Why I’m not leaving the fandom #richardarmitage
Sometimes I think there should be fandom levels, like there’s beginning algebra, intermediate algebra, advanced algebra, and so on. Not hierarchical levels, not because one of them is more serious or better or sophisticated than the other, but chronologically, because there are things that one just goes through at different stages of being a fan. They are intriguing the first time but the seventieth time they are less so. Different kinds of math are useful for different situations. The problem is that every fan is on his or her own trajectory. There’s no set curriculum, in contrast to math. Each of us is solving the problems s/he is solving at any given point. Some of us are repeating long division.
On the one hand, I tend to agree with two contradictory positions: first, that justifying one’s position is important (and people who actually read this blog know I spend a lot of time exploring and explaining and justifying here); but second, that the repeated demand to justify oneself from someone who’s playing in a different level of fandom is just a distraction. It’s rarely meant as a query in good faith; it’s almost always meant as a way to shut one up. Toni Morrison said something similar about racism. Being the object of racism can’t be usefully compared with being a fan. That dynamic, though: the regular demand that I justify myself coming from people who have spent way less time on this than I have, or who haven’t bothered to read anything I’ve written on the topic, or expect an answer in 140 characters, or claim I said something I never said, or will never agree but have decided that they enjoy the energy rush of an argument with me — that I recognize. That’s fine for them, but those exchanges prevent me from doing the things I really would like to be doing. And there are just some things that don’t make sense, fan-wise, if you’re a casual fan vs. a superfan, or if you’re a new fan vs. having been around the block a few times.
Today, by agreeing with some of my fellow bloggers but by trying (for once) to be in the position of discussion participant and not leader, I ended up in an annoying exchange with someone who’d already condemned me — who seemed surprised when I didn’t just cave and then insisted that what was clearly a rhetorical question was a serious inquiry. She said she’d been reading my blog, but if she had, she would have known the answer to her question.
I think I spend way too much time explaining myself for no apparent reason — most of the demands come from people who don’t really want an answer anyway — so I think I’m just going to put this down here and when I get these queries, I’ll just reply with a link to this post.
So why do I stay?
Richard Armitage’s work electrifies me.
Particularly when I have been able to see him in live theater.
Being a fan of Richard Armitage has been transformative in my life.
Looking at my life through the prism of his career and what I have learned about him has lent me valuable insights.
Watching Richard Armitage got me to start writing in the most consistent and disciplined way that I ever have.
I don’t want to let go of these experiences and feelings.
I have made some really good friends.
Why am I sometimes critical of Richard Armitage?
I have a wide variety of reactions to Richard Armitage and I try to document them on the blog.
Often these are positive reactions; often they are not.
I don’t believe that Richard Armitage is more important in the fandom than any fan.
What is being a fan for me?
Every fan has a different way of being a fan; my way expresses my personality.
Every fan has her own conscience and knows best about it.
My opinions are mine only; I don’t claim to be representative of anyone.
I don’t have to agree with everything that Armitage says in order to be his fan.
I don’t have to be silent when I disagree in order to be his fan.
Sometimes I will agree with other fans and sometimes I won’t.
Reasoned disagreement, even regular disagreement, is not bullying.
I am not responsible for Richard Armitage’s feelings. The only person whose feelings I control is myself. The only feelings I control are my own.
I don’t have to be a fan the way anyone else is a fan in order to be a fan.