me + richard armitage: the state of the union

[Prompted by Herba’s post this morning and to some extent by my frustration with Richard Armitage’s latest tweet yesterday.]

I’d been thinking about this and avoiding it all day. It helped that we had a blood draw, a neurology appointment, and a visit to a potential cognitive therapy program today, and also that — ambitious like I am — I planned a new lesson for my ancient civilizations class this week on the ancient history of Wisconsin and I’m learning the oral histories of the local First Nations bands. So there was good reason for avoidance, even before I get to the usual fan stuff. I’m no longer anxious about fangirling, either, so the days of asking myself every two weeks what the heck I am doing here, which lasted from about 2010 to 2012 or so, have faded into the background. Additionally, the last time I balanced books on my ambivalence about me Richard Armitage fangirl account in any detail, I became the object of a Twitter storm from a particular fan that sapped my energy for days — so it’s not something I all that eagerly anymore. The further into this I get, the less susceptible I am to “you’re doing it wrong” criticisms, but that doesn’t mean I can simply ignore them. But my issues with writing this blog aren’t the subject here, even if they might be connected.

I can certainly affirm many of the points that Herba makes — the latest projects haven’t interested me much; I am not that thrilled about audiobooks; and I don’t care that much about selfies (so I’m neither turned off nor on by them). I’m among the people who are a bit surprised by Armitage’s decision to appear at a convention, and while I certainly support his right to do as he pleases, I don’t think the decision is reflective of a sudden change of heart about either cons or contact with fans. (I thought Herba’s description of this aspect of his career as half-hearted was spot on, or perhaps I’d say ambivalent. I believe he is a person of good will and wants to please his fans when he can. I do not believe this sort of thing would be his choice in the best of all possible worlds.)

My fangirling under challenge from other fans, or at least not the way it was in 2013. If I used to think of myself as notorious, I tend to find now that the people who felt that way have either moved on or decided I’m not worth their energy any longer. I still find large parts of the fandom enervating (although I am sure large parts of the fandom would also say that about me) in ways that Herba describes: the unconscious pressure to love everything Armitage tweets or to sugarcoat everything is hard to take — not because I get as much opprobrium as I used to for divergences of opinion, but just because it’s hard for me to handle the smarm that I observe in a lot of comments.

When it bugs me, I remember that this is what Armitage has explicitly asked for and sometimes that makes it easier to read. The atmosphere certainly does have a censoring effect on me, for the reasons that Herba specifies and others that have to do with my own history in this fandom but also with my current (failing) energy level. Once I’ve finished managing dad’s emotions and my emotions on any given day, my students come next, and after them the various other people who take part in our lives, and so — speaking as an introvert here — dealing with anyone else’s is often just too much. It’s much easier to play endless games of Candy Crush Soda Saga in order to decompress, or to run to the late movie, than it is either to plumb my own reactions or contemplate dealing with those of others. I don’t lack things to blog about; I do often lack the energy. In the end, though, that’s all my responsibility. If I don’t blog, I only have myself to blame. I have no intention of stopping soon, and maybe a fifth of the reason is that it is a precious place to me, as the location where creativity has often occurred and writing has frequently started and I hope that those things will revive a bit when things get easier around here.

One might object that blogging and fangirling are related for me, but not necessarily the same thing. I could blog without the Armitage crush, even if I don’t necessarily want to. I agree that I can’t draw a one to one correspondence between my blogging and my fangirling, which is not under challenge either from my own missing feelings or from a lack of ideas of things to blog about. I admit that it plays a role that the phase of long-form blogging has ended (not just in the fandom but more generally in the blogosphere; there have been a lot of articles recently about how long-form journalism is dying.) Most of what I want to say at this point isn’t zero-entry; you need a certain experience both of fangirling and of Armitage to get into what I have to say. I don’t enjoy the role of mood spoiler, even if I sometimes can’t prevent myself from occupying it. Sometimes I’m silent because I figure I’ve said what I needed to say about something already; other times (yesterday) I can’t shut down my immediate reactions.

