It’s all so entirely predictable

[and this has to do with my New Years’ reflections, so I am saying a bit more here than I normally would on blog]

I’m often criticized for hypocrisy for not allowing ad hominem on this blog — there’s a short list of speech or behavior that will get you banned, and one of these is personal attack. There’s a subset of personal attack called “tu quoque,” which is the accusation of hypocrisy.

So yesterday, a fan accused Richard Armitage of hypocrisy for cursing on his Twitter after telling fans to keep his feed clear of things that mums and kids couldn’t see. (Which wasn’t within in his power and was a stupid thing to ask for, but whatever, he made himself vulnerable to this kind of thing.) Note that this isn’t an argument — either it’s okay to swear on Twitter or it isn’t, but his personal inconsistency, while potentially aggravating to some (not to me, incidentally), has no bearing on the answer to that question. It was just a non-argument that took the form of a personal attack.

So we see a demonstration of why I don’t allow ad hominem here in what happened next, because of course someone (correctly) perceived it as a personal criticism rather than a critical comment about the actual question, and that person then weighed in to ask the first fan why she never says anything nice. This kind of thing sends me around the bend because it’s policing — there’s no ordinance anywhere that everything that someone says to Richard Armitage needs to be nice or even logical. The employment of ad hominem inevitably also produces non-productive discussion of the “no I didn’t / yes you did” sort, which was just what happened. The second fan said the first fan only ever took a combative tone (so what? there’s no prohibition on that) and the first fan said her tone wasn’t combative (impossible to tell from Twitter, even if the argument was not intelligible).

Then Richard Armitage deleted his tweet. We never know why this happens, so fans feel free to adduce all kinds of rationales for this, and because a significant chunk of the fandom believes that Richard Armitage is a fragile little boy, a frequent conclusion is that his feelings were hurt. The one reason he’s ever given about deleting is that he wants to end the conversation, which is a lot more restrictive of free speech then I will ever be as a blogger, but somehow fans believe Armitage has been harmed. And if Richard’s feelings are hurt, then we have to be hurt as well. Admittedly, growing up as the child of an alcoholic, this level of codependency sends me around the bend, too — but I just don’t buy it as a general argument. We don’t know that he felt hurt in the first place; I can’t imagine that he did; but even if he did feel hurt by it, why would I automatically have to feel hurt as well? I am a different person than Richard Armitage, I have a different emotional life. I’m his fan, not him.

And finally, as we reach the end point of this discourse — people start accusing the first fan of bullying. This is also something that Richard Armitage has legitimated in that he supports a charity that is basically a racket with an incoherent position on bullying so people in the fandom throw the word around.

So there it is: ad hominem, degradation of actual argument, deleted tweet, codependent reaction, accusations of bullying. All before breakfast.

I’m writing this down not because I believe that my decision to point this out will change anything, but because I’ve come to believe that I need to change my interaction with Twitter somehow. I’m the only person I can change.

~ by Servetus on October 11, 2016.

30 Responses to “It’s all so entirely predictable”

  1. I can’t believe I missed all this on twitter. (Maybe for the best…?)


  2. Was this kicked off by the tweet that referred to his character / garden idea (I’m thinking of your character garden’)?

    Most of these things take place in the middle of the night local time where I live, so most of the time I wake up, find out that something has been deleted and / or that there has been another ‘conflict’ and am asking myself what’s been going on… I often find it amazing what some people get up to in this regard.


    • He captioned one of her pictures with a slogan that used the expression “f***”.

      It’s those fans’ right and they should say / do what they need to do. It’s just hard to know how to interact with the broader fandom without Twitter, and lately it’s been a constant source of aggravation.


  3. Thankfully, I’m not really ‘there’ (on Twitter that is). Only a little bit, so when stuff causes aggravation or tweet are deleted, I’m usually not around.
    I honestly believe, FB suits RA better.


    • Maybe.


      • Also – and this is perhaps a off topic – the man is 45 (forty-five!) years old. I just don’t understand what brings this on: “…somehow fans believe Armitage has been harmed. And if Richard’s feelings are hurt, then we have to be hurt as well.” I know it’s out there; I’ve read something along those lines in comments – also on your blog – I’m just unable to understand it. I hope I don’t come across like that. BUT, I’m also curious and interested in the mechanisms that propel and support these ideas/feelings.


        • Just to clarify: I just re-read my comment, and my point can be misunderstood.
          I don’t mean to say that I don’t understand why you write this in relation to the quote. I’m the one who doesn’t understand why some fans would believe that Armitage is harmed, and that when he’s hurt, we have to hurt. I have seen comments and tweets to that effect (not from you), and I don’t understand the reason that lies behind this perception. Nonetheless, I find it (strangely) intriguing.


          • NP. I don’t understand it either, although I suspect it’s justified in the name of “empathy.” To some extent, insofar as fandom is an identity issue, some fans will react that way because they think their tulpa has been damaged if not everyone feels about Armitage the same way that they do.


  4. Maybe there was no hypocrisy at all. Maybe Mrs. Armitage uses the word F*ck.


  5. And now it’s degenerating to “Richard Armitage has not freedom to say anything.”

    Freedom of speech for Armitage but nobody else. Sigh. The Richard Armitage religion.


