Being Richard

June 3, 2010

My friend Servetus recently made a post that is of such interest to me. I’m anxious to hear the rest of her thoughts on the subject of identity and how it’s derived by us or others who observe us. And yes, I’ll revisit Diderot. Actually, I should probably just consult SO, since that’s his bailiwick — having majored in philosophy and psychology and being a writer. Yes, someone actually majors in that stuff and isn’t a basket case and goes onto make a decent living. Usually doing other things. LOL!

But back to Servetus’ subject. Really, aren’t we all fascinated with this subject of identity? Whether we step outside of it to try to examine it objectively, we’re all caught up in identity. One thing that drives RA’s fans, in my not so humble opinion, is how his various performances either confirm who we are, challenge us to become someone else or pique us to investigate all these other identities he’s created in order to understand something about people. It was never more apparent than in this need of his most ardent fans to find more meaning in John Porter than him being an action hero, and RA understood this too.

Ultimately, all of this leads us to wonder about the person playing all of these identities. Or maybe not. Maybe Servetus and I and a handful of others are the only ones who come to that conclusion. The rest of you are just along for RA’s performances, and then you go on about your business. Pardon me while I snort in doubt over that. LOL! You’re reading my blog aren’t you. ;-)

If these points are sounding like the reaction you have to books, well, there’s a little insight into one of the secrets of RA’s attraction. More on that in a later post. And if I’m not entirely clear, trust me, I’ll be happy to elaborate in another post.

I feel the urge to share what I’m listening to: Voodoo by Spice Girls. And my mood: flippant of course.

Maybe actors discuss this issue a lot. I’m no expert on actors or the acting profession, so I don’t know. I would love to know if they do. Identities seem to be their currency. It would seem if they are intelligent at all they would come to this subject often. I know on this piddly blog I sometimes wonder how some of my statements make you think about yourself.

Phew, after all of that, I need a picture.

Screencap courtesy of Arianne on LJ.


Oh, and any examination of Richard personally is not about his girlfriend. Now that I have this blog, I see how many searches are done on that. Actually, I put that as a tag in a post just to see what would happen. Oh my goodness.

note: if you’re looking for an interview with Richard Armitage when he was still working on Spooks and shooting Robin Hood Series 3, go here.


  1. To factor in the possible (but *unknown*) motivations of a speaker and to factor in one’s personal/cultural interpretation of a statement is one thing, to put one’s personal interpretation OVER the intent of the speaker, to make one personal viewpoint the primary factor in interpreting something someone else says, is something else entirely.

    I mean, what would be your reaction if, when you said to a friend, ‘I like (insert whatever your favorite food is here)” and they replied, “No you don’t. You like (whatever their favorite food is).”?

    I’m afraid I find severtus’ posts to be impressive constructed intellectual wankery in order to provide her a lovely ostruficating excuse to “reinterpret” whatever Richard Armitage says to suit her. That is where this all came from: When I challenged her about something she claimed Armitage meant (“Richard Armitage wants to do stage work because he wants to do more classical roles.”) , when he had made several statements to the opposite effect (“Yes! A comedy! I’ve been “sour faced”/serious too long”). When I pointed out (in perhaps not the kindest way, which I apologized for) the irrationality of her approach in dismissing his statements made specifically about doing stage work, she did not respond right away but instead cooked up this.

    That is the end result of this elaborate discourse: Richard Armitage is just performing (ie. lying) to us all and so severtus is free to say he means anything she wants him to.

    But you know, I’m an evil person and must be blocked form her blog for pointing things like this out.

  2. In a way, you’ve kind of made Servetus’ point. Your read on Richard Armitage is different from hers and mine is probably different from someone else, and none of us are going to agree on everything. I think Richard Armitage would love that we’re picking all this apart. As long as we don’t stand in his front yard to do it and don’t try to drive him nuts about his love life, and certainly, I don’t think Servetus has said he’s a phony, which is how I think you read her comments.

