Must Be Rough

I’m continually tickled by the criticism of a very few Tolkien fans, and some of them are begging to be teased. Not sure if this will be the last post I make about this, and I’m stating right up front that I’m really resisting the urge to cut loose with some major ribbing which frankly, might be too good to pass up later. I will come with this — sheesh, the worst criticism they can make of Richard Armitage is that he’s good looking with a bunch of female fans? ROFLOL! That’s all they’ve got?! LOL! Phew! that every male actor could be so lucky! :D

What I’m about to say I may regret later, but heck, if I can’t say something like this, then there’s no benefit in being anonymous.

All of the rhetoric flying around just goes with the territory of receiving recognition. There are always sour grapes. It’s unavoidable as I so painfully learned. Before I started working for myself, I was fortunate enough to receive a few awards from the corporation where I worked, and at one point I got so many awards, that I actually began dreading them. During one fourth quarter meeting, my name was called for an award, and I said, “Shit!” under my breath. I had learned I was going to catch some hell for being recognized. What really hurt is someone made a crack within my hearing that I only got the award because a couple of the “bosses” thought I was good looking. I actually teared up about that (oh to have such a trial! LOL!). When a friend of mine asked me what was wrong, I told him what was said and bemoaned it. He rolled his eyes and laughed, “Oh, it must be hell to have it that rough?” When I got over that stinging comment, he looked me in the eye and said, “Did you do something deserving of that award or not?” I nodded, and then he went on, “Are you going to let a handful of people ruin your hard work?!” I shook my head no. This was such a pivotal moment because the negative cracks had made my young self very insecure about being taken seriously. I wanted so desperately to be taken seriously. If my friend had not given me such good counsel or if he had felt the need to defend me, I’m not sure I would have dismissed the pettiness so quickly.

One more personal anecdote.

As I said in an earlier post, my son is a runner. Along the way, he’s had some very lofty goals, he’s also worked tremendously hard, and he’s been able to achieve almost all of his goals. This has not only brought him a great deal of praise but is going to pay for a big chunk of his college education — whether he becomes injured or not. Yea! Yea! Yea! Sorry, I’m still rejoicing over that. LOL! But mixed in with all of these accomplishments has been some negative murmuring. There are the naysayers who have actually had the gall to say he “stole” races from his competitors or the most laughable — that he “got lucky.” They had to say something when they lost over and over and over. Thankfully, I knew this just comes with the territory of winning and was able to counsel my son with some sanity, “Are you going to let a few petty people eclipse the goodness?” Smart boy that he is, the answer was no. And thankfully, I didn’t get sucked into defending him. His achievements stand on their own; no need for momma to legitimize them.

That’s how I think of these negative comments about Richard Armitage from a miniscule number of people. His accomplishments can stand on their own. He has no need of the fans to defend, and the handful of critics should not have a strong enough voice to drown out his or our joy. Further, the few negative comments are just a sign that he’s getting somewhere. In fact, if he weren’t getting any negative comments, I would be wondering if he were really gaining in popularity. So some negative is a a good sign. Anyone striving at something and receiving some negative means they’re having some effect. Let me say that another way. If you’re not receiving some negative comments, you’re probably not doing anything. No one is praised all the time. It just doesn’t work that way.

In the meantime, I’m confident Richard Armitage is wise enough to quickly put negative remarks in perspective. Mostly I picture him humbly basking in the dream come true and wearing a sweet looking smile something like this:

No, I’m not saying anything new, but sometimes it’s good to hear these things again.

edit: I don’t look anything like I used to look. These days I look very much like someone’s mother or their grandmother if I’m really being candid. When I was young, SO used to get on me about being so negative about how I looked. He told me all the time I was beautiful and a lot of other people did as well, but the sad truth is if you don’t feel beautiful, it doesn’t matter what anyone says to you. Thankfully, I got over that kind of self-consciousness and frankly, self-centeredness. And I’m totally okay with how I look these days. Quite a few years ago, I finally got to the point where I’m comfortable in my own skin, and that is priceless to me. Better than ever being someone considered nice looking.


  1. Your story reminded me of the time I told my boss at the time how well I was doing in one of my master’s level classes, having gotten a very good grade on my paper. He said something along the lines of, “Of course he gave you a good grade. He thinks you’re cute.”

