Richard Armitage has a right to do/say what he wants. so does every fan in this fandom, whether they are in agreement with his preferences or not.
When fans chastise other fans by saying ‘if you don’t like what Richard tweets, then don’t read it’, they should also turn that right back around to themselves: don’t like opposition to Richard? then don’t read complaints about him.
He’s a grown man and can take of himself. no shit, really?! I thought he was an 8 year old orphan with no one to look out for his well being. don’t I feel silly?
Unwritten fandom rule: don’t speculate about Richard’s actions…unless you agree with them. if you sympathize with him, then feel free to offer up countless explanations about what may be going on in his life that could be influencing his mood. but if you don’t like what he’s doing, then you should just keep your mouth shut, because speculation is intrusive!
We did not elect anyone fandom president or sheriff, and do not have a set of official rules. because we are grown adults and can take care of ourselves.
So in summary: I am allowed to not like the way Richard handles his Twitter account. just as you are allowed to love it and not want to change a thing. let us respect each other.
I’d like to give a shout-out to fellow bloggers,Servetus and Perry, to show them some support. they keep us up to date on Richard’s career, doing countless hours of legwork, so that we don’t have to. and they give us a venue to voice our opinions, which is hard to come by in this fandom. all that goes into writing a blog post is time consuming. putting yourself out there when sharing an unpopular view, takes courage.
We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting laundry ~E.B.White
When I think of what it is to be a fan of an actor, following their career and taking part in discussions about them and their work, words that come to my mind are things like admiration, gratification, fulfillment, passion, camaraderie, fun. that’s what I feel when I’m admiring on my own or with like minded people but when someone asks me about my hobbies, what I like to do for fun, do I say I like to admire actors and discuss their work online? (oh! that was good phrasing, I need to remember that…) the answer is: no. why? because the words that swirl around my head in those situations are more along the lines of childish, shameful, secretive, stalkerish, judgmental, misunderstood. when I do attempt to explain, people generally think I mean gossip magazines and entertainment news shows, neither of which are really my thing.
my family and close friends know about my “hobby”. I wouldn’t say they’re supportive so much as indifferent. they know I like actors and the movies they star in, I talk about them all the time, but I’m a storyteller so it’s just par for the course when I bring up a character from a movie to illustrate a point. if I went into detail about how I know or why I know, well, that’s when things get tricky. because unless you get paid to be a movie critic or gossip columnist, then you’re just wasting your time on frivolous pursuits. “wow, you really like this guy don’t you? isn’t that a little…obsessive?”
I’m drawn to actors. not musicians, or directors, or professional athletes, but actors. I like acting. the psychology of why I admire the male variety is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things; the lust factor is not as big as people automatically assume. if I were a man, these actors would be my sports heroes. I would rattle off their batting averages and recall specific games in detail, while pondering how their grip on the bat affects their swing. I would vocally admire their impressive knack for reading other players and speculate about their emotional state and how it may be throwing them off balance, or maybe that’s just the cut of the new uniforms. all of that would be considered normal. yet watching all of an actor’s work and recalling the nuances of body language they put into each character, while comparing their real life persona to their acting one, is obsessive. admiring an actor’s craft and the choices that they make, both professionally and personally, and weighing how the way they see the world around them plays into all of that; well, that’s stalking. “you know you can’t have a relationship with them, right? they’re not real”
I’ve been admiring actors pretty much all my life. the reasons change, how I go about “admiring” may differ, but it’s always something that I’ve enjoyed. and just as there is skill in sports, a rush of excitement and adrenaline, life lessons to be taken away from the game and applied to real life; I find all of that in acting as well. the drooling over the attractiveness of the players, is just human nature. and the lighthearted, sometimes silly, atmosphere that often infuses the crowd? silly is subjective. next time you go to a professional sporting event, look around you and you’ll see what I mean.
sports, cars, acting, singing, fashion, fishing; it’s all relative. recognize what brings you joy and embrace it. what we do, as fans, doesn’t have to be hidden in shame. it makes us happy, it connects us to others, it can be a healthy escape from the not-so-fun responsibilities of our every day realities. what’s so wrong with that?
as we so often say in this fandom, every one “fans” differently, there is no right or wrong way to do it. while many of us may follow a similar path in the way we go about things, our personalities and individual situations are reflected in our actions. we have different sensibilities, we get different things out of the experience but the great thing about being a fan online is that it’s all up to us, we can tailor it to fit our needs. my “normal” usually consists of the following: I become aware of an actor and am impressed by one of his performances. I look him up on IMDb to see what other movies/television shows he’s been in. I Google his name and click on a few fan-sites, along with browsing through Google images to get a better feel of him. this usually satisfies my initial curiosity but as the weeks and months go by, I’ll casually investigate more by turning to Youtube for interviews. if I’m lucky, someone will have uploaded some of his older, lesser known work. after watching some of that, I’ll turn back to the fan-sites and find print interviews and articles. I like both video and print interviews because they offer slightly different views on the actor’s personality and work ethic. all of this “research” may take place over several weeks and months, or it may be a crash course that happens over one weekend; I tend to alternate between the two.
