Have You Been Drafted?

[note: Also read “Where’s the Bunny” and “Are You A Fangirl?” to ensure you are adequately indoctrinated into this fine madness]

November 1, 2010

It’s interesting to talk to people around the RA universe about the Armitage Army. Over the last couple of years I’ve found that many I talk to do not consider themselves part of this phenomenon even if they did at the beginning of it, and newcomers really don’t consider themselves part of it. This determination is mostly made on lack of participation with a particular website. I can see where some might think that’s the criterion for membership since it was at the beginning. But it’s become apparent after three years of observing this fandom, that the term Armitage Army long ago transcended association with a particular website.

All of that begs the question: who exactly is the Armitage Army? To answer that, it’s important to understand how it came into existence. It’s my understanding that the characterization began with a Yahoo group who was dubbed that by a participant’s husband, and the press picked up on it. The press has more or less become the arbiter of its meaning since then. I did suggest as “the real me” (as if I’m not real here LOL!) that perhaps some of the principals in the fandom could do something to take control of this image, but that was met with resistance. Fair enough. The media’s take on the Army is where the definition remains, and as I said in my last post, I suspect publicists have something to do with it as well.

So how does someone join the Army? From reading countless blogs and articles on Richard Armitage or watching countless interviews with him over several years, it would seem the press characterizes any female fan who manifests herself in some way to Richard Armitage through letters, standing on the red carpet or sending gifts (appropriate or otherwise) as a member of the Army. But membership was initially and is most importantly a female fan who makes her comments known in cyberworld. If you’re a male fan, then you get a pass on being drafted.

Let me make this plain. If you have made comments somewhere in cyberworld (yes, this includes comment sections of individual blogs) or God forbid you run a site or blog that focuses on Richard Armitage even a little bit in a complimentary way, you are probably a de facto member of the Armitage Army. Therein lies the rub for some of you who want to run like hell away from this. My advice: get over the rub and let’s have some fun with this. Two (or more LOL!, oh heck, all of us) can play this game, and I think Richard Armitage has a great sense of humor and is probably laughing himself silly at some of the stuff that’s happened. He DID NOT have to mention the pants from the fan in Australia. C’mon, he’s not stupid. He did it because it’s funny, and it makes good copy! I for one intend to enjoy the joke even if some consider me part of the butt.

I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said:

Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Well, I don’t feel inferior and neither should any of you. This is supposed to be fun, and I for one am having a blast. By the way, if you don’t have a blog, you cannot imagine how freeing it is to sit here and type this post. If anyone is tempted to jump in with their own, do it! As long as you don’t come with the attitude of hell hath no fury like a blogger scorned, you should do fine.

Man, I knew all those years of dealing with bs would come in handy. I’m seriously thinking of adding the tag “bs.”

I started to call this piece “Have You Been Shanghaied?” but my pc gene reared its ugly head. It just wasn’t strong enough to keep me from posting the picture below. This is what I think of when I think of the negative comments about the Armitage Army — Bob Geldof in ‘The Wall.’

Oh, there’s another Eleanor Roosevelt quote that comes to mind, but I’m not going to say it. If you want it, send me an e-mail.

24 Comments

  1. Actually, I lead my own little group of fans and we call ourselves something I better not say here. But I think Richard would find it absolutely hilarious.

    I’ve never written him a letter or sent a gift or stood on the red carpet (but then it’s a long way to the red carpets where he’s been for me) but I sure as heck have written about him–a lot.
    Not even counting the rather large number of fan fics I’ve written. And Sloth Fiction, of course, which is growing into its own little juggernaut. So—I guess I am in the Army now! LOL

    I think Richard has a splendid sense of humor. And a very savvy publicist. And I am loving it all!!

  2. Love it! I added a poll!

  3. I’m in denial.

  4. I don’t feel inferior, I just feel annoyed. It has become a vacuous term. There is also some expectation from those self-same admirers that we are all in this together. Nope. I don’t join clubs online. Actually, anywhere (except my synagogue). I’m a lone ranger, and it’s a way to guarantee that I say exactly what I think. Sharing ideas matters more to me than making connections. I am a bad, bad fan. :)

  5. Voted against joining the military. But could reconsider, in case there’s a move to court-martial the Spooks 8 and 9 scriptors.