I think, though, in the end — with fangirling it comes down to this: my Armitage fantasies are as intensive now as they ever were, even if they are much simpler in content and my energy level for sustaining long narratives of any kind is low. At present I could not get through the day without being able to count on the reliability of being able to lie down and daydream about Armitage as I am falling asleep. The last ten days have been very stressful — dad’s erased time perception and non-existent short-term recall have made the ramp up to the opening of deer season on Saturday morning nearly intolerable for us both, as we have to renegotiate things that have long been decided a minimum of six times per day — and on at least four of them I’ve gone to bed early just to avoid further conversation by lying awake and dreaming about my crush — notwithstanding whatever nonsense Armitage spouts about cyberbullying or his questionable opinions about film. In a way, some of my worst fears about him have turned out to be true. But in another way, that’s entirely irrelevant. I remember exactly the point where I decided that I wasn’t going to let Armitage interfere with my crush on him: I was sitting in a borrowed apartment in Manhattan, writing about Berlin Station which I’d watched after seeing the last performance of Love, Love, Love, and he was sitting in the airport departure lounge and sent his weird 2016 Christmas message. Is that fair to Armitage the person? Maybe not — but I’ve never been in contact with Armitage the person (even if some fans have insisted to me that this stance verges on immoral). My crush, and this blog, have always been about the fantasy, which relies on his (varying) distance from me. And also, in the end: I know that if he were on stage again I’d move heaven and earth to get there and see him as often as I could afford to — even though it seems at the moment like I may never be able to leave a 75 mi radius again without dad in tow.

So the frustrations — I guess, I accept them. I’ve come to terms with some of them and will never come to terms with others (see my most recent blogiversary post for this perspective). It probably also plays a role that this is almost my only experience of crushing on a celebrity, and the media world has changed since the earlier ones. It was more or less accidental that I crushed on Armitage in the first place. I don’t watch a lot of TV (I had to laugh because Netflix is worried that I haven’t watched anything at all since I resubscribed, good resolutions to watch Castlevania 2 within the free month notwithstanding — I might get there this weekend while dad is hunting). I like film but I don’t see much of it that I really like; I don’t live in a theatre market with any indie options anymore; and I don’t especially enjoy small screen watching, so I don’t tend to watch film on a computer or dad’s big screen TV at home. So I am not often in places where I’m likely to meet a new celebrity crush, let alone be struck by one. And then there’s the weird Servetus family loyalty thing; we don’t give up on people easily; and maybe the fact that I am quite accustomed to strong tensions even in very solid relationships. It is not a problem for me to love someone but not love all of their choices in my own life; I live with someone who’s made many choices that have troubled my life; how much easier is this in a crush? I can be angry at things that Armitage has said, but only once (in the 2015 Cybersmile phase) has that led to an end to fantasy, and that recovered after a time.

My fantasies keep me alive as a fangirl, and also in the hope that it won’t be forever before I can blog as much as I want to again, and also in the hope that Armitage has some interesting roles coming up of which we (or even he) are as yet unaware. Herba said her fangirl is more optimistic than she herself is, and that is probably true for me. I live in hope. And in the fantasies I still have every evening, and which I cultivate. I used to write about those a lot (I stopped out of fatigue, for reasons that will be clear for those who were fans in the spring of 2014), but maybe it’s time to try to blog them again.

OK. Tomorrow I have to get dad packed for hunting, drive to the dump and get rid of some trash, go to the bank, then take dad to the farm, go teach my class, and come home. In the evening I will either eat at a restaurant dad would never go to, or go to see a Broadway musical at the cinema, and buy a six pack of expensive beer and drink it a bottle or two at home and put the empties in the bin with a twinge of guilt or worry.

~ by Servetus on November 15, 2018.

30 Responses to “me + richard armitage: the state of the union”

  1. thank for the post

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can really identify with much of what you and Herba have expressed about the state of your fangirling. In my case when I first discovered RA it was like the thrill you get when you first start to date someone who you are extremely attracted to and in getting to know them you find they have all of the qualities that you admire. At some point you decide this is the man of your “dreams” and make a solid commitment to become a loyal fangirl. The honeymoon phase goes great for a long time but then hmm-wait a minute- when did he start doing/saying little things to annoy me? Of course then he does something adorable or shows up in a film or photo op looking gorgeous and you’re smitten again. You finally come to the realization that this dream guy is not always cooperating with your fantasy. But WTH, you continue hoping things will work out. It’s a tricky thing to keep fantasy expectations separate from what career choices he’s making and how he’s choosing to interact (or not) with fans; especially when sometimes you’re feeling the fantasy part is fading a little. I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet but I really need something tangible to rekindle the flame. I would have to echo others who have mentioned another stage appearance or a really exciting film/tv project would be a real fangirl boost. Also, I REALLY believe he has good intentions but he needs to tone it down on the preachy messages. It’s messing with my fangirl mojo 😉

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks for this. Every now and then I wonder if I’m getting close to a line I drew from myself some time ago, which was that I didn’t want ever to be saying “at least he has a pretty face, it doesn’t matter what he says.” I think this ends up making the roles more important than they might be, i.e., I really need to see work and value it because so much of what he tweets does, indeed, annoy me. (It’s a different thing with interviews, they are much less problematic lthough they do have their sore spots.) But I do still believe that we will see great acting from him (not just audiobooks).

