Wow, Richard

Dear Richard,

Your recent comments on the Cybersmile site are some of the most revealing, maybe the most revealing remarks you have ever shared with the public. I’m not entirely sure of that, but it seems that way to someone who has spent a scary amount of time reading what you have to say. Yes, I’m admitting that this fan odyssey is weird. I’ve long thought that and have used humor to laugh about it — at myself mostly, and started off with a diary to explore how very weird I thought it was and what drove me to it.

I haven’t finished those thoughts because along the way, I had life come up and trample me with some harsh realities — witnessing terrific suffering, repeated deaths, and misery in others that just didn’t seem to end. So then this place became comic relief for me. But I hope nothing I’ve ever said was offensive. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

But as to your revelations about yourself, it is humbling to receive sharing like that. I do not take that lightly. I have never taken it lightly when someone has shared their hearts — whether they were famous or not. I consider it something to be treated as precious, because people and the essence of who they are is precious.

And I will seriously ponder the idea of using my own picture and my own name. I’m still on the fence about that, and mostly because I don’t believe I’ve used anonymity to be hurtful. May I never do that! Anyway, I’ll think about it.

Just want you to know I respect you for what you are doing, and I adore your honesty. Always have.

Take care,
A fan

P.S. You are never going to win with some people. I realize you know that, but I still wanted to say I realize it too.

I May Regret This Later

[note: I’ve updated this post to hopefully make it more clear.]

Quite a few of you have been asking me to weigh in on Richard Armitage’s interview about cyberbullying and about my take on bullying in the fandom. I’ll give my take on the latter first.

I’ve been asked to give serious input on bullying in the fandom on many occasions, but I’ve pretty much refrained. There was one occasion when I felt compelled to make a serious post about someone being victimized. But why have I mostly refrained? Because the subject is a quagmire. And why is it a quagmire? Because one person’s bully is another person’s hero. So it’s all in someone’s perspective. And I’m no different in seeing things one way whereas someone else sees them another, and to be utterly candid, the issue of bullying in the fandom has usually not been important enough for me to wade into the quagmire. And really it’s not that important now, but I guess enough of you asked that I wanted to answer you.

Bullying in general is not something I take lightly, but in the fandom and strictly from my perspective, I don’t see it as a huge thing. Yes, I really said that, and I say it because in the fandom we’re not talking about people who are mandatory for anyone to interact with, to be continually, unwillingly subjected to. Additionally, the fandom is nebulous enough to afford us freedom of movement. It has no distinct identity. It is diverse enough for us to enjoy parts of it while staying away from parts where people are rude.

If it’s helpful to know, my policy is to observe someone for a long time after I’ve encountered poor behavior from them personally. I do this because I’m hoping they pull it around to something better. After a great period of time has passed, if the person is still unreasonable and it doesn’t appear they will change, I will usually move away from the person(s). If someone does eventually pull it around, I have no problem interacting with them again. I’m not a grudge holder. Never have been. I have plenty of flaws, but holding grudges isn’t one of them. I also don’t write people off even if I’ve been tempted at times. It’s my firm belief we all make mistakes and can come back from them. Might be a more difficult task for some than for others, but it is possible. In the meantime, I don’t have to be up close and personal with the person.

And now for my thoughts on Richard Armitage. Richard is in a different situation from the fans. He is a public figure who is expected and somewhat obligated to interact with the public as part of the living he makes. As a result, he witnesses a lot more poor behavior than most of us do. Plus, we are the armchair critics who as fans can say what we want without impunity. If he criticizes, he runs the risk of catching hell from those who disagree with him, and this disagreement possibly hurting his living.

How do I know that about his public life? I can relate to his dealing with public life in a small way because of the public life I lead outside this blog. It’s an interesting dynamic to be in the public eye where many around you have an opinion about what you’ve done, what you’re doing and what you may do in future, and sometimes you get death threats or other threats of bodily injury or at the least unsigned letters of criticism. And it’s not uncommon to be privy to others being threatened. Don’t freak out. It goes with the territory. Then add in the fact that an income may be dependent on what the public or part of it thinks of you. When I think of all of this, I cannot even process the expectations and scrutiny Richard Armitage puts up with as he goes about his business.

Nevertheless, he was plainspoken in his interview about what he deems good and bad behavior, and he brooked no nonsense about what he will accept in his interactions on social media. He was setting an example for others, and his words had a sanity and a sense to them that I seldom see or hear and was glad to witness. I’ve always loved it when a man has good principles and a backbone to go with them. It’s a turn on. Especially when the principles are girded in the Golden Rule and therefore entirely reasonable expectations. And nothing about that stance is a threat to my identity as a person or as a woman. It’s welcomed and respected. Plus, you can seldom go wrong with the Golden Rule. Oh surely there will be those who treat you the way they want to be treated, and you won’t like it. Let them know how you feel if it’s that much of an issue, and if they don’t agree, you can go your separate ways. Richard is a man who appears to know exactly who he is, what he expects, and is making it clear that whomever doesn’t like his principles can part company with him.

Richard-Armitage-cyberbullying

Dear Richard,

Thanks for being willing to slog through the quagmire. I’m sure there are those who will not appreciate it, and it may indeed cost you something beyond goodwill. But you didn’t let that stop you, and I’m saying now and as loudly as possible that I respect you for it.

Signed,
Someone glad to be your fan

I’ve got to come up with another name for these letters. There was nothing fake about what I’ve said. I suppose they are still fake though since I am never going to send them via conventional means.

edit:

I have not been as attentive to this post and its comments as I would like, but it’s because I’m working and truly have not had time. For most things here, time is not an issue because most things here don’t require much thought or wordsmithing in order to communicate effectively or to keep from offending. That’s not the case with this topic, so I’ve been hesitant to say anything further until I could take my time to craft a comment.

Having said that, I’ve got some time to post further thoughts on the issue of bullying in the fandom. My further thoughts are a response to comments, private messages and email I’ve received since posting this piece. Also please note my further remarks are not so much on bullying in general but specifically about my experiences while participating with the Richard Armitage fans.

I’ve generally had a good experience and tend to think I haven’t been much on the receiving end of cyberbullying in the fandom because generally I stay away from places where I have seen it occurring, Pretty simple for me. Again, this is my experience. I am not speaking to anyone else’s.

Despite my staying away from places that are prone to problems, I have gotten some nasty private messages on some of the platforms where I have accounts although 98-99% of the messages I’ve received are very positive. Lately the nasty messages have been taking me to task about the Lee Pace thing. These messages have a badgering tone and sound like a child pitching a fit. My response is usually to hit the delete key. Sometimes I’ve chuckled at some of them. Maybe that’s not a good response. I honestly don’t know. Maybe I should be more offended, but it takes quite a bit to offend me. Plus, I have no dog in the RA/LP fight. Let me be plain about my feelings on that subject: I don’t care about it. Richard Armitage’s personal life is not why I’m here and never has been. Enough about that. LOL!

I have also received some nasty emails over the years of running this blog. Again, probably 99% of the emails I get are positive. For the ones that are nasty, I mostly dismiss them. On a couple of occasions, something in them stung, but for the most part, they’re from people I don’t know and therefore they have no power with me. I look at them as part of blogging, part of engaging in public discourse. Not that these subjects in fandom are usually heady, but they are still part of some public dialogue and as such are going to draw criticism in some ways. So yeah, some negative is to be expected.

I want to make it clear that if someone sends me an email objecting to something I’ve said, I don’t necessarily consider that a nasty email. What I consider nasty is when it’s obvious the sender has no desire to have a dialogue about their objection to something I’ve said or done but rather wants to tear me down or anyone who holds a similar view to mine.

When I’m on platforms other than my own, I have a tendency to ignore people who are obviously just wanting to start a fight whether in private messages or publicly. I felt silly typing that just now. A “fight” on social media among grown people (at least that we know of) and over an actor? Damn I sound condescending. But I do feel it’s beneath me to “fight” with one or more people over something that would never be a hill I want to die on — over the acting profession and/or an actor’s personal life. It’s absolutely absurd to me, and if I were to ever engage in it, would probably feel I was losing some brain cells. And I don’t need to give up any brain cells. LOL!

For preventing or curtailing bullying in fandom, it helps for site owners to make it known bullying will not be tolerated. I have made it plain that I will not tolerate it on this site. Have people skated up to the line at times? Yes. I believe that’s going to happen on occasion when there is discussion going on that has a potentially inflammatory nature. Goes with the territory. But I’m happy to report I have never had to close down a discussion by closing comments or blocking someone from commenting, and I hope I never have to do either.

