A Different Kind of Rippling — RA on Politics Part IV

It’s hard to talk about politics and always has been. “Don’t talk publicly about politics, religion, sex or money.” I do not know how many times I have heard this saying or some variation of it. However you or I take that phrase, it is hard for many to talk about these subjects because we all have an emotional connection to them. But politics is the most difficult to discuss. With religion, sex or money someone can always preface her remarks as only pertaining to herself, but politics by its nature is about us collectively. This makes it impossible to limit any comments we make about it, so when we do speak of it, we’re destined to traverse a gooey mass of opinions.

As for myself, I have never had an issue speaking of religion, sex or money. I was brought up with very few boundaries in regard to discussing those subjects or almost any other subject, gooey mass of opinions or no. If anything, I had to learn some decorum. Politics was another matter. I was hesitant and still am, I can’t get around the fact that anytime politics is brought up, someone is going to be pissed off. Thankfully, I learned this early because I grew up observing a political operative, a master of maneuvers, if you will, who understood people and politics to a degree that still astounds me and others who knew him. I look back now and shake my head and chuckle at some of the things I observed my father doing and how he could get people to do things and in particular give time and money to causes. When it came to speaking politically, he was very circumspect and never lost his cool. I wish I could say the same, but I can’t. He saw politics or any communications about it as a minefield instead of a boggy mess, but he loved a challenge, so he thrived on navigating the potential bombs.

But most of us don’t thrive on the thrill of beating the explosions. We just want to say something and sometimes passionately and hope it will have a good effect, or maybe we’re ranting and not paying attention to how others may be receiving it. We’re just that damn mad. Unfortunately, you can’t throw a rock in a pond and expect no ripples (see how I scaled back that metaphor to something less militaristic? :D). No, seriously, when we speak and especially if we speak passionately, we are going to get a reaction, and if we don’t, I think most of us would be depressed at the thought no one is listening.

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Richard Armitage, who recently started making passionate political posts on Twitter, has been speaking to be heard. There is nothing wrong with his doing this. He should be able to do it if he has one million followers or two. But I don’t think he counted on how the blow ups from his tweets would affect him. He certainly expected his remarks to have fallout. He’s not a fool. This is not the first time he’s spoken politically and others had something negative to say about it, so he knew some people wouldn’t like it. But his reaction to the negative response is what I’m referencing. His passion got away from him and he made a crack of a come back, which the kinder, gentler Richard more than likely knew as soon as he’d done it (or very near) that it would rain down holy hell on the fan who had spoken. I believe for that reason he removed his tweet. He thought better of it and didn’t want to create trouble for the person. Yes, I want to believe Richard is this nice. Sue me.

As well, he probably didn’t want to give a platform to the person. But unfortunately, he can’t put a foot an inch in any direction publicly that the fans are not on it. I mean, man, are they on it. LOL!

So Richard, you can’t tweet and take it back. Dude, haven’t you learned by now that the minute (probably the second actually) you say something on Twitter…Wait a minute. Wait. Wait. Wait. a minute. Oh man, I just realized this tweeting and taking it back quickly was not a mistake. Well, a good chance that it wasn’t. Wait, was this planned? If not, then you stepped into something brilliant.

But I’ve got to recap to make this plain (for myself if no one else :D).

You were passionate about your beliefs, and in the heat of passion about them, you spoke very candidly and pointedly to someone who thought you had an unfair advantage in swaying others when you speak (and she is pretty much right about that, but hey, that should not stop you or anyone from speaking), and now you have lots of fans defending you as if you’re helpless. And I did it too! Oh damn. I did it too! APM made a stealth attack on me! LOL!

The APM aside, I understand, the fans are loving your tweets because of how real they are. No spin. Merely you being a person. a real person, being so passionate and getting all hot and bothered and then pissed off at something someone said to you. And it makes it even better in their minds that you were justified. You exhibiting righteous indignation — the real thing and not for some role?! I suspect this was a massive turn on for some who witnessed it. :D o_O

For those who didn’t like it, well, they’re talking about you too!

And there are a lot of others keeping mum, but they’re reading about this. Oh yeah, they’re reading about it!

A seemingly superb turn of events with respect to PR. *high five*

Signed,
A crazy, formerly APM infected fan who’s over it now – at least for this round, but a fan who still loves you. Yep, a fan who is always going to have a soft spot in her heart for you, Richard no matter if you talk about politics and create a brouhaha or not. Of course if you become a serial killer or worse, I will have to re-evaluate.