      I think you’re right about his intentions. I also think he really thinks everyone will agree with some of these platitudes. And if it weren’t 2018 and we weren’t in the political situation we’re in, maybe more people would.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. […] in den beiden lesenswerten Beiträgen Herbas und Servetus‘ habe ich mich hier und da wiedererkannt, einiges kann ich nachvollziehen, anderes sehe ich auch […]

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  4. Your blog was the first blog that I stumbled on in January. I lurked for a long time before even having the courage to add my two cents in. Then reading your back posts esp your journey through The Crucible and how honest and raw you wrote about that experience and your time in London then really stirred me. That you write so eloquently about your feelings, doubts, inspirations, criticism, physical attraction, hopes, dreams about Richard is what keeps me intrigued and wanting more. I think the blog has become a medium for you to express yourself maybe starting with him as a catalyst but now about your dad, profession, culture, government, movies, literature, social mores, Social Media, religion, economics, world history, geography, death, pain, love, I could go on but hopefully you get the gist of what I’m trying to say.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks — I appreciate what you’ve written. I agree that the blog was never really about Armitage or only about that. It was sort of about how his work provoked particular changes in me.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As ever, I go with the benefit of the doubt on the subject of audiobooks/podcasts, etc. I choose to believe, rightly or wrongly, that these decisions are tied up with mom’s illness and death, and wanting to be around for his dad. Hopefully in the near future this circumstance will change and he will feel he can commit to lengthier, more time intensive projects

    Liked by 3 people

  6. […] meinem Geblubber auf ihrem Blog verlinkt und auch Perry hat mich rebloggt. Außerdem haben Servetus hier und Nell hier ihre eigenen Betrachtungen zu dem Thema […]

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  7. As my first comment on the previous thread about Herba’s post disappeared or was maybe eaten by WordPress, I will try to condensate everything here. I have appreciated both discussions and I’ve found myself agreeing with several points of view expressed by Herba and Servetus.

    Judging from the comments in both threads, I guess I am the black sheep of RA’s fandom, as my experience certainly seems different from the others. I’ve been following RA on and off since 2015. For some reason he has always intrigued me as an actor… but not as a man. Not that I don’t see he is gorgeous and sexy, he is so good-looking that I would stare at him for hours. But he always came across (my opinion) as too involved in secrecy and privacy to see him attractive as a sexual fantasy. I am an open book to the point of masochism and I cannot imagine to have anything to do (in real life) with people who come across as too secretive. Two of my exes were like that and it didn’t end well.

    Having said that, I have followed him a lot more of late after my other crushes have slowly died. I am still in the process of catching up with his work so I guess I am in the ‘honeymoon’ phase of my fangirl-path? But I can see his ‘perceived faults’… so maybe not? I don’t think that the fact I am married would prevent me from crushing hard on someone (hello Tom Hiddleston! Lol) so I am not sure what happened with him 😂

    P.S. Servetus, your blog is really great and I want to really thank you for giving us a place where to have reasonable discussions about RA. I’ve avoided other places as too full of sweety smarminess for me. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well I discovered him in Berlin Station by happenstance this Jan and have been catching up here and a couple of other blogs for almost a year now. I actually um find the mystery alluring and very sexy. I like how he is private and isn’t everywhere and w everyone. I think he is very dashing and debonair even in his ratty white T. I’m not crazy about his selfies especially when he filters himself into a wax doll but he’s just magnetic. I know there are
      long time fans here who are having mixed feelings about what he’s doing career wise or not doing and I get that. I’m honeymooning still but I’m not on Twitter and do not like his Twitter or IG techniques at all! These blogs at least for me have become a place of refuge in a way to chat, vent, learn, relax and contemplate things that I thought I only was thinking so I thank Richard for that every day!👍😘👏