it’s normal for me to not be able to get an actor off my mind. how he moves, how he talks, what I’ve learned about his background and what kind of actor he is. I become enamored with his characters, daydreaming about their stories and struggles, putting myself in their shoes and contemplating what I would have done differently in their situation. by this point I’ve formed some opinions on the actor and his work, and so I might venture out to see what other people think of him. this can be hard at the “puppy love” stage because the internet is a harsh place.
people may say he’s ugly, people may say he seems like a jerk, people may complain that his acting sucks and anyone who doesn’t see it must be blind. this is when I forcefully sit on my hands and resist the (very strong) urge to jump in and say that they’re the crazy ones if they can’t see how talented he is! that I happen to like how he looks and no one is forcing them to like him, so just be quiet!!
but here’s what I always have to remind myself: their words have nothing to do with me. their words don’t change how the actor affects me. their words are just words. in the end, all that really matters is me. I shouldn’t have to defend what makes me happy, I shouldn’t have to justify why it makes me happy or how. I can internally debate those things on my own, but looking to others for approval about what makes me happy is not something I want to spend my time on.
I want to fall in love with fictional characters. I want to revel in the way that certain actors bring them to life. I want to learn about the actors that portray those characters, see myself in them and watch them experience things that I never will. I want to see them grow as people and let them continually surprise me with their talent. I want to smile when I hear their voice in interviews, swoon when I see them in photoshoots, laugh and cry and rage and even shiver in fear, as they wreak havoc on my emotions during their performances. I want to celebrate all of the good things about them with fellow fans, and even admit the not-so-good things about them (and consequently, me) with people that I feel safe with. I learn from them, both the actors themselves and the people I discuss them with, in so many different ways.
“What’s your hobby?”
I like to crush on talented men.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
and just for the record, I have nothing against sports.
And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time~T.S. Eliot
I often find myself looking forward to a trip, not only for the adventure or escape, but also so that I can come home again and see my everyday surroundings in a different light. this brings to mind Bilbo, and how different things must have looked to him when he went back home to his Hobbit hole. I’ve always likened the whirlwind of finding Richard and becoming part of this fandom to Bilbo, at the beginning of The Hobbit: an unexpected journey, when he runs down the lane enthusiastically shouting “I’m going on an adventure!”
As I reached my two year anniversary of this blog in May and headed into my third year of following Richard Armitage, I vowed to spend some time looking back at the characters that Richard has portrayed, comparing my impressions of them. participating in the Blog Introspection Challenge played into the looking back theme nicely, encouraging me to peruse my blog posts and note how blogging itself had affected me over my span of time in the fandom. I had another occasion, recently, that found me looking back at things in a similar way. it caused me to create an outline of sorts that followed the timeline of my blog, highlighting certain events and thoughts for me to ponder. the process turned out to be an important part of my journey as a fan but very difficult. and lonely. because it touched upon things that are taboo to talk about in fandom. I feel as if I truly cannot move forward until I acknowledge it, because this blog was originally formed to recall my “fan path” and this struggle was part of the journey. I hope it can help others who may be struggling with something similar.
When I almost said goodbye and how it broke my heart
My readers may have sensed that something was going on with me. I was struggling- putting out less blog posts, hitting writer’s block walls, and just generally pulling away from everything fandom related. I assured everyone that I wasn’t quitting, just pulling back a bit, and that was true…until it wasn’t. when I hit rock bottom, I would go back to my Love Day postand try to push through the disheartening confusion. it was rough but I eventually made it through, with much soul searching and some help from a friend who was willing to hold candid conversations with me behind closed doors (thank you, friend!).
The fandom experience and how we see Richard meets an individual need for each of us. when that need starts to change, it can be confusing and scary. sometimes it’s morphing and evolving into something new, while other times it’s slowly being choked out. when you’re in the middle of it, it can be really hard to tell the difference. my struggle was a result of what I was no longer getting from the RA fan experience, the feeling of fulfillment as I bonded with the object of my affection. the issue that I just couldn’t seem to ignore any longer was Richard’s penchant for being a people-pleaser. it bothered me, and I felt guilty that it bothered me. I’m not one to just sit back and take things, I have a hard time not standing up for myself and others. knowing which battles to fight and making sacrifices for the greater good, are concepts I’ve had to learn through much trial and error.