    But I have one request for you, and I ask it sincerely. Can you lighten up, Francis, and let’s just have a good time? LOL! That’s why I’m here, and all of us really. You can rest easy that no one is going to hang Richard Armitage out to dry on this blog or Servetus or many others. Are you kidding me? We love this guy! :D

    edited for clarity

  3. I am taking this too seriously, it is true. But I have real problem with intellectual dishonesty. It gets under my skin and really bothers me.

    My “read” on Richard Armitage is based on what he says in his interviews and what others who have worked with him have said about him. I am comfortable with not knowing everything about him and do not feel the need to fill in the gaps by dismissing his statements by saying he is being disingenuous in making them and therefore I am free to project my own personal issues onto him. (I do project some personal things onto the fictional characters he has portrayed in my short stories, but not onto the real person of Richard Armitage because I understand the difference.) I trust him (silly me) and while I can see a reason for him to keep certain aspects of his life private, I don’t see a reason for him to lie to us outright. Hers is based on her personal issues and desires from him. That is how post structuralism works: The interpreter is the primary consideration in interpretation.

    He probably would be interested in the discussion in the abstract, but I don’t think anyone enjoys being told what they “really meant” by a complete stranger, especially when it is completely counter to the statements they have made. At best, that’s just obnoxious. At worst….

  4. Aaaigh. I don’t know why I am even reading that blog. I know it just irks me and I should just walk away. I have said I would a couple time, and I know I should to spend my energies more productively.

  5. What I find ironic about your statements is that Servetus is basically saying (or moving toward saying) that we can’ t really know someone like Richard Armitage who we have no real relationship with except for a few statements here and there. We only mainly know him through our own filters. Plus, he’s developing a public persona, which doesn’t mean he’s a phony or lying.

    Are you saying that you’re completely objective about his responses as himself? But stray into the subjective with his characters only? I’m not buying it. We all use filters to view things. We can’t help it. The trick is to determine how much.

    And how has Servetus interpreted his statements so they’re completely counter to what he’s said?

  6. There are plenty comedic classical roles, I feel – Shakespeare wrote a few for example!

  7. I already explained that in the post above:

    “When I challenged her about something she claimed Armitage meant (“Richard Armitage wants to do stage work because he wants to do more classical roles.”) , when he had made several statements to the opposite effect (“Yes! A comedy! I’ve been “sour faced”/serious too long”). When I pointed out (in perhaps not the kindest way, which I apologized for) the irrationality of her approach in dismissing his statements made specifically about doing stage work, she did not respond right away but instead cooked up this.”

    And who said anything about objectivity? As a matter of fact I distinctly DID say that “To factor in one’s personal/cultural interpretation of a statement is one thing…”

    When Richard Armitage says something like, ‘I’m a pacifist, but I enjoy shooing guns.” (which he has made that statement a couple times), my response is, “Congratulations. You’ve just had your first experience being American.” That was my cultural response (and joke) to that statement.

    What I am *not* doing is ignoring his “I’m a pacifist” statement to say, “Richard Armitage is a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment.” because I am a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment.

    I acknowledge my cultural response, but try to keep that separate from the plain text of his statement. What have I learned about him from this statement? He’s a pacifist who likes to shoot guns. Beyond that I have no informaiton to make further assumptions, so I don’t.

    When I am forced to make suppositions, for instance in a recent discussion with another fan they said, ‘”Well, maybe Richard Armitage just loves the attention he gets from his fans but he doesn’t want to seem egoistical about it…”

    My response was to first say, ‘I’m not going to speak for the man, but…” I then went on to point out some things that he had said and closed with “So I would surmise (surmise) that this is a person who tries very hard *not* to revel in his popularity and just gets on with his work. As he said in the recent Sunday Mirror interview, being a sex symbol is “something that exists outside of me”.

    Was my personal bias in there? Probably and that is why I make it very clear that I am NOT speaking from any sort of authority, but just making a guess based on the available evidence. What I am *not* doing is going on for pages and pages about how Armitage was putting on a performance, that he is not being himself in these interviews, ergo I am justified in reinterpreting his statement to mean, “Oh, yes. I am a sex God. I know.”

    I’m just saying I do not feel the need to dismiss what he says about himself (the person) as a “performance” in order to project my personal issues onto him.