      Liked by 2 people

      • I am on Twitter but I don’t follow his account as I prefer to see his tweets later… or I would explode straightaway and probably get blocked lol I think he is around and with everyone a lot, it is not just reported, which is not only due to him being private but also to the fact he does not seem that famous either on US soil (free to correct me here, obviously). Re: Career-wise he seems to have worked constantly for the last 20 years, so I am not really worried about that.
        Re his selfies: I wonder who advised him to filter his pics that much 😂 wax doll is appropriate, OMG they are terrible. In an interview with M. Freeman he said he was vain, I wish he’d stop trying to delete his face imperfections…

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      • My suspicion is both that his circle of friends tends to come primarily from groups that are not observed by the entertainment press (he still seems to be close to old friends from London that predate his celebrity days), but also that he has opportunities for more “social” exposure and does not exploit them or actively avoids them. I remember specifically discussion of a London film premiere for which he was an announced guest, and then never appeared (referring to a time before my participation in the fandom). Part of it is probably his stated distaste for red carpets. If he wants to conceal his private life that is up to him, naturally. I do think that the less that is known, the better for the cultivation of fantasy among fans.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your kind wrods. After an early stage of wrestling with this problem, I came to the conclusion that short of illegal or immoral behavior there isn’t a right / wrong way to fangirl (even if some ways of doing it alienate me). I think a lot of people feel out of place on Twitter or it doesn’t work for them for other reasons and the result of Armitage’s move to that as his main platform has had a number of destructive effects on the fandom.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. People have come and gone in this fandom, but your still here. I enjoy reading your post. 2013 what a year with so much that happened. As my dad was slipping away I thought this whole Richard thing was getting more in depth to finally see that really was not the case. As dad was slipping away I started to listen to more music than I had in years. I found something in music than I found when I was younger and I really needed that more than anything. I have not watched anything Richard in a very long time and that is ok, if something I like comes up I will watch it if not I am fine. Just don’t take away my music. I was not to listen to rock, pop or anything that was not christian when I was younger. Well I did and I had to do it in secret, which could explain why as my dad was dying why I was listening to everything I was not suppose to listen to when I was a teen. I even study to music I think it really helps, there are teachers that think it is suppose to be quiet and no noise, not me. So I come here to read what you have wrote not some much about Richard anymore.

    I hope you get some quiet time to yourself this weekend to unwind.

    Liked by 2 people

    • yeah, 2013, annus horribilis in the words of the Queen. I’m glad that you’ve found your way back to that music — I also remember the days of that kind of restriction without any regret about their passing. And I’m grateful you’re still around, too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am glad your still around because there seems to be hardly anyone left from 2013. I wanted to find the fandom to be a place to go and get away from everyday life for a minute. What became not so easy to do in the fandom music has given me. I don’t think I will become involved in another fandom, just this one.

        Liked by 1 person

        • well, in blogging terms this blog is ancient — two years old is an old blog. It’s true that a lot of those bloggers have disappeared, in most cases because the fascination wore off or because their lives took other turns. I don’t know anything about music fandoms.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks again for the link love and your perspective!

    I still remember all the hulabula whenever you published one of your fantasies and I fully understand why you don’t do that anymore but to be honest I really liked reading them…or maybe it’s only the nostalgia?
    Looking back to the good old days of fangirling when I had so much fun…

    Whatever! I am glad you’re more at peace with it than me because that means you’re still around and that’s good!!!

    Like

    • I’ve thought about the whole question of the level of fun it is (or isn’t) and it’s hard for me to assess because I’ve generally felt like my interests in fandom are marginal to fandom itself, i.e., I was looking for something different from the experience from others (apparently). Our experiences this week were disheartening, just because it’s really kind of gotten to the point where no matter what someone says, there’s someone around who feels the need to insult the speaker. I do think that energy dissipates over time which makes those things more frustrating than they used to be. So the question for me is very much how to continue my energy, and I think I know how to do it, the question is just what the point would be.

      I hope we’ll be reading each other’s blogs (Armitage or not) for quite some time to come!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m glad you’re still hanging in there, Servetus, and like you I fervently hope for something from Richard that I will actually like in and of itself!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. […] I wish I had the energy to blog about my stage in Armitage-fangirling right now, like Herba, Servetus and Nell have been doing so eloquently recently on their bogs. And I still might, when I feel more […]

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  12. […] I had realized not long ago that I badly needed to SEE Richard Armitage on screen or stage, not just…. It’s pretty gratifying, I have to say — and I feel like his U.S. accent just gets […]

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