfield, i spent a lovely month listening to it and felt bereft at the end of my 2h/day Armitage voice 🙂 I would not have felt the same had it been read by anyone else i suspect… I don’t feel the need to re-listen though.

    • As a point of info: Someone asked Ilaria if she did this outfit for him and to my knowledge she did not reply (the last time I looked). She has in the past when she didn’t do him, so I’m guessing maybe their contract has ended?

  15. Fascinating information about the Cumberbatch fandom.

    No such thing as a “safe place” on the internet, perhaps? Yet safety in the numbers that read and enjoy your blog, even when in minority opinion territory.

    • yeah, and safe place isn’t really the right word. I don’t seriously expect that I should be protected from disagreement.

      When I think about this blog over time, I think about all the strands that I abandoned because I got so tired of defending my right even to write or think about them publicly. It just got exhausting. In the end, that’s my problem, not anyone else’s. It’s just easier to discuss things reasonably when one isn’t occupied building walls to allow reasonable discussion. I don’t know what the solution is. Obvs people have to have the right to express their opinions.

      • I’m often in the minority view on various things so I appreciate where you’re coming from. It is exhausting, particularly when you have a well thought out reasoned position and people retort with knee-jerk reactions and “feelpinions”.

        Is it possible to let go of the inclination to defend your right to write/discuss certain things publicly? Then you wouldn’t feel exhausted by having to do it. Still have to cop the flack though, of course… and that’s hard when not made of teflon.

        • I honestly don’t think that’s the problem — as I experienced yesterday, it’s that I say something that makes me vulnerable. The argument descends, and then I feel the need to defend myself. I’d kind of been off justifying myself much for the last two years or so but the need has arisen again recently.

  16. Late to this but what the heck, I’ll comment anyway!

    I swear my mouth dropped open at the Cumberbatch theories! Honestly, some of these could go straight into National Enquirer or something! Interesting for sure, but I’m with you on the Occam’s razor thing.

    As for giving critical people a safe haven – yes, I totally believe that you are that and I think that’s a good thing. Something you wrote here made me wonder: do you ever feel you write more critically than you sometimes may feel (possibly in hindsight), that you feel you MUST say something contrary to the 80%, just to counterbalance all the endless gushing? In any case, I for one appreciate your critical approach, it helps me think about things.

    Re: suits – I really did love the TCA outfit and the no socks thing doesn’t bother me. The AUJ outfit was alright, neutral on that one. I do like that colour on RA.

    • Good point about the color of that suit. (I had mixed feelings about the suit itself but I loved how his face looked in those pictures.)

      re: being critical — I don’t know that I ever write more critically than I feel. However, I do think there’s a sense in which one becomes accustomed to being critical and that then becomes the first way in which one looks (which I never wanted this blog to be), AND once you go down this road there’s definitely an incentive to keep writing that way. The period when I was looking a lot at stats and who was coming from where to read and so on has ended, but it’s easy to see that the truly critical posts are the ones that get the most attention (either because people agree or because I’m providing some people with their daily supply of outrage). I really just try to document my honest reactions to things — but to say they are not at least potentially influenced by environmental factors would be disingenuous.

  17. […] specter of having to take a position more rigid than the one I actually hold is rearing its ugly head here, and I was honestly more frustrated with the kneejerk application of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: