For My Own Sake

I know I said in my last post that I was ready to have some fun, and I am more than ready to do so but… I haz thoughts. and I need to say them out loud. I probably shouldn’t add to the drama, just remain quiet about it all instead, but it’s something that’s important to me so I have to say it. my thoughts center around the incident that caused the shirtless Crucible pics uproar and how I feel it’s being misrepresented, also “Armitage Protection Mode” and what it’s really about for some of us, and the way this fandom turns on each other repeatedly and how that makes me feel.

gah! drama
gah! drama

It’s My Party and I Can Perv if I Want to

there has been some talk about a certain FaceBook fan page telling others that they shouldn’t objectify Richard in the latest Crucible shirtless photos that have been making the rounds in the fandom, that this kind of behavior takes away from the message of the play. quite a few bloggers have been stating their opinion that we, as fans, should be able to “appreciate” anyway we choose and we should not tell other fans how to fangirl. I feel that this particular situation has been represented unfairly.

surely not!
surely not!

 

1.) the fan page in question is not just a general Richard Armitage fanpage, it’s one that was set up specifically to discuss and celebrate The Crucible. and it says in the description “Please keep this a Fun, Respectful, and Friendly place to visit”

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2.) when a situation arose that made the administrator of the page uncomfortable (drooling over said pics apart from their context in the play), she made a post explaining her feelings about the issue: that the play was meant to be more than looking at a bare chested man, and therefore she felt it was best to not discuss the pics on the page until more fans had a chance to see them within their original context. there are plenty of other places within the fandom where one can go to see and discuss those particular photos

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oh, reaally?

 

3.) she has every right to control what is and is not discussed or viewed on her page. saying she does not approve of the current reactions to the images does not automatically mean she is telling others how to feel about them. and saying that she does not want the images shown or discussed outside of the play because they’re meant to be taken much more seriously than they have been, does not mean you can’t view or feel differently about the play than she does

my belly is not cute!
my belly is not cute!

 

This incident has turned into a cause for the right to objectify shirtless Armitage if anyone so chooses, however they choose. by stating her opinions of these photos in relation to the play, the page administrator has been seen as chastising others for not feeling/understanding the weight of the play. but see, this is where I get confused: bloggers are using their own platforms to say that the administrator should not tell the fandom what to do and are getting applauded for it, yet when the administrator did the exact same thing- using her own platform to say that she didn’t like the tone surrounding those pics- she gets ostracized. how are those two things different? they are all using their own spaces, that they are in control of, to state their own opinions. but because one didn’t place the words “I think/feel” in front of her sentences, she’s automatically seen as policing others. have pronouns really become that important?

Bilbo said that, not me. I would never be so materialistic...
Bilbo said that, not me. I would never be so materialistic.

APM: fandom enemy no.1

this isn’t about the photos themselves and the drooling for me, this is about double standards. this is about those who set certain boundaries for themselves and their spaces, getting shamed for not adhering to the status quo. I often make sexual innuendos on this blog and occasionally post a bare chested photo myself. the tone of my blog is light and I take things completely out of context with the gifs and captions that I post, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t have lines I won’t cross. one example: bare bum screen caps/gifs. I don’t post them because I feel that it’s disrespectful to make light of some of those particular shots out of context. while it may be fun to tease about some of them (as I often reference Paul leaving his socks on) I wouldn’t be able to do that with the shots of Lucas. that scene, where he was undressing in order to appease his former captor, is wrought with underlying emotion. it’s about submission, it’s about sacrifice, it’s about Lucas reliving a very difficult time- one that caused him to try and take his own life. I wouldn’t post those pics even if they were being discussed within their original context though, because I also feel that doing so would be disrespectful to both Richard/Lucas and also to my husbandΒ  as well, who sometimes reads this blog (seeing his wife drooling over another man would hurt him. I don’t want to do that). when I say “disrespectful”, I’m not only talking about who is in the picture or who may see them but I’m also talking about how they make me feel- my own sensibilities about them. so often I see the defense “Richard is a grown man who has chosen the type of career that will make him desirable to others. he knows this and can take care of himself, he doesn’t need you to do it for him” true, all of that is true. but it’s not just for his sake, it’s for my sake. I don’t want to see certain characters and certain emotional situations made light of, for various personal reasons. I don’t want to see Richard’s body discussed in certain ways because of my respect for the man he is on the inside (because I get embarrassed about it *blushes*) and so I don’t do it in my space. I don’t tell others they can’t post them in their spaces or react to them in the ways that they want to. when I see those things in other spaces, I just keep walking. it’s not always about policing and telling others how they should or should not act, it’s also about us protecting ourselves and our own sensibilities. and yet, we get shamed for it. in trying to promote their own right to view the pics in the fashion that they choose, often fans turn the tables and shame the supposed shamers instead. we all have our reasons. whether we agree with those reasons or not, it would be nice to try and honor the other person’s feelings towards the matter.

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Smells Like Teen Spirit

I’m sharing what I think- you don’t have to agree, of course- I’m not telling the fandom how they should feel or act. my hope is that we could not only treat Richard/his characters with respect, but each other as well. that doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, that doesn’t mean we can’t “appreciate” his physical attributes, it just means that we shouldn’t force our will on anyone. but it seems like we’re constantly picking at each other, getting offended over grammar, our rights, who belongs and who doesn’t. we say that our community is a welcoming one and that we all want to celebrate Richard together, but our actions speak differently sometimes. I suspect that if Marlise Boland would have just used the pronoun “we” when talking about the fandom instead of “they”, then there wouldn’t have been nearly as much offense taken when she talked about fans making ring tones out of interview sound bites or captioned gifs. and now that we’re on the subject, since she is a fan herself she should know to ask better questions. I mean, come on! how many times have us seasoned fans heard those same ones before? she clearly does not know the history of this fandom, What. A. Newb. I say that with sarcasm because it’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation for her (whether you consider her a fan or a journalist or something in between). take my summary above about the Lucas North undressing scene: were you offended at my summary of what that scene means? if you didn’t exactly agree with my interpretation, you probably just brushed it off and continued reading because you understood that it was my opinion of the scene, even though I didn’t put that ever important “I think/feel” at the beginning of the sentence (or tack on that “in my opinion/just my opinion” safety net at the end).Β  which is why I think the incidents as of late really don’t have all that much to do with what is being said about them on the surface, it’s about negative feelings towards the particular people who are at the center of them. if nothing else, I just wish we could be real about it.

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Kumbaya

so yeah. there it is. my thoughts. agree, disagree, or agree to disagree- they are mine in my space. I might end up losing some readers over this. and it certainly does not fall in line with my penchant for trying not to give drama the power. once upon a time I wrote Richard a fan letter. in that letter I mentioned how hard it is for me to exist in any type of community because I just want to enjoy myself, do my own thing, without getting caught up in all the politics and rules. but the interactions I’ve had in this fandom have bettered me as a person, both the good and the bad. I enjoy learning about other people who live far away from me or who live different kind of lives than I do. it’s fun to see what we have in common and to learn about our differences. I like broadening my horizons that way, through the fans and the things that trickle down from Richard’s career choices. what has been the most surprising to me about it all is that people seem to enjoy when I share my enjoyments with them. we can laugh and be silly on this blog, inadvertently breaking down stereotypes and prejudices at the same time, while getting to know each other through discussing Richard and his work. that’s what it’s all about for me. heading up The Thorin Project was a very meaningful experience, not only because of all the heartfelt and personal things we included in that book, but that we did it together. maybe it’s not realistic to hope that we can all be nice to each other, look out for each other, and just have fun as Richard implores. but I’m going to try. for my own sake.

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48 thoughts on “For My Own Sake

  1. I don’t think that you should keep quiet because it’s only by discussing this stuff that we know what the hell is going on. I want to clarify, though, that neither of the FB pages that I was talking about is the one Servetus and Perry talked about. The first page I talked about got hassled by someone from the outside, i.e. the charge of “objectification” was levelled at them instead of by them. When I started writing my post, the FB page Serv and Perry took issue with hadn’t said anything yet. It took awhile for me to publish because I asked the Admin of the page I was talking about if I could reference what happened if I kept the page’s name out of it and it took them a couple of hours to get back to me. The second FB page has a different Admin team than the one Admin that was slow in answering inquiries over the summer.

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    1. thank you for pointing out that the FaceBook references in your particular post were different. it shows that each of these incidents are slightly different in and of themselves as well. as I said in my post, I often see those who have more “sensitive sensibilities” being scoffed at for their views though. no, they should not be telling others that they are bad fans for treating particular pics in certain ways or try to have them banned from public places. (in relation to your blog post I feel the need to point out here that the British television stations and what their guidelines are do not follow the US guidelines. so fans should inform themselves of those differences) but they should not be teased for feeling the way that they do either.

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      1. Oh, I absolutely agree with you that no one should be teased or put down for how they feel as long as they own it. I’ve had my own struggles with this over the years but it was my issue to resolve, not the fandom’s.

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  2. Good for you for writing this.

    As you know, I have varying levels of agreement and disagreement with your assertions, for instance, I do think pronouns are important and not “just” language — because they alter the tone of what one says, whether one includes oneself in a group or not or asserts that a group is larger or smaller by means of how inclusive one’s pronouns are. (It’s why the “we” that nurses sometimes use with patience is so offensive to the listener, even if it’s not badly meant, for instance — because in fact the speaker asserts “we” where no “we” is extant.)

    In contrast, I agree about fans hurting each other, and that’s why I tried to make my post about the argument as opposed to the person who was making it. At the same time, I do not believe that disagreeing with someone’s assertion constitutes hurting them. That is a key difference to me, and it’s one of three reasons why (for example) I don’t intervene in discussions about my writing that expresses what I see to be an irresolvable difference of opinion with mine — these are matters of opinion, and as an adult, it doesn’t hurt me to be disagreed with. I am not hurt by the fact that people think that I shouldn’t write things; I am not even hurt by them pointing out that I might apply standards inconsistently (although I think people underestimate the extent to which I think about it); I am hurt when they call me names. To me arguing over an opinion or even the desirability of an action is different than making comments about someone’s person. In essence, pointing out hypocrisy is a fallacy — even if someone making an argument is a hypocrite, the argument is true or false independent of that. All but one blog post I saw in this controversy stayed away from making arguments about the person or trying to shame anyone in particular.

    The issue for me, frankly, is becoming the following one: I used to leave this stuff alone. It was a marginal aspect of the fandom and most people didn’t care what other people did (outside of the forums, which had relatively strict discursive rules). I didn’t enjoy this sort of discussion and still don’t. Admittedly, I don’t entirely see how you can protect your own sensibilities entirely when you are in semi-public, as most of us are in social media — and that problem applies to both sides. But as this sort of claim about “respect” and “appropriateness” moves into the center of the fandom, as it has seemed to me that it has since the end of the summer, those of us who have problems with the way that those arguments are made need to speak up, or we will find that we have very little opportunity left to speak.

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    1. admittedly grammar isn’t as important to me as it is to some, it doesn’t grate on my nerves when it’s not used correctly. I sift through the black and white words to get at what is being said underneath. so when I read a statement like the one that was made on the fan page, I automatically categorize it as her opinion. that’s not to say that certain implications won’t offend me but until it says “we shouldn’t” or “you shouldn’t”, that is the assumption I’m going to work from. others may not approach this in the same way as me, and I understand that. I just feel like minor things are being used to support larger issues in these instances. that if it was me or any of a number of other fans that did what she did, it might still offend but the reaction would not be as harsh. as for protecting my own sensibilities, I can do that in my own space, which I have control over. that is really my whole point in regards to the fan page incident. when I see things that make me uncomfortable in other places, I need to shrug it off if I want to stay there or keep on walking if I’d rather not see it. but in my own space, I can say “I don’t want this here- for whatever reason” and people should respect that. so then if they go other places and complain publicly about how I’m telling others what to do and how horrible that is of me to do so, I see that as not being nice. it’s not respecting my wishes and it’s inciting bad feelings about me, it could be handled in more productive ways or at least vented about in private instead.

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      1. I guess I don’t see how we can know meaning apart from language. What meaning is there “underneath” language? And in this case, we’re talking about the opinions of someone who’s used language professionally to motivate and persuade people her whole life, who has worked in PR, who blogged a long time on other topics before she got involved in the Armitage fandom. She isn’t using her language accidentally. She chooses exactly what she wants to say and then says it. This wasn’t accidental misspeech or failure to communicate her intent — she said exactly what she wanted to say.

        Maybe I’m different, but I’ve had zero problem disagreeing with you in the past. Or maybe I have a much higher tolerance for disagreement. Or maybe you’re not usually telling your readers what the only appropriate way to perceive something is or implying that there’s something inherently prurient in the perception of certain objects.

        There is a difference between what you are saying and what she was saying. You’re saying, “I don’t want this content here because it would trouble my husband and that would in turn trouble me” and it’s obvious to anyone that you, being the only person who knows your husband, are capable of making that judgment on behalf of your relationship, and for yourself. That’s different than saying that you will eventually post the pictures, but not until “most of us have seen the entire play, and registered its powerful and timely message,” which is saying not that the author prefers to prioritize her perception of a particular aspect of the play in talking about it — which, as you note, everyone does — but that she is manipulating her presentation of it to make sure that everyone comes to her conclusion. Before they look at these pictures, readers of her page should have “registered its … message.” Who decides what the “message” is? Isn’t the message itself up for debate? Will there be a quiz to see who has registered the message? What if someone sees the play and concludes that its message is “Richard Armitage is sexy?” (Cause I sure thought that after the play, inter alia — this man has an amazing sexual vibe on stage.) Is someone who thinks that barred? Will there be a password for people who have the right message and no password for the ones who don’t? It’s more or less: I will only show you these photos after I’m certain that you won’t misunderstand them. It implies condescension to an audience that she fears isn’t capable of hanging onto the point that she considers important. Since when are pictures of a topless actor so potent that they cause women to abandon all virtue in discussing the “message” of a play? In my experience, that hasn’t happened and it’s not even a realistic problem on my horizon. We are talking about adults here who can make their decisions for themselves.

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        1. first: I appreciate this comment. it’s naming specific things and elaborating on the whys and hows of it instead of just talking in general terms. it makes it take root in my head better and easier to address. and you are touching upon my particular confusion with this incident: what makes her actions different from mine, or yours, or various other bloggers who make their own rules for their own spaces. I understood that it was condescension that was making others angry, but b/c I didn’t feel that myself I wasn’t aware in what specific ways that it was upsetting (play itself vs beef-cake pics).
          as for what meaning is underneath language: there are some people that you need to “read between the lines” with what they are literally saying in order to understand what their intent is, what they *think* is coming across. sometimes the confusion is innocent, from someone who can’t express themselves well, while other times it’s a type of language/way of speaking that is all it’s own- that you have to learn (compulsive liars, for example).

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          1. But you wouldn’t know to consider those things (intent, lies, misspeech) if it weren’t for the language itself, which signals them — you can’t judge failure to express oneself well apart from language and the rules that determine what effective expression is. (We could talk about whether there is such a thing as intent, linguistically, but I doubt I’d ever be able to sell you on poststructuralism — [ insert mild grin here to indicate light regret about that].)

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          2. words can not always be taken literally, there can be specific meaning behind the ones chosen depending on the speaker, context, regional slang, etc.. just as it’s easier to understand someone when you see them (body language) and hear them (inflections) sometimes you have to sift through the words to get at the meaning. if not, then we’d all speak like robots. language may be a literal thing, but communicating is not.

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          3. Yes, I agree, and I didn’t say language was only literal. I said that it is the nature of language itself that points us towards clues that a message may not be entirely literal. How do you know that someone is lying? Because there are clues in their language (most often, their story is not plausible, or there is physical language that contradicts the text of what is said). If there were no language, you would not know anything about what is being said. There is no language apart from language itself. In that sense, there is no “underneath” language, simply a different aspect of it that is signaled by the aspect we immediately see and which we have to ferret out. Part of what makes social media hard is that many aspects of language have to be attributed rather than observed directly.

            I’ve been trying to figure out what our difference here, because neither of us is a literalist. I think it’s that my history means that what I see as cued by the literal language of this particular message under discussion is different than what you see there. This points to the other thing I’ve been trying to say re: “ownership,” which is that language is a negotiated thing; the meaning of messages is negotiated with differing audiences.

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          4. my usage of “Language” here is words, either written or spoken. there are other forms of language, including sounds and gestures, that are used in place of words but in this conversation about communicating online within the fandom, I’m referring to the black type that we see on the page. just as a non-native speaker of English sometimes has trouble choosing the most appropriate words in order to get their point across in English, so too do the native speakers who just have trouble expressing themselves. in those instances I look at the context of the words, the context of the conversation, the main idea of their paragraphs in order to summarize what they are saying. maybe a few words didn’t make sense, maybe one sentence didn’t really fit in with the rest- it could have just been an errant thought. that is what I mean when I say “underneath”, I am looking at the overall message they are trying to get across as opposed to taking each word, each sentence, literally and making it stand on it’s own. what I think causes problems is when we “look underneath” too much, we factor in what we know of the person and throw in assumptions that we’ve made about why they’re saying what they are saying. you gave all kinds of background on this admin. and seem to be letting that influence why she said what she did. I didn’t know half that stuff until you told me, so our interpretations are coming from different places. I’m not saying that past deeds and prior communications should not be considered in relation to someone’s character, that kind of info rounds out who a person is and helps us to understand why they might feel the way that they do, but it’s possible to infer too much unnecessarily. so in this particular instance she said “the play is about…not about” in relation to the shirtless images. it is a Crucible fanpage that was set up to share Crucible news and to discuss the play. if anyone who posted the pics followed them up with comments about John’s vulnerability or how it helped convey virility, etc. then I think that would have been in line with the tone that she had specifically set for the page. but posting the pics, taken out of context, to celebrate Richard’s body or how distracting it is, etc. (I’m generalizing) does not have to do with the play or the established tone. as per her words: “these bare-chested shots of RA seen elsewhere will have to wait until after the download has been released in the States, and most of us have seen the entire play, and registered its powerful and timely message.” meaning that she wants to celebrate the message of the play, not just visual parts of it that can easily be taken out of context, especially for those who have not seen the play yet. others are interpreting her words as a reprimand for not taking the play seriously enough in general but I see it as her saying it’s not being taken seriously enough in that specific place (the FB page).

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          5. If you’re looking at what you call the “overall language” above, then you and I don’t disagree about interpreting language. I am simply saying that there is nothing apart from that in any message. But you seem to be saying something different here than you did earlier; earlier I thought you were saying you were adding material to the words of the message (“looking underneath”; now you seem to be saying there is a limit on the material that can be added to the words of the message in interpreting it. I don’t see any practical criterion available for drawing that limit, and I don’t see how anyone can interpret any statement outside their own history of interpretation, either — one way we know what words or other types of language mean is based on what they have meant in the past. Otherwise we’d be using dictionaries for every single interpretive act we undertook.

            I also don’t see how one can separate “visual parts of the play” from the message of the play itself. When we go to see a play in the theater (or watch it on vid, as many of us will in this case), we go to see people act it out in front of us — what is acted out and how it is acted out is part of the message. (And in fact, with productions that are done over and over again, it’s often precisely the “visual part of the play” that is crucial, since audiences are prompted to rethink what they know about old chestnuts because they see the play staged differently — and that certainly happened to me in this case. I don’t know that I liked the play any more after seeing it in London but I certainly thought a great deal more about the personal betrayals level of the piece than I had before seeing it.) Had they done a totally nude production, that would have been part of what they were trying to say. In this particular case, the scene depicted in the pictures is very much a part of what Armitage is trying to say about Proctor (and indeed, in the interview he did with Digital Theatre, he pointed to Proctor’s situation as a farmer and his basic desires in life, and these pictures very much reflect those statements, I think).

            But even if one truly believes that there’s something so powerful about these pictures that seeing them separately from seeing the play — I am not going to call that out of context, because it’s simply a different context, not a wrong context — would knock out the possibility that anyone who saw them would be able to appreciate other aspects of the play, anyone who posts them still isn’t going to be able to control what readers think about them when she does. The point of what I said was not to say “don’t say that in your own space,” or “even don’t set that standard in your space,” it was to point out how self-contradictory that standard is and to set up a situation in which others might feel facilitated in their desire to talk either with me or in their own spaces about their disagreement with that point of view.

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          6. separating visual parts of the play is really easy to do if you haven’t seen the play itself yet. reading about it and seeing still images of it, is not the same as experiencing the whole production. so if I were to post on that page,”John is a farmer and he’s had a long day at work and now he’s bent over that basin washing up before he eats. gah! look at that ass! and that position he’s in there? I could fit quite nicely right. under. there. *fans self* I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crackers, that’s for damn sure! his wife must be a cold-hearted bitch. seriously! how can she resist him?” that would go against the tone that had been established for that page. but take the lightheartedness away, and the sentiment is still the same: how could his wife resist him? he had an affair with a young girl, yeah, I know all that. but look at that sex appeal! I might be tempted to just let it go and live in denial…because I haven’t seen the play. I haven’t seen the emotion, I haven’t seen the way that Richard plays off of each of those other characters. I haven’t seen those end scenes with him in prison. you can imagine emotion, you can read about emotion, but you need to feel it to really understand it. maybe my opinion won’t change after I see the play on download, maybe it will. we’ll just have to wait and see. you can be sure that I’ll have more passion, more insight, to discuss it after I’ve seen it though. and that’s why the FB admin. didn’t want those pics spoken about out of context (or the visual production context). because apparently the story carries a heavy weight for her and she wants others to discuss it with objectively. I would respect that even if I did want to talk about his ass all day long. it’s common courtesy.

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          7. I know you read the play, though. So I know you know, for instance, that it’s a serious play. I would also guess that a huge proportion of Armitage’s fans are at least familiar with the material. It was also posted / to be posted / prevented from being posted on a page that was about that play and Richard Armitage’s performance in it. So it’s not like anyone who sees that photo there is coming to it without any contextualizing information about Armitage or the play. But even if it were, I would never assume that the automatic response to seeing any of those photos is a prurient one. That is one of many. He’s not in a sexualizing pose.

            I don’t see why we are talking about this in terms of offense because I don’t think anyone committed any offense. She said something on a public social media page, many of us disagreed with important premises of what she said. Some of her own readership disagreed with her, vehemently, on the page, and some of us disagreed with her vehemently, off the page. Sure, she has a right to condescend. And we also have a right to point out the problems with that when it appears in public. Whether someone is offended is a different question — that is certainly true; that people should take responsibility for their own reactions. I don’t see anyone in this discussion not doing that, though.

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          8. I think the FB administrator did nothing wrong, I understand her reasons behind doing so, I did not feel condescended to by her particular use of words, and I will respect her wishes not to post those pics and hold off talking about them on her page until I’ve seen the play myself- at which time I will respectfully discuss them within the context of the play; b/c that is her wish. this incident in and of itself did not upset me. what did upset me was the backlash that this admin. received by just trying to make her wishes about her page’s subject matter known to the posters who were at odds with it.and how the fandom at large is taking the incident itself out of context. I didn’t appreciate the sarcasm several bloggers/commenters have used in order to get their opposing view across; I found it in poor taste and I felt it did nothing to alleviate the tension. nowhere have I seen open discourse about this incident. I felt this issue was part of the larger “armitage protection mode” issue and so I addressed both the FB incident and a more general explanation of why APM is often used and why I don’t think it should automatically be looked down upon, as it so often is in the fandom. the point of my post was to share the views I have just stated and to hopefully give others a chance to see an alternate opinion. they can agree, disagree, or agree to disagree in conversation with me in these comments. I feel that you and I will have to agree to disagree though b/c we are getting nowhere with our differing opinions concerning the incident, or the secondary discussion about language. so I’m going to stop our discourse here, b/c I just don’t see how else to state my views more clearly. thank you for taking the time to try and understand my side πŸ™‚

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          9. The other thing, and then I promise I am done, for good, because this issue isn’t really at the center of my awareness anymore, is that even if you had exactly that reaction seeing the photo — would that be wrong? Why would anyone want to prevent people from having that reaction? Or even assume that were their first reaction, they might not have other reactions later? That continues to puzzle me. In this case, it’s hard for me to see what would constituted a problematic reaction to those photos.

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  3. I don’t think anybody ever needs to apologize for their opinion (within reason) – if anything then it is usually *how* an opinion is voiced that attracts criticism. So there – I think *your* post is well within the realms of reasonable arguing.
    And I really enjoyed reading it because you touch on interesting matters – are we measuring people for the same thing with different standards? And are there topics so sensitive that even the slightest reference to them make us divide into different factions? I don’t really want to get into the actual incident that sparked the recent controversy. So on a general level: I agree with you that site owners have the right to set boundaries and to control their space. And that readers have responsibility to look after themselves, too, and avoid what they don’t want to handle. The potential pitfall comes when issues are raised that are worthy of general discussion. (Such as the “morals” of objectification in this case. It is a hot topic – and one that almost everybody has thought about at some point in their fan journey and thus has an opinion on.) This happens all the time, but sometimes the topic has more of an impact because it is discussed on a platform that has a wider reach. And that is where the problem lies for me – if an opinion is voiced by someone with a wide reach, then there is the danger that it will be seen as “gospel” and is turned into a directive. All the more reason to be careful with wording one’s opinion, and to realize that there is a responsibility connected with having a large audience.
    Personally, I would prefer to live in a state of “peaceful co-existence” with everyone, the proverbial “live and let live”. I don’t like factions and I hate disharmony. Not sure if it’s possible to leave differences behind and rally as *one*. I’m not even sure if that is realistic or needed. I’ve always believed that there is space for everyone. It would be nice, though, if we could accept that boundaries are fluid and change all the time. And that one person’s APM is another’s shame.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. yes, it is not so much the particular incident that troubles me but the principal behind the matter. it’s clear that people interpret the same things differently and we all have our own bias b/c of personal experiences, etc. but it seems that we so often lose sight of what we’re arguing against because of who is involved, whether that be other fans, Richard himself, etc. I don’t want us all to get along all of the time; then we would never have anything to debate! I just wish we could refrain from certain kinds of tones, rallying others to one side or the other, using specific people/incidents as scapegoats for built-up feelings. naive maybe

      I can certainly appreciate the tone that is set when certain words are used over others. I routinely go back through my posts and comments to switch out “you” with “we”, or insert the required “I think/I feel/IMO” before I hit that submit button. it’s just a shame that we can’t seem to overlook those, that the message gets lost if the “right” words aren’t chosen, or used by accident in the heat of the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I highly doubt you will lose readers from posting honestly what your feelings are, Kelly. I love your posts, and you often give a very different perspective; whether I agree with everything you say, or any other blogger has to say, doesn’t lessen my interest in reading various viewpoints as we navigate the highs and lows of this fandom. I do agree with much of what you said here, and I do think it is each blogger’s or page administrator’s right to express an opinion and control what appears on their site. I didn’t happen to agree with the reasons for banning shirtless John Proctor pics, and felt a little indignant at the implication that those who shared them didn’t fully appreciate Arthur Miller’s work, Richard Armitage’s performance, or Yael Farber’s production. So I ultimately typed away during my lunch break and made my own post about it. Now I need to get back to my conference!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. often things bleed into each other. so while I may be arguing against one aspect, you might be arguing against another- but we both just meld them together b/c they are similar enough. that’s how misunderstandings come about and that’s what causes the hurt feelings a lot of the time. to me, the issues of protecting the Procter shirtless pics b/c of differing sensibilities, and saying you don’t want certain kinds of discussions in your space, are two different issues. yes, they can bleed into each other but they can also be seen separately as well. I feel that the issue of being able to fan the way we each choose is being tacked on to the FB page incident b/c that’s where the issue originated this time. the FB page should not be held accountable for all similar instances that have come before, used as a scapegoat for freedom to oogle. and the FB administrator should not be doled out a harsher treatment b/c of her connection to Marlise Boland (which I’ve not seen specifically but fear may have some bearing)

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      1. No, she shouldn’t be doled out a harsh treatment because of a connection to M.B… I think you and I tend to agree more than disagree on the topic of M.B. That never entered my thinking. I felt the need to respond to what I perceived to be her chastisement for those who wanted to post/view/discuss/ogle the shirtless screencaps, and would have felt the need to respond regardless of who posted the perceived rebuke.

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        1. something that happens in these kind of circumstances, which isn’t always a bad thing, is when an issue that may have been on many minds now has the opportunity to be given a voice. I think at the heart of things, it’s the freedom to fan in our own individual ways that is most prevalent here. some feel that the FB administrator was promoting the prohibition of that in general- not just on her page- and others don’t see it that way. but when it comes down to it, now we can all see how important of an issue it truly is.

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      2. That certainly wasn’t the case in what I’ve said. I’ve been to this rodeo at least three times that I remember in the last five years and none of those, including this one, had anything to do with Marlise Boland.

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        1. that brings up a good point, that you’ve been a part of similar incidents in the past. b/c to those of us who haven’t seen it three times or more, it may not hold as much weight. it can be annoying and may rile us up but if you feel like you keep reliving the same arguments or types of incidents over and over, it may make you feel stronger about it.

          Liked by 4 people

  5. I think it’s good you ave expressed your opinion in detail and i think in all of this it is important to remember we all have different sensitivities and sensibilities. And have the right to act according to them in our own spaces too. I have to say it still surprises me very often where arguments comes from. I mostly don’t have the time to read everything and find out through third parties that yet another conflict/debate has started. I’m surprised how much time people have to invest in conflict, i for one can hardly keep up with a skim through read to keep abreast of news and read impressions.
    But then again i also understand that we all as fans get more passionate about things to do with the OOA πŸ™‚ normal rules don’t necessarily apply to how we feel and how we act based on hos strongly we feel.
    It’s strange to come back to this discussion in a way as i was fully aware that the fact the scene existed in the play would be controversial, starting with people accusing us fans that we went to see the play for that.
    DT themselves are also well aware of the impact of the scene, which is evident from the care and thought it was filmed with and also by the fact that very early on the used it in their newsletters to try and gain more subscribers.
    And the whole debate then also has a bit of the opposite effect, it just blows it out of proportion and even more out of context when i think essentially the vast majority probably agrees that it’s a beautiful atmospheric scene played by a good looking man within a very moving play.
    It’s so beautifully captured for cinema that i just can’t see how seeing any bits of it can do any damage at all.
    I find it difficult to keep going back to the Crucible sometimes and discuss it in more detail because every time i am conscious there are people out there still waiting to see it… and this expectation drawn out in time creates an even more sensitive environment. Essentially i feel guilty about being able to enjoy it when others haven’t.
    As fans we adore to dissect and enjoy everything RA does as a whole and every single bit on its own too πŸ™‚ It’s probably a way of making more of it πŸ˜‰ It’s probably only natural for fans to do so but sometimes the nitty gritty detail comes back to bite us πŸ˜‰ There just isn’t a best way to like him or his work or a measure of how much is appropriate and such.

    I for one hope the download will be available soon for all as i think a lot of the anxiety about it will then go away and everyone can make up their own mind about it πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know what you mean about not having the time to keep up. last night was the first time I’ve watched/read anything from the China press tour. I had some spare time so I jumped on youtube and watched two of the interviews, then I got side-tracked by the Q&A with Richard and Lee Pace b/c I hadn’t seen that either!
      The Crucible has been a double-edged sword from day one. it was such an exciting and meaningful experience for so many fans, yet not everyone could take part. the various premieres and Q&As that fans travel to attend are one thing, but the play was longer-running which gave it time to gain momentum. the Stage Door became it’s own production and a type of “badge of honor” within the fandom. I read so many accounts of fans going to the play and not really *wanting* to go to the Stage Door but doing it anyway b/c that’s what fans are supposed to do. all of that led to divisions, not only in the experience itself but how one viewed the play-what they personally took away from it. I’m sure there are fans out there who didn’t find the play all that meaningful, who didn’t like certain parts of it, or who were able to walk away from it as “just another play”- but we don’t hear from them much b/c how blasphemous! if you can’t find the meaning of life in it than you must be uneducated/unfeeling. and so we point fingers and puff out our chests and hope that no one sees through us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a hard time imagining people not being moved by it at all… though having said that i did see a few browsing the net during it, so i guess that did indeed happen. But i guess those who didn’t enjoy it much won’t be reading all that much about it either πŸ™‚ We each focus on what we like/are more interested in. I’m more worried about those who would have wanted to but haven’t had the chance yet and may have to wait… Hopefully for not much longer.
        Anyway, moving on to the next subject πŸ˜‰ the China stuff is fascinating, i’ve not seen it all but intend to do so over weekend, Perry put a nice list together so i don’t have to search. And thanks for reminding me about the QA! Not sure i watched both and certainly meant to watch it again. πŸ™‚

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      2. I’m interested in hearing more about the “badge of honor” designation. I certainly don’t feel that way. I know of one person who used those words specifically, but I’d like to know if that’s a broader perception.

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        1. I wasn’t aware that someone used the “badge of honor” description specifically, so my use of it may just be coincidental. the mood surrounding the Stage Door, as weeks went by, seemed to be less about a souvenir (Richard’s signature or photo) to remember the occasion (witnessing Richard portray John Proctor) and more like evidence that one had been in the same place-stood on the same ground with him. granted, what a “souvenir” is/means can be individual and subjective but it seemed to turn into it’s own fandom event, apart from the theatre one.

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          1. Rereading your earlier statement (what if you can’t find the meaning of life in the play, do you need to be silent? — paraphrasing), that seems to more or less square with my own feelings about these photos, which is that it’s fine to appreciate them as visually appealing without drawing any other conclusions about the significance of the play. I.e., the meaning of the photo may be entirely separate from the play, and that’s fine. I think a lot of people did have revelations while watching the play and/or standing in the line. I doubt anyone who had one feels that everyone has to have one. I do think that the incentive to write is greater if one has had an experience like that. But I also saw commentary throughout the summer about people who had felt disappointed in various ways. Some of it showed up on Mulubinba’s blog, for instance, and one Twitter. I capped some of it because it was also part of the fan experience.

            It is correct to say that attending the stage door became a “fan event” in its own right, at least in my estimation. I don’t know that that was illegitimate, though; Armitage was there every night himself. In terms of going or not going, many fans who were at the play stated that they did not go for various reasons (no desire, public transportation). I am not sure that going when one did not plan to go, or going and being disappointed, are negative events on a universal level. The latter is certainly saddening and people who experienced that are worthy of our sympathy. But anyone who did that surely learned something. I personally didn’t see or talk to anyone who expressed that she felt coercively dragged into that line against her express will or did it because it was what she was supposed to do. In my own experience it was more a very significant ambivalence about doing something that I then did out of curiosity and because as friends had pointed out, I would have not likely had the chance to repeat the experience. I also think there’s a rhetorical effect at work here in a lot of these accounts — if one thinks one is supposed to appreciate Armitage for his acting but is really curious about the stage door or his person (and that was the only way to experience Armitage the person in all of this), then it makes sense to stress that one was *really* there for the play and that the stage door was something one was less interested, or uninterested, in doing. Because I agree with you that there is a certain level of fear of saying “I only wanted to see him in person, I didn’t care about the play”. But in saying, “look, you don’t have to appreciate these photos as art or as scenes from the play, appreciate them any way you like,” that is part of what I am trying to legitimate.

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  6. My feelings on the subject of fb pages and groups can be summed up succinctly in this way:
    Fb pages and groups are not a public forum, or some sort of deity-provided, or constitutionally-assured right. They are the creation and intellectual property of those who started them, and those who admin them. They are no different from fb profile walls. And you know what they say about those: ‘X’s wall, X’s rules’.
    Having said that, thing posted on fb are obviously subject to the rules of fb and of various laws governing the sharing of personal information, theft of intellectual property, violation of privacy, etc. And of course ‘obscenity’, hate speech, racism, bullying, spam and other undesirable things.
    However, if what’s being said or shared does not violate any of the above, there’s no real reason why someone can’t delete comments or posts which do not fit within the rules that they have written. I know plenty of people who run fb groups and delete comments which might be hurtful or offensive to another group member or individual outside the group. They’re within their rights to do so. You could even argue that this is a good thing, if these actions are taken to protect someone. Otoh, in the larger scheme of things that’s irrelevant. These people are exercising their rights just as bloggers might.

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      1. and this is what I mean. you shouldn’t have had to clarify yourself in follow-up comments but I understand why you did. b/c sometimes someone will pluck out a sentence from you’re overall comment and make it bigger than it was meant to be, and often it wasn’t even the focus of what you were trying to say. that is unfortunate b/c it says to me that we are not listening to each other. we only want to be heard instead of hearing others ourselves 😦

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        1. and yes, I misused “you’re” in that sentence but instead of correcting it I’m going to trust that my meaning was understood within the context that it was used πŸ˜‰

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        2. Picking out a sentence from someone’s overall comment or post is a good way to create a distraction from what someone has really written, whether or not the other party has actually read and understood what’s been said, a useful way of preventing others from reading it and understanding it. That’s why I clarified it.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. And for the record, I can’t bring myself to use the Lucas North images ffrom 8.4 for ogling either. That scene was far too fraught for me to be able to divorce the attractiveness of the man from the horrible weight of what’s happening. OTOH, even though he’s undergoing torture in the scene, I don’t have any problem staring at shirtless Porter expiring in the desert sun. Our lines are all different, for different reasons. The real trick is for us all to avoid telling anyone else where to draw them.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree with everything you’ve said here and so the following point is not directed at you but at the sentiment that you expressed at the end of your comment (just wanted to make that clear so you didn’t think I was talking to you directly since this is technically a reply to you πŸ™‚ )
        “our lines are all different, for different reasons. the real trick is for us all to avoid telling anyone else where to draw them.” and that is where I’m stuck, b/c that should hold true to both those who want to objectify and those who don’t. yes, maybe the way the FB admin. expressed herself could be seen as condescending but she has a right to feel that way and to express those feelings. she didn’t say “the fandom should not do this” or “anyone who doesn’t take this seriously is unfeeling” or whatever her words seemed to imply to so many about the play and objectification. so I think the offense is on each of our shoulders b/c of our own feelings, not hers.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t read the comments to your post yet, my there are quite a few and they are very long! I did want to say, though, regarding the Lucas North derrierre photo, that I have noticed that while I do drool and giggle over many of the ‘nekkid’ (as someone else called it) pics I always made a quick bypass of the Lucas one…for exactly the reason you wrote about…it has to do with submission, etc. to his former torturer and I did not feel comfortable with that one due to the context. Perhaps not having seen The Crucible (yet…when will the digital download ever be available?!), I would have a different reaction to them than I do now. Or perhaps it would just change once having seen them in context. Either way I’m good with it. Your post today had many reasonable and valid points and one of my ‘New Years resolutions’ this year is to be more tolerant and less judgemental. I like to try and keep things on the light side with my RA fangirling…too many real life things to stress about rather than RA fandom dramas. Your argument definitely made sense to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you for sharing your thoughts. by your comment (and those of at least one other commentor) it seems that my use of the Lucas pics as an example made my stance easier to understand; that makes me feel good! I don’t want to change views, necessarily, but just to have them presented and discussed in an atmosphere of respect for each other as fellow fans. and I do feel that has been accomplished here, even with the opposing views πŸ™‚

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      1. I hadn’t realized before why it was that I quickly skimmed past those Lucas pics; and even though I quickly move on from them I still do pause and give the view a little appreciation! I now understand why I was doing that. It’s good to mull over eveyone’s views and learn a little something about myself along the way too. Thanks.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t/can’t “appreciate” the bum pics (even the Lucas ones) b/c I do. I just don’t do it publicly. I am a living breathing female πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

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          1. I think the thing is that people can isolate the images from the context, which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing, although I have a lot bigger problem with Porter staked out than with Lucas dropping his drawers in 8.4. This is because (obviously) Lucas is *not* being tortured in the scene in the water tower. Ogling Porter on a stake is a bit like (to me, anyway) ogling the electric shock or waterboarding scenes. All the same, I am a living, breathing female and I do appreciate the view of Porter’s torso.

            This touches on some arguments I’ve seen in the fandom that certain scenes were added to Spooks or Strikeback for gratuitous ‘totty shots’. I don’t remember where I saw these, but I never felt that and I think that those assertions said more about the people making them than about the shows themselves (and certainly RA’s performance).

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          2. yeah, taking that Porter scene out of context can be iffy sometimes for me too (I do use it in my posts but more with the audience in mind than for myself). as I’ve mentioned before, that scar that he has on his stomach reminds me of one my father has in almost the same place, and my father got that scar when in the army, and so there’s some weird associations there for me. also, if you see a whole set of gifs from that scene, some fans have the habit of making it appear rather sexual- it embarrasses me. I sometimes physically put my hands up to my face and peek out, LOL! I can be a walking contradiction sometimes, with the way I make naughty innuendos but then hide from the speedo pics…

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  8. I find the speedo pics embarrassing even when in context. The speedo scene is just … I don’t even know what to say. No man endowed as RA should be walking around in a speedo…ever. It’s just too much. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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