Despite my generally good experience in fandom, there are some things I’ve seen that compelled me to do something. I’ve seen bullies threaten someone’s personal life. On the two occasions I’ve seen that done to someone I know, I did not sit by and watch it. I didn’t necessarily broadcast what I was doing to help, but I was not sitting around merely watching someone be threatened in a way that could have great negative impact on their life.

To reiterate, I’m sharing my thoughts about bullying strictly within the bounds of this fandom and as I’ve experienced it. This is not how I feel about bullying in general and what I know has happened in social media where people’s identities are usually much more accessible, therefore more vulnerable, and where children are involved. That is an entirely different discussion in my opinion, and cyberbullying there is much more of a concern and potential danger. I say that as a parent of a 15 year old girl who likes to get on Facebook and interact with her friends. I say that as a parent who had other teens in the house at one time and they also liked to get on Facebook and the web in general. Believe me this idea of them being harassed or threatened has been a very real concern of mine for a long time and one that I take very, very seriously, but I do believe the tenor of harassment in fandom (as I’ve seen it) is different, and that’s why I segregated my remarks about it from the general issue of bullying.

Hopefully none of this I’ve said will take away from others’ experiences or be taken as a judgment on someone else’s experiences. I’m telling you what’s happened to me, how I feel about it, how I’ve reacted, and how it’s worked for me. What others do is entirely up to them, and certainly, others may have ways of coping that are different from mine and also work. Short of breaking the law, I say do what works for you to end the bullying.

I’m So Behind on My RA Watching!

There are so many things I haven’t seen or heard yet. I really have been too busy to watch anything. I barely even listen to music these days except something classical while I’m working, which is most of the time.

This weekend I’m making myself take a break. I’m about to have 2-1/2 weeks of company. It will be enjoyable to visit with family and friends, but if I don’t rest up beforehand, I’ll be whipped when they leave. How’s that for a fangirl justification? Pretty lame I know, but I don’t care. Doing it anyway.

So here’s something that Armitage Besotted sent me:

link

And this is my favorite screencap:

urbantrailer1
(click to enlarge)

It’s amazing to me how Richard Armitage can use his mouth to such effect. I am not being provocative. I mean it seriously. He can say volumes just by how he holds his mouth.

A few others:

urbantrailer2

This has been said ad nauseum, but it struck me again while watching — he can say things with a slight movement.

urbantrailer3

urbantrailer4

urbantrailer5

And then there’s the hair and stubble. I know it’s not always his hair, but whatever the case, he wears it well. Is there a hairstyle he can’t pull off? Shaved head? I would still love to see that, and I promise it won’t drive me to drink. Probably look sexy as hell like the rest of his looks.

That was fun. It’s been a while since I had a fangirling bout. Picture me now as the proverbial drunk with a tongue hanging out. Much better than liquor.

Thank you, AB. If it weren’t for you, I would be seeking treatment from this affliction. :D

Richard, I Got It Wrong

Richard,

My humble apologies on misunderstanding your “stress.” I know now that you were just being your kind self. I was in a hurry and not paying attention as I should have been. But I do hope the squabbling that goes on does not distress you too much ’cause man, it’s just a drain. That’s why I stay away from it.

I also want to share a quick personal story. My SO is a vicar, and he’s a great guy too. It’s sad I have to qualify that, but I feel that I do. He is a gentleman, very sincere and kind. But it’s funny that when he gets up on a Sunday morning and says something to encourage others to be hopeful and kind even in the face of adversity, that by no later than Wednesday, he is being tested on what he said. Never fails.

I find it interesting that you said your piece yesterday about bullying and a day later you may have to deal with bullying in a way you may have never imagined. The only other thing I will say about that is I do pray for you at times. Cheesy as that sounds, I do. And I pray for wisdom for you as you possibly will deal with bullies of another sort than most of this fandom are privy to on a regular basis.

Thanks for all you do and hang in there.

Signed,
A Very Sincere Fan

P.S. I enjoyed the interview on Cybersmile, but I hope you know I’m not one of those who has a pseudonym so I can say nasty things. I just didn’t want to answer questions from family and friends as I went along. Anyway, nastiness has never been my intent. And hopefully I have never done anything but encourage. That’s ultimately my aim — especially with my diary which has a great ending.