Okay, back to sanity. Some of you have asked for my take, and in fact, it was those messages to me privately that put this whole thing on my radar. Well, here’s my take. Richard Armitage has the right to speak his mind about politics. I have never thought differently. But I’m ashamed I became part of the clamoring masses trying to defend Richard Armitage’s right to speak. He has more of a voice than most of us, so this idea he can’t speak is laughable. But I do want to make it clear that I understand he is passionate about what is happening in his country and completely understand his compulsion to speak about it. I understand that all too well as I feel the same about what is happening in my country. We have some very serious issues going on in the U.S., and the frustration at the corruption that is happening is overwhelming. Our leaders and our institutions are failing us, but I don’t think that any of you want to hear me talk about all of that on this blog. And you need to ask yourself why you don’t want to hear it? I think most of it is because you come here to either be entertained or talk about entertainment and not to hear me wax on about my political views.

And now to discuss the fan and her response which set off the reaction. She absolutely has the right to have an expectation (of anyone) and to give a response when someone speaks in a public area. We all have that right. And our expectations do not have to be realistic. The only real boundary to expectations is when they translate into harm or illegal activity. Last time I checked, criticism is not illegal. As to the comment, I’ve thought about it quite a bit. Not because it’s important in the grand scheme of things, but because of my initial reaction, and what that says about me. I initially saw the remark as an insult and unfair, and it was because I like Richard Armitage. That simple. But I looked at it again some hours later, and it is not necessarily an insult and it’s definitely not an unfair conclusion.

I do wish actors would stay out of politics. They have an unfair advantage of swaying opinions due to fandom. Sad.

Of course it depends on how you read this whether it’s an insult or not. I think many of us took Richard’s cue that it was. As to the conclusion this person made, it’s generally true that (well known) actors do have more of a voice on an array of subjects including politics when they may be no more informed than any of the rest of us.

Things I Sometimes Wonder About — still

Sometimes when life smiles at me or gives me a slap, I’m occasionally curious what Richard Armitage has experienced. There’s no question he’s had his share of ups and downs. We all do, but what were they for him and how did he deal with them?

I don’t wonder about these things as often as I did when I was in the euphoric state of my fan odyssey, but I still wonder about how he’s navigated the sometimes treacherous waters of the entertainment business. Have some others given him a break out of the kindness of their hearts even though he doesn’t fit into the usual frame Hollywood thrusts on us? Does kindness even exist in the entertainment culture? Yes, it’s an old question but still largely unanswered, or maybe that’s just me because I don’t read Hollywood exposes. Let me rephrase the question. Does kindness exist significantly enough to be on the radar of those in that business? My gut says if it does, it’s a blip, but I could be wrong. And not to beat a dead horse, but I really did like Todd Garner. Whether you think his movies are any good, I believe he’s a nice guy. Sure he’s part salesman. That’s how money is provided to make movies. Gotta have the salesman, or nothing will get done. I found out in the course of dealing with him and not too long afterward, that he has had the same core group working for him for quite some time. Doesn’t that say something about him? I know it does when others have long term employees or associates. It usually means someone’s a good guy.

But back to Richard Armitage. Have some in the business just fallen all over themselves at his talents? (yeah, I’m still trying to rationalize this addiction.) Or are they just preening for the camera because baby, it’s all about selling the dream. :D

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Actually, I tend to believe Michelle Forbes. Probably because she seems to be pretty blunt, and she’s 50 something, and could well think, “What the hell! I’m gonna tell it like it is, and dammit, I like Richard Armitage.” Yeah, that’s what I infer from her, ’cause baby, that’s what I want to infer. I’m 50 something too, so yeah, that’s how I see it.

But back to Richard. What is in that head? After all these years of being a fan and hating the word fan and generally being at odds with the whole fan thang, I still wonder what is in that head! Oh, I’ve speculated about what’s in there — much more than I’ve written on this blog (yeah, can you believe that) — and on many occasions thought I knew. Sometimes I still think I know. I’m arrogant that way. :D But if I’m being honest, I don’t have much more than a clue, because niggling at the back of my mind is always the thought, “How good an actor is he really? Is he so good that he’s got me completely buffaloed about what kind of person he really is? Then I second guess myself and think, “Nah, he’s a great guy.” And that my friends, is almost always where I land in my thinking. He’s a great guy. A human being who can get upset like the rest of us, but a great guy in the sense that he is kind and polite and still doesn’t have the demeanor of someone who deserves adulation.

I have more things I wonder, but I make no promises on when I’ll type them out. It seems every time I try to make a commitment to communicate here, something happens, and it’s usually major. I won’t bore you with the details, but trust me, it’s usually YUGE. :D So glad I can grin at the trauma. I guess I can because life is crazy, but somehow, somehow, it turns out. Yeah, I know why, but I’m not going to preach on this blog.