  6. Am waiting for Ep 7 to buffer again.

    @fitzg

    Bwahahahaha!!! Yes, ma’am! :salutes: Sign me up!

  7. Agree that it is good to have a sense of humour and take a light hearted approach. I often have fun with some of the threads on the forums – particularly caption contests. Guy would have to be a character that absolutely lends himself to captions :). Yes, so I am a member of the AA as I enjoy the humorous interactions but I’m also an observer of behaviours. There is thudding that occurs with a sense of humour, but there is also a sector who take things too seriously. It’s hard to work out what meaning is conveyed in some of RA’s comments but I sense he uses humour in a way to convey a message of sorts. Personally I’ve been given presents by people in the context of my work and I haven’t felt quite comfortable about it. It’s very tricky to try not to hurt feelings but to convey the message that you’d rather they didn’t. I get the impression that through the media comments he makes he is trying to convey a “thanks but no thanks” kind of message.

    As for the media and the Army of fans jokes/comments ….. I wish I was a cartoonist. I think hitting back with humour would be the best strategy ….. Maybe I need to get my pencils out and start drawing …..

  8. I’m a new recruit still learning the ropes.

    I think the press uses the term because it’s a catchy term that could have been created by a PR agency – The Armitage Army. A great shorthand way of creating an image for the public. Actors and celebrities have fans, but only Richard has an Army! I don’t think the press thinks any further than that, or even realizes there are other fan blogs and forums and etc. I think Richard has a great sense of humor from what I’ve seen, and I think he takes the Armitage Army questions in a tongue-in-cheek way. Why not, this is supposed to be fun, isn’t it? For us and for him?
    Whether we join the official Armitage Army or not, we are all his fans and we all admire and appreciate him in our own way.

  9. While I’m only on the forums (AA and C19) once in a blue moon, I do count myself in with the Army. For a bit of fun. He needs a Swedish squadron, after all, surely! ;)

    That the interviewers keep bringing it up is a bit repetetive but oh well. It does make very good copy. Not everyone has a fan following called an “Army” (even if it is just a play on words: Armi(tage), Army), so milk it for readers. Tedioius but there you go.

  10. It could have been created by a PR firm! Too right, Musa! On the commentaries to the RH3 DVD, Lucy G refers to Gisborne’s wedding coat as “very Armitage Army” – thus helping to establish it as an iconic term.

    However, the so-called fandom is not a homogenous monolith. Coming to awareness of RA only this year, and having surveyed forums and blogs, hadn’t considered being Armitage Army. Armitage supporter is just fine.(Unless, as mentioned, the Army prepares an elite SAS (gentle) assault on the S8/9 writers. Make them eat their words, and admit they were living in a parallel universe.

    The early supporters can feel justly proud of their strong part in creating awareness of this actor. And Mr. Armitage has gracefully acknowledged his appreciation of his “fans”. Beyond that, he owes nothing but continued fascinating performances and engaging characters. Bring on the Hairy Dwarf! (but for goodness’ sake, get some R&R, Mr. A!)

  11. @Phoebe,

    That’s hilarious. LOL!

  12. I am a RA Fan, so I guess I am a member of the Armitage Army. I like him as an actor and his work but I am not the most devoted fan. I have seen conversations totally get out of hand and fans taking him a bit too personal. I think fanship should be fun.

    I did join a fan site once but never had the time or inclination to partake in the forums. I like blogging, I just love my RA blogger buddies, and I have a little group I am in on you-Tube that likes RA and several other shows I follow. I have spoke with some of the lesser known fans (the ones that do not partake in the forums or blogs) and they explain to me that they witnessed too much control and not enough fun to interact with the fan sites.