    You brought up an excellent topic in the first half of your blog post about discussing how the different characters he plays affect us, how we interpret them and interact with them. That is a very legitimate topic for discussion because these are fictional characters. They were created for an audience to take in, project themselves on, and interact intellectually and emotionally with.

    But Armitage is a real person, his mother did not give birth to him for us, and as such that is not his purpose. He (and the writers) provide those characters for us, but he himself is a person with his own integrity and viability and HE is not something we should be projecting ourselves onto. It is the cult of celebrity that people typically do that now, but he has his own life and his own purpose and that is not it.

  8. @ Krepar, most certainly there are. “The Rover” is one of them, but the point of contention was that Sevretus was saying that Armitage wants to do “The Rover” because he wants to do another period drama like “North and South”. When I said, “Well, actually, he said he wanted to do “The Rover” because he wants to do a comedy”, she said she felt free to be Ricard Armitage’s “reinterpreter” and cited a quote he made in an general acting article that had nothing to do with his taking a part in the Rover, ignoring his statements specific to doing “the Rover”. She then created this massive ongoing essay…

  9. KiplingKat,

    I say this with the utmost care for you. Is this the hill you want to die on? Seriously? That you are going to pick up an offense on behalf of Richard Armitage and make this kind of fight over it? Let’s not go there. This is supposed be fun and interesting. If it’s not fun to you and it’s not interesting, then you do not have to participate. Not one person is making you do that, and it’s painful to witness your pain over this. Truly.

    Now if you want to disagree with Servetus’ points, that’s another matter. But your disagreement does not have to involve a scourging of her character, and no, she’s not scourging Richard Armitage’s character. On that you’re misreading greatly.

  10. Funny, I thought I was disagreeing with her points. I thought I was disagreeing with her entire argument. But yeah, that is about the position she took, “Stop attacking me!”, before she banned me from her blog.

    The fact is the internet (and if you want to imagine Gerard Butler yelling that, go ahead), and when you put an opinion out there, you are going to get people’s opinion back. Some of them will agree with you. Some of them will not agree with you. And some of them will *really* not agree with you. There an axiom about heat and kitchens that applies.

    But you are quite right in that this is not something I should be wasting my time on, though it was a nice diversion from writer’s block today. :D

  11. Disagreeing is not the problem. It’s the personal attacking of her character that is. You want to disagree, then that’s fine. But you’ve got to can the personal tone if you want to stick around, and it doesn’t matter how prevalent that demeanor is on the internet. It’s not appropriate here.

  12. Hrm, I read back through my posts here and see,”I do this…”, “I do not feel…”, “I am not..” I seem to be talking mostly about me.

    (While describing the conflict with Sevretus is rather simple terms. That is what happened.)

    Are you saying I should be nicer to me?


    Kip, I’m so sorry.

    *Sniff* You were so mean! I can’t believe you said that!

    I’ll never say it again, I promise. Now let’s get out of here.

    *sniffles a little more* Can we have ice cream?

    Coldstone triple berry. And Sherlock Holmes on DVD!”

    I love you Kip.

    I love you to baby.

  13. Interesting take.LOL!

  14. Did someone say ice cream???
    (I told you my mind has been distracted these days.)

  15. :D

  16. Strawberry for me please!

  17. Pistachio sounds good.

  18. Don´t always pick up the glove.
    Appropriate picture here.

  19. Thank you, Raf, for keeping a balanced (and good-humoured) view of RA fan blogs.

    We all have our personal reasons for blog commentary. And blogging. We all present differing “interpretations” , but the major impression of the RA fan blogs is that of an international COMMUNITY of (probably mostly ladies) of varying ages, diverse political relligious (or not) , diverse experiences and personal ethos’, who just LIKE and appreciate this particular actor, and who are intellectually, etc. tolerant of one another. And appreciate the expansion of viewpoints. Community.

  20. Thank you, fitzg. It’s my pleasure, and I hope everyone is still having fun. :D

  21. Still having fun, Raf!

  22. Good! :D

  23. […] Would You Do If You Were Checked Out by Richard Armitage? Being Richard I’m Scaring Myself Doing the Hongi I’d Have to Shoot Them Maybe It’s True? Who the Hell […]

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