I’ve always loved this picture:

ra17

Richard, You Can Win This Way

Richard,

I really do think you are nice and hope you keep being your sweet self. I don’t say that because you happen to have beautiful blue eyes. I say that because I’ve observed your public demeanor for over eight years, and you are always a gentleman, a gentle man. That is a great part of your appeal, but it’s got to be hell for you on social media.

Frankly, you must have the gift of mercy which makes you so sensitive to people being at odds with each other. I’ll bet you despise confrontation but have had to learn to deal in it considering the business you’re in. And all of that is exacerbated on social media. Phew.

And then there’s Twitter. It’s a rough and tumble place, but if I’m being candid, and hell man, I’m nothing if not candid on this blog, I think it’s a great place — profane and absurd people and all. That’s just part and parcel of free speech. But I don’t envy you. You’re more of a target than most, but I do believe there’s a way to weather it, and it’s not by being frustrated at being miunderstood. You cannot win trying to appease everyone’s perception. I believe if you will not take all of us so seriously, you will enjoy it more. That’s a definite win. Will you get some heat for being less prone to react to the crap that goes on in cyber world? Oh hell yes you will get some heat. And that’s the point of this “letter.” You’re going to get heat no matter what you do (surely you know that by now), so be yourself, be the sweet man you are and let all the rest fall where it may. Definite win. (Don’t you love it when a fan gives you advice. :D)

I said I wasn’t going to give you advice, but I’ve been doing it for five years and can’t seem to stop. Plus, I’m a little bit infected with Armitage Protection Mode today ’cause I hate to see you stressing, or your version of stressing. None of this is to say that I think you shouldn’t have spoken about cyber bullying. It should be spoken about by many. And I hope someone scolds me if I ever do a cyber tackle on someone who says something mean about you. On second thought, I don’t think that’s going to happen. My general stance on people who are mean is either ignore them or tease the hell out of them. Depends on my mood.

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 12.26.41 AM

Here’s hoping you’re having a wonderful day and not thinking so much about who is offended or who may offend.

Signed,
Big Sister A Crazy Fan

P.S. Whatever you do, do not join tumblr. Repeat, do not join tumblr!

P.P.S. It won’t surprsie me if discussion pops up about the trope of your being a sweet, gentle man and how many of us may be deceived ’cause you’re such a good actor. But please keep on deceiving us with that consistently good behavior, if in fact that’s what you’re doing. :D

Obviously my two cents. Take it or leave it. Wait. I’ve got one more thing to say. When I think of fandom, it’s my dearest hope that some of you can just enjoy the experience and not let others ruin it for you. That would be a shame since so many of you are a pleasure.

Graphic courtesy of Armitage Besotted

And the Doodle Goes to Kellie, the KleverNut

I thought this drawing was going to France? Okay, maybe it did go to France, but I’m also laughing my ass off that this was bought by someone from Texas. That’s about right. In Texas they tend to do things big. Make of that what you will. ;-)

Yes, I’m a Texan although I haven’t lived there in almost 20 years. Once a Texan, always a Texan — even when someone isn’t born there, like Lee Pace who was born in Oklahoma. The dude’s a Texan even if he did go to Julliard. In fact, I know quite a few Texans who have gone to Julliard and Harvard and Yale and Princeton and I could go on, but there’s no need. I think it’s obvious that I have an affinity for Texans. More on this later. Yes, I can’t help talking about it.

(I’ve often wondered how many of you are from Texas — whether you still live there or not.)

Thanks, Kellie, it was money well spent for a lot of reasons not the least of which is that NF is a heinous disease.

*wonder if Kellie knows Lee; maybe not since it’s a big state. ;-) *

Thanks for the heads up, Perry. :)

Did I Say I Didn’t Like Tattoos?

Someone slap me ’cause I may actually be softening with respect to this art form:

RichardArmitage Tattoo

What did I say about the sexy back? Yep, I have never seen anyone who could make their backs look this good — tattoos or no.

Other than that, I would recognize that head, neck and ears anywhere.

I cannot believe I’ve said all of this.

Wishing I were still somewhat anonymous. Oy.

And how do you spell tattoo? tatoo? I’m honestly confused, and can you blame me after looking at this image? Oh, you’re not reading this; you’re still looking at the damn picture.

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