    I was 22 years old at the time and I remember wanting to cry. And possibly sock my principal in the face. Discretion being the better part of valor, I didn’t do or say what I really wanted to:

    “No sir, I earned that grade because I worked for it. Just because my hair is blonde, don’t assume I’m stupid. I just happen to be cute AND smart.”
    Give credit where credit is due (and for heaven’s sake, think before you blurt out something like that . . .)

    I think I have mentioned this before, but there is a saying in the newspaper biz: “If we haven’t made at least one person angry today, we haven’t done our job.” Someone said recently that “everybody loves Angie,” and the fact is, no, everybody doesn’t. There are a few people who definitely don’t like me, but their reasons for disliking me are petty and small-minded, and I can’t let that get me down.

    RA is a wonderful, talented actor and good human being who has worked very hard and long to get where he is today. What a few malcontents who will likely never be happy for long in this life keep flapping their gums about shouldn’t really worry him or us.

  2. P.S. My “real self” may also weigh in on this fan business since I’m also a fan as myself. LOL!

  3. We cross-posted, Angie. Obviously, we’re agreed. :D

  4. Well said! I remember when I was awarded a scholarship to do my PhD, my family couldn’t understand why. The fact that I had received it on the basis of academic merit was intangible to them, even though I had a first class honours under my belt. Since my MALE sibling had been inexplicably dubbed “the smart one”, my success was unfairly attributed to anything BUT my own demonstrated intellect. Needless to say, the naysayers will be required to address me as DR. after I graduate.

    Re, RA. I think the same thing happened to Brad Pitt, he was unfairly dubbed a pretty boy rather than a serious actor. But with time he has demonstrated what a fine actor he is. I’m confident that RA will do the same.

  5. Oh, I know the slotting that goes on with siblings. My brother was the one who could write. I was the math person, or as it was usually put to me after my parents read something of mine, “I’m so glad you’re good in math. ” Almost needless to say I went into something math related, but I was never really satisfied with it, and I’m in love with writing. Just don’t judge me by this blog. LOL!

    In defense of my brother, he can write, and I don’t think I’m the writer he is, but give me some time. :D

  6. Just ignore. End of story.

  7. Except when it may be fun to tease them. :D

  8. I give you that. And I don’t always take my own medicine.

  9. Oh me either. I just try not to dish it out as ridicule but only in good fun. Thinking of a post now about what makes someone a serious Tolkien fan. Have lots of fodder for it. :D

  10. A worthy message to all of us! Lately I’ve been thinking about these same issues. My biggest regrets in life were when I made a decision to please other people and not use my own intuition and make the best choice for myself and my life.

  11. Well, you know what they say … “haters will hate” … And like you say, if all they can say is “boo hiss, he has some followers and he’s good-looking” then … yeah, whatever!

  12. @Kaprekar, ignore is good advice. Only, it’s an interesting subject, as we could turn the camera on ourselves and resist over-protective tendencies and opposing reactions. Room for all of us here – the Tolkien purists, and the RA supporters.

    No harm in reasonable debate…

    And I suspect that RA has sufficient sense of humour (and so far, a grounded attitude) to tolerate us all, do you think?

  13. Best thing is to ignore this kind of envious remarks, that’s what I have learned in life.
    RA is talented enough, his acting will speak for itself :)

  14. Ignoring is probably what I’m going to do for most of this, but if something good comes along, I’m not above teasing about it. :D I mean c’mon, it’s not like this is about a cure for cancer or world peace. LOL! And no, no, I’m not trying to in any way marginalize Richard Armitage as a person. I like the guy in case anyone might have noticed, but I hope I have him in proper perspective, and I think I do, or maybe not since I have now written, hmmm how many posts about him? Never mind, I don’t want to know. LOL! *she laughed maniacally*

  15. Ok, I freely admit I’m wearing the snarky hat today, but after reading this same sort of stuff for months, it’s getting a little old. I’m now picturing the “Tolkien purists” as a bunch of pimply faced post adolescents living in their parents’ basement and spending WAY too much time playing video games because they can’t get a real job. As Frenz said above, it’s not a cure for cancer or world peace. It’s a MOVIE. RA is Thorin, the deed is done, get over it and get a life.

    I’m very cranky today given the fact that I’m on vacation. Obviously I need to relax more.