  13. I am confused. Perhaps someone can define what exactly is meant by the term Armitage Army. Are there various levels of fandom and the AA is the final rung?
    I always thought that you were in the AA if you actually joined the fan forum called Armitage Army. Or if you figured you were such a devoted fan that you just considered yourself one of the “soldiers”.
    Maybe people don’t like the connotations of the word “army” itself?
    I have to admit being a very devoted fan (or I wouldn’t have started blogging at all!), but I guess I didn’t really consider myself in the army until I joined the Armitage Army Forum @ Richard Armitage Central. My first comment there was “I’m in the Army now!” which was actually a quote from a song which was on a Strike Back fanvid! The moderators there were very welcoming and helpful and it is really a wonderful site. I had also joined the C19 forum previously which is amazing too. I am not very active at either forum but it’s nice to pop in every once in a while and join the party. If I hadn’t started blogging I probably would spend a lot more time there!
    Avalon mentioned the Youtube channels. There are so many great RA fanvidders out there, it is such fun to visit their channels and see what they are up to.
    It’s just amazing how much talent is out there among Richard’s fan base no matter what you choose to call them. And I am happy and proud to be a part of the exciting group of individuals that we are!

  14. There are several cohorts to the Army it seems:

    The AA
    the AA@RAC
    C19
    Bloggers
    Youtube

  15. Hi, read your blogs for some ideas on tumblr posting. Love your blog btw. I was also thinking if I really am in the army… and it turns out, I really am because my tumblr blog is married to RA… 90% of it is about RA. So yeah. Thanks for this post. Informed me the bittersweet truth that I am in the ARMY. ^__^ – Ga

  16. I was a Colonel in the former Armitage Army but went AWOL as many of my original compatriots left as well as there was some animosity with another group and women, as we often do, started b*tching each other out – which I find very weird – but I digress.

    Richard has often said in interviews that he knows that his female army always has his back.

    I absolutely adore him, have sent him gifts and letters and am not ashamed!

    As near as I can determine he is the most real, sincere, thoughtful, human and downright sexy men that I have ever fantisized about – and he is very self-depricating about it.

    Long live Richard – health, happiness and success!

  17. We have nothing to be ashamed of! We are the Armitage Army aka RArmy. We earned the right to use this term by being a small but tight community of friends, a group of loyal supporetrs!
    It doesn’t matter if you’re on Tumblr, Twitter, Boards or Blogs, YT or who knows what else!
    Richard Armitage fans are what the name Thronton is to the merchants of Milton. Now, let’s channel a bit of Mrs Thronton and be proud of it!!!

  18. I don’t consider myself a “fan” of RA (sorry ladies), but rather someone who appreciates him more for being himself- kind, humble, and sincere.

    Frenz, I follow your blog because it simply just cracks me up!! Your witty/ lighted humor always puts a smile on my face. You have a God given talent for writing and I am excited to see what awaits you in the publishing world!

  19. That’s okay Leticia, I still like you. :D

    Thank you so much for the kind words. It means a lot.

  20. I am a new member of the Army and came that way because I found out that that North & South just wasn’t a U.S. miniseries with Patrick Swayze, but I found out that it was more than that. It was also a BBC miniseries and book. So through North and South I have worked my way into the Armitage Army, with mainly the help of twitter and tumblr, without ever realizing it. I’m even making a feeble and sad attempt at a forum about RA. But I’ll keep stumbling and trying.

  21. New recruit (according to your definition ;) ), reporting for duty! :D

    Actually, I’ve been lurking around the community for several months now. Just a few weeks ago, I got the courage (or lost my mind … *chuckle*) to speak out on a couple of blogs that I started following. What an amazing shower of warmth and welcome! So much so, that, well, I started writing my own blog. The encouragement and support from fellow bloggers is astonishing. I have found it to be fascinating, liberating and just downright fun! I keep asking myself, “Who knew?” ;)

    Have I been drafted? Hmmmm … more recruited, at first. A volunteer, of my own accord.

    Have I been shanghaied? If there is such a thing as being voluntarily shanghaied, then oh, YES, indeed! Swept along, with warmth, humor and understanding, in a friendly and supportive community. I’m having a blast!

    If I may, as a somewhat newbie myself, offer a word to anyone who is lurking out there … come on in, the water is *fine*!

    BTW, Frenz … love the image! :) Thank goodness for a bit of non-pc now and then.

  22. […] up? No, don’t give me any bullshit about some of these people not being part of the Army. It doesn’t matter what they consider themselves, they’re Army according to the arbiter of the term (see that linked piece if you’re […]

  23. How did I miss these comments? I was struck blind. yeah, that’s it. Welcome, ladies. I’ll bet you never thought being drafted would feel so good. :D


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