Thanks for letting me snaffle your photo, Ms. Forbes. :D

Trying to Keep Up

I haven’t lost complete track of Richard Armitage but darn near. As some of you know, I started a business, and it’s taken almost everything out of me. It is working, but it’s like being pregnant, giving birth and then dealing with an infant. All things that take the stuffing out of someone in her childbearing years let alone someone like me who is long past that. Yep, that’s my concession that I’m not a spring chick.

The rest of my story is that I have one child I’m still homeschooling, take care of two houses (one’s mine, the other one’s a church house), and I got something dropped in my lap a few months ago which has me driving 1,500 miles a month. Unreal. I don’t even know how I’m doing all of this, but the good news is that it’s paying all of those horrendous medical bills. I do not want to go into my old age owing six figures, and thankfully, I won’t!

And thank God! my youngest child, who is in high school, is independent or there would be real trouble. She directs her days more or less. I oversee the subject matter she studies and do lecture on some subjects, but other than that, the child tells me what’s happening. Most of that is her reading constantly — about four books a week and titles such as To Kill a Mockingbird or Ethan Frome or A Member of the Wedding, and some popular fiction thrown in like Looking for Alaska, which she hated. She said, “I don’t get why everyone [read that as her peers] thinks John Green’s writing is so great. This is my third book by him, and the first two I kept thinking that maybe the next book would wow me. That hasn’t happened. Honestly, Mom, To Kill a Mockingbird is soooooo much better than anything John Green has written it’s not funny.” I replied, “You know what’s happened don’t you?” She looked at me, and I continued, “You’ve been spoiled by good writing.” From there we went onto a very productive discussion of what we both like to see in writing.

So where am I going with this? Lately, discussing writing has stirred up such a longing to write again. Not that the desire ever went away, but it’s more intense these days because time’s winged chariot is kicking my ass, and I want to say something before I’m completely crushed. When I feel this way, I become wistful about this place, because writing this blog freed me up to write other things which I needed to get out or self combust. And I still have so much I want to say. Not sure how I’m going to pull it off, but I need to finish something here.

Other than that, picture me something like this (below) as I go about my day. I’m almost constantly with people. I love people, think they’re fascinating, and I never want to be completely cut off from them. Yeah, you can feel that “but” coming. I’ve got to get in a dark room and coalesce my thoughts instead of forever reacting to others — or feeling like I am.

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Candid photo snagged from RichardArmitageNet.com

Am I Going to Skip Over Francis?

Yep, for now that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I did watch the first episode, but man, it was tough to get through it, and I have never thought of myself as having a weak stomach. Let’s just say that episode brought out the wimp in me. After that, I lost the thread of the character, and when I tried to pick it up the other day, I got advice like this below. LOL!

There is an episode in particular that you will want to avoid. A scene that you cannot “unsee.” Wish I had not watched it.

You want to avoid 23 minutes in … up to 30 minutes in — specifically minute #27. Really. DO NOT WATCH IT. You can’t “unsee” it.

I’m not kidding when I say that night, after I saw that, I had nightmares. I don’t ever want to have nightmares about RCA again.

Don’t watch that scene unless you want to hear Richard Armitage in your dreams saying, “Look back at me so I can bite your face.”

maybe you can read the book first cause it’s all there. Tho it shocked me all the same.

while I was reading the book I was definitely more aware of my surroundings bc Francis watches the families he kills

For Ep. 3.12, here is where you can stop – after “make you understand”, then furniture crawl, then turn it off.

Furniture crawl is very CATS. You really don’t want to miss. Turn off sound before to be sure. Horror w/ capital H.

End of Ep. 3.12 is a must before 3.13. But then…there is another…well it’s a bit of a horror minefield, I’m afraid. Sorry. :(

and also this:

You might fear D a lot more if he hides in your back garden… Hope you survive to the end! :)
creepy Francis Dolarhyde

I also had some encouragement, but I need to ponder that for awhile.

Thanks to all of you who tried to word me up on this. I may still watch it. Just not up for it at the moment.

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.

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Photo by Robert Ascroft

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.

What, Which, Why, and How Long?

blog-intro-challenge

I’ve been debating with myself about doing this challenge. The only thing keeping me from it is wondering if I can say anything fresh. I don’t think I’ve said anything fresh on this blog for probably two years, so it’s hard to think I’ll do it now. But maybe I’ll talk myself into taking a crack at it. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to reading others’ thoughts about it. And thank you Guylty for something to ponder.

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