  16. Ohmygosh, Cindy! Did I just post that and put your name on it? LOL!

    Seriously, that’s sometimes how I see it only I would throw in some other activities for them that are best left unsaid on this blog. :D

    By the way, that same advice I should keep foremost in my mind to keep Armitage Protection Mode from creeping up on me.

  17. We’re thinking alike, Frenz! (Should we be worried?)

    And now my mind is full of thoughts of what kind of “other activities” those pimply faced post-adolescents are engaging in. Eeeww.

    And I hope it’s ok that I call you Frenz. I never did ask.

  18. Of course it’s okay for you to call me Frenz! Much better than some other things I could be called. LOL!

    I don’t know if we should be worried or not. Probably. :D

  19. Actually, I could easily envision a former co-worker as one of these “purists.” This was a 30-something guy who used to dress up and go to those sci-fi and fantasy conventions. He was an authority on everything and would happily talk you to death to prove it.

    He not infrequently stayed up all night playing video games, falling asleep at the computer. He would show up for work in the same clothes. The same sweaty clothes. Yuck.

    My husband joked that Chris “lived in the basement of his parents’ trailer.” *wink* (He did in fact live with mum and dad, but I assume inside the trailer . . .)

  20. LOL! Anyone here a King of the Hill fan? if so, do you remember the episode where Bobby got caught up with the devil worshippers? That’s the one where the head “priest” was a clerk at the local video rental store. He lived in his mother’s basement and rode a bicycle to work since he didn’t own a car. Man, I loved that show! and yeah, I thought of that episode when I thought of some of this. That’s about as negative as I’m willing to go, but hey, picture me with a grin on my face. :D

  21. TBH, reading over at the TOR cracks me up. I mean, how can you judge anyone’s performance…RA, Lee Pace, Martin Freeman when the movie is BEING MADE as we speak/type??!!! Can they honestly base their opinions on past performances? I’ve seen really good actors give a horrible performance for whatever reasons. And I’ve seen mediocre actors give astounding performances. So? ( and remember my “astounding” may be your “mediocre”.) Judge what you see when you see it and then let’s talk.

    Reminds me of my foot the negative direction. Didn’t want anyone to touch my feet and I certainly didn’t want to touch other’s feet, except for my teensy babies’ feet! That meant no pedicure. Not in 50 yrs. DIL’s gave me a day spa gift certificate and it included a pedicure. I tried talking my way out of it but the little lady said “Oh honey, you’ll love it.” I gritted my teeth, chomped down on the leather strap and WHOA mama, it WAS wonderful!!! Look at all the pleasure I had been missing just cause I wouldn’t be objective and try it fer Pete’s Sake.

    TOR folks who are whining need to, as Cindy said, “GET A LIFE!” Takes a lot of nerve to question a man who has made billions (?) making quality films!!!

  22. Lately I’ve been thinking that every second one spends engaging in argument is a second they’ve taken away from a more valuable activity. I’m not saying argument is never worth it, but if these guys are such masters of artistry and / or analysis, why don’t they write their own novels? Articles about Tolkien? A colleague of mine told me recently that he’s published numerous academic articles about Tolkien. If they’re such authorities, that’s what they should do: create, rather than attempt to tear down.

  23. Discussion and naval-gazing has its place. But you are right, servetus; stop destructing, and create/construct.

  24. Serv, I completely agree with you. If these people think they can make better decisions than PJ, then why aren’t they out making the movies? It’s easy to be an armchair quarterback, much harder to be the actual guy in charge. So far it’s seems like PJ is doing a great job.

  25. […] discussion screams insecurity about appearance even more than it does shallowness. As Frenz notes: is the worst criticism they have that he’s good-looking and has enthusiastic female fans? (Question: is there any really successful male actor who lacks enthusiastic female fans? Would […]

  26. I’m both a Tolkien fanatic and a great admirer of Richard Armitage (I’m sure there must be more of those out there?!). I’ve been stumped by all this furore over him being too good-looking to play a dwarf!
    Most other Tolkien fans I know are excited that such a versatile actor is playing the part of a complex character. Besides, the idea that being good-looking necessarily precludes the ability to act is utterly ridiculous, and most people (Tolkien fans and otherwise) are clever enough not to subscribe to this stale