  6. Maybe I’m lucky. I don’t understand everything. But I would say to you, I enjoy what you do, because I’m so far away from New York, probably I cannot see mr.Armitage live at all. My homesituation is to rescue animals, so I cannot go too far away or too long. So I enjoy this blog, so I have the feeling to be a part of it. I don’t understand some discussions at all, because I think mr.Armitage is a very handsome,polite and funny person. So he comes to me, because of the interviews. What he wears or what he don’t wears it don’t matters to me. And indeed mr.Armitage is 45, an adult. I’ve seen also his other side(adult)in one of the interviews. He is very strong in defend himselve. I speak about the intervieuw about the hobbith, someone asks about his personal life. Maybe it seems to you and all other people I’m a fan very short. This isn’t truth, but I never have discover you tube beforewith this blog. I don’t like rude language and I’m also not a fan from bullying. Neither in real life nor by cyberbullying. Love peace. Have my regards and I hope to see all your messages, for a long time. Thanks for all the work.
    P.S. Now I have a lot of work, to translate some of the difficult words you using, haha.


  7. It’s so predictable anymore. The moment I saw the tweet I had a strong inkling this would all go down. I didn’t even bother to follow up with it- kind of a been there, seen that situation. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Indeed. I don’t follow Twitter generally and don’t partake, but in some context I saw that Tweet accusing Fan One of never saying anything nice, and I rolled my eyes and said to myself, “Here we go! This will turn into a shit show.” (Hope you don’t mind the language, but it really IS an apt description, isn’t it? 🙂 )


  9. I think he probably regularly uses the f word in his real life. I also think that he tries to keep aware that because of his work in Robin Hood and The Hobbit that he has some very young fans. I think that was he says and what he does, like for most of us, are two different things. I think he aspires to always be mindful of the young ones (and I guess the fans with more sensitive ears). I think maybe he aspires to present a more wholesome image and retracted the tweet when the f word usage was objected to. I think he was caught up in the moment and was having fun but then thought better of it later. I don’t think he is a sensitive flower at all, but I think he is sensitive to leaving an online footprint that won’t damage little eyes and ears, to me that seems important to him. I can’t really fault him for that, but I do like it when he slips up and we get a glimpse of the ‘naughty’ as he likes to say. I have no problem with him feeling he needs to delete those kinds of tweets it that is what his thinking is on them. It’s the other tweets, the more political kind, or social justice kind, that he deletes I have the problem with.


    • But yeah, I don’t know why some feel the need to police or call out either RA or each other. I don’t subscribe to the practice of trying to make someone feel bad just because you can.


    • I tend to agree with you re not caring about the deletion of silly tweets — but in this case, I think what bugged me the most was fans’ need to blame somebody for what was ultimately his decision.


  10. The second fan you are referring to is me. I asked this individual a question because over a fairly long period of time I have noticed a negative pattern in her tweets – or at least that is how I perceive them. When I suggested a combative tone in my second tweet to her, I also made it clear that is my perception. One person’s observation. I asked the question for one reason only. I was curious why someone feels the need to be negative – again my perception only – all the time. There was absolutely no intention on my part to police anybody and if people read that way, I am sorry. I did and do not think Armitage is harmed by these things. If he is, with all of his experience, he really does need to find another line of work. I also believe that fan #1 is well within her rights to tweet whatever she wants. So, to recap, I was curious and asked a question. She is completely free to tweet what she wants. He is completely free to tweet and delete whatever he wants. I hope this clears things up.


    • re: patterns — note the title of this post. The fan in question is not the only person involved in a negative pattern, nor IMO the most culpable. We’re all caught up in it, and that means it’s all our responsibilities to try to stop it.

      This is why I perceived your tweet as policing: because it was a rhetorical question of the form “when did you stop beating your wife?” The facts (which in this case are not true — that fan says plenty of nice things) are presupposed by the question:
      I personally would not answer a question like that, because any answer can only be defensive — and she did nothing wrong.

      In essence, it was a short way of something that we typically say to children (“if you can’t say something nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all”) and it’s hard to see how you expected she could answer in any way that would satisfy you, as your question showed that you had already judged that she never says anything nice. Since you already had the answer you wanted in your mind, there was no point in asking the question except to police her and/or to point to others that you thought what she was doing was wrong.


      • Thank you for making huge assumptions about my motivations. Let me put it this way. She has the right to tweet negativity at anyone she wants. He’s free to tweet and delete as he wishes. You are perfectly within your rights to question my motives on a public blog. And I have the right to question whomever I please about whatever peaks my curiosity in whatever way I wish. And the sun will come up tomorrow. Freedom applies to everyone, not just the people you choose to assign it to.


        • You assigned it to yourself but not to her. You were both engaged in logical fallacies, as my post pointed out. I’m pointing out there’s a pattern here that we’re all participating in. If you want to continue to participate in it, feel free. Because it’s making us all so happy.


  11. Richard never said the word, he insinuated it. He used it in a very funny tweet, and his comic timing was perfect. It was funny Richard. The one who laughs with his head back, and eyes crinkling.
    I never took the mum’s and kids request to refer so much to language, as to lewd comments or questions.
    We know he uses this sort of language, we have heard him use it, and he even said himself that he was probably the worst of everyone on The Hobbit.
    I don’t think he is ever hurt, harmed, or offended by what goes on. I think his sole goal in deleting is an attempt to stop the escalation of arguments between fans.
    I believe he is a fully grown man who can defend himself if he feels the need, which he clearly never has. He has been in show business since he was 17, he has dealt with all sorts of people, he has traveled the world, and seen many things. I’m not worried about him a bit.


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