I like to complain. cynical complaining is my favorite. Richard doesn’t complain much, does he? (at least not where we can see) he never seems to judge and he has loads of patience… he’s just so damn good, all of the time. how can I possibly emulate that? I try but I still have those “throwing chairs out windows” moments more often than I would like. in short, I was feeling like I wasn’t good enough.
the differing likes and dislikes between Richard and myself never really bothered me until this one thing did. then I started to take a closer look at those differences and began to wonder: are Richard and I too different? because of this, one of the actors I follow on the side started to move towards the forefront of my attentions. he is someone who seems all around more like me. he doesn’t reach me in the same way, deep down, that Richard does though. he hasn’t inspired me, both creatively and personally, like Richard has. but it was just easier. I suddenly found myself part of a triangle that I didn’t know how to get out of. now don’t get me wrong, a Richard Armitage/Jamie Dornan sandwich isn’t the worst possible place to be, but I had some issues to work through and I had to do it alone.
why? why can’t we mention other crushes or things we find less than desirable about Richard, without fear of reprimand? (sometimes harsh reprimand) what is up with this unspoken competition of who is the best fan, the truest fan? if someone doesn’t like a particular role that Richard took, didn’t feel his performance was all that, or doesn’t happen to like his choice of clothes/hair/personal likes and dislikes, why are they seen as less of a fan?
I think as long as we’re polite, not constantly picking apart everything that Richard does, that some disagreement is healthy and can even be enlivening, and opening yourself up to different experiences by following other actors (if you so choose) can be enlightening. kind of like Bilbo, and the different way he saw the world after venturing away from his safe little Hobbit hole.
I’m reminded of a little incident I still get teased about from from time to time from my earlier life. when I was first dating my husband and he introduced me to his friends for the first time, they naturally wanted to know a bit more about me. as the questions of favorite music/bands/songs, etc started to feel more like a test, I replied with the now infamous line “I like what he likes”. as they got to know me better they discovered that although he and I do tend to have the same taste when it comes to certain things, it by no means encompasses everything. I have my own mind. do we have to like what Richard likes? do we have to behave as Richard does? do we need Richard’s approval in order to feel worthy? if I “like what Richard likes” all those meet-cutes that I’m constantly daydreaming about won’t be nearly as exciting if (when?) they actually happen…
Why I’m still here
I’m still here because I enjoy being a fan of Richard Armitage. I admire him, his personal brand of acting fascinates me, his personality warms me, his presence electrifies me. being a fan of Richard Armitage is good for me. being a part of this fandom has enriched me intellectually and culturally, it’s helped me grow as a person. and blogging about all of these things has cultivated my writing skills and boosted my self-confidence. being a fan of Richard Armitage keeps my synapses crackling!
I want to feel enlivened, enlightened, I want to continue to see the world in a different way. I can do that by following Richard’s career, and everything that trickles down from it. he has a profound effect on me. alike, different, easy, hard and everything in between. he affects me in a meaningful way.
I wasn’t going to write a post in reaction to Richard’s involvement with Cybersmile and the things that he’s said in the interview, blog post, and tweets relating to it. I understood what he was saying and can appreciate the points he was trying to make, so although some fans were upset by his words, I wasn’t one of them. now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been reading the opposing blog posts and comments in regards to this subject and I think they all have merit, the issues they are bringing forth are sound and worth discussing; I just don’t think Richard was necessarily talking to us. we’re not why he’s doing this.
I have a 10 year old daughter–she’ll turn 11 this summer (a Leo, like Richard), so she’s one of the youngest in her upcoming 6th grade class. I think she’s the target audience for these talks, preteens/teenagers/young adults. they’re the ones who have not known a world that didn’t include social media in some form. they don’t write letters, send them in the mail, and wait weeks or months until they get a reply. they don’t depend on a physical Library to get their information from, some of them don’t have the benefit of family members who give them their undivided attention. the majority of them have social media in their hands, literally, from the time they wake up in the morning until they go to sleep at night. they don’t have the life experience to understand that kind of power. every knee-jerk reaction comes pouring out of their fingertips, for better and for worse, and spread over vast virtual areas.
I mentioned my daughter specifically (I have a 15 year old son as well but he already thinks he knows everything) because these issues have become very relevant to her, as of late. she experiences first hand how her peers lash out in anger, jealousy, and fear on a regular basis through text messages, saying horribly nasty and taunting things. then deleting those conversations later, pretending they didn’t happen with excuses of lighten up, I was only kidding, don’t be a cry baby. all of this from friends, not bullies, friends. the way she gets push-and-pulled emotionally, back and forth, is disheartening. she’s not completely innocent herself, she joins in because she knows no other way, that’s how children her age communicate. she knows it’s wrong in her heart because it makes her feel bad, both when it’s directed at her and when she directs it at someone else, but what other way is there? I think this is what Richard was trying to get across– the flip side– how sometimes we’re the bullies without realizing it. don’t react in anger, stop and think why you might be having the particular reaction you are having to someone’s words/actions, use your real picture/name to begin with so that it will automatically cause you to think twice about saying things that you might not be too proud of later, etc.
I try to get my daughter to vent to me first, to give her a chance to think through how she feels before she hits reply, and plead with her to stop engaging– walk away, say what you need to say and then stop because it will be never ending if you don’t. meanwhile my tongue is bleeding from how forcefully I’m biting it, wanting to tell her exactly what I think of these “friends” and what nasty mean girls they are, resisting the urge to grab that handheld reality show and go all Mama Bear with text replies of my own…but I don’t, because I’m the adult and I know what will follow will not help anything. I know because I lived through those kinds of friendships myself in my youth. I’m an adult who has life experience. an adult that knows how to pick my battles, who knows that her circle of friends/school is not the whole world. I know that not “everyone” is against me, that not “everyone” will believe the petty lies that might get told about me in revenge, that not “everyone” is making fun of me or whispering about me behind my back. she’s not an adult, she’s 10 years old.
but when her Mom tells her that “the guy who plays Thorin” is addressing these very issues, she stops to listen. we talk about all of the things we’ve talked about many times before but if “that guy whose picture is on Mom’s keychain” is saying the same things, maybe those things will work. if it’s important to someone like him, a movie star who wears suits to walk down colored carpets and takes selfies in mirrored sunglasses, then maybe it’s happening in other places, to other kids, in other countries. just thinking about that may take away some of the weight she’s been giving it.
If Richard waited until he knew all the ins and outs of social media himself before he spoke out about these issues, waited until he had answers to all the opposition, it would never get done. and my daughter may not have had the courage to stop engaging in one of those detrimental text conversations yesterday. she may not have realized that she has a choice, that the power rests with her. she may have done those things next week or next month because I would have kept talking with her about these things (and I’ll still need to, because learned behaviors don’t change overnight) but she would not have told me just this morning how much lighter she feels. she would not have ignored that particular friend’s nonsense and thus be looking forward to a stress-free (her words) weekend.
Richard gave my daughter that just by attaching his name to something like this, just by giving one small interview and taking the time to write a blog post. other children, teens, young adults can benefit from these things he’s said as well and I sincerely hope they do.
Two years. I’ve been blogging about Richard Armitage for two years on this blog. laughing and celebrating, discovering and contemplating. looking at pretty pictures, enjoying amusing gifs, appreciating fanvids, perusing interviews, and talking with all of you.
i.e. embarrassing Richard
When I started out, fresh and fluffy tailed that first year, my plan was to share my journey through the Richard Armitage fandom thus far: how I went about finding information about Richard, what I thought of his various projects
how the order in which I saw them influenced my opinions, and just generally getting to know my way around. The second year I focused more on celebrating what I liked: highlighting favorite interviews, featuring favorite fanvids and sharing what impressed me about them, touching upon current happenings in Richard’s career and the fandom itself, etc.
cuffed jeans? no, sweetie, just..no.
This past winter things became jumbled together for me though, I didn’t like how I was reacting to certain things or how I was letting things influence my every day life.
opposing opinions, they burn!
I needed to pull back, slowly at first and then much more thoroughly. the discovering and “researching” phase was over and the celebrating stage had dwindled…what am I supposed to do now?
I know myself well enough to realize that each of those experiences came about because of a certain void in my life that needed filling. sometimes things ran their course and I moved on to something/someone new
the void had been filled or worked through and a new one needed addressed. other times my admiration for a particular actor just evolved and my approach changed– I’m currently at that stage with Richard.
I still love you. I still need you.
So while I try to figure out in what ways my fangirling will evolve, I think it would be helpful to take a look back at everything. revisit my impressions of the characters and how they speak to me to see how(if) that’s changed.
Porter’s jeans still speak to me. loudly.
to look back at my first impressions of Richard himself and try to better understand what it is about him that fascinates me
the laugh will always fascinate me
and whether I might rediscover some things along the way, or possibly discover something new.
I’m still holding out for cynicism
I think it will be interesting and I hope it will be fun. at any rate, at least it will get me talking again. I’ve been way too quiet as of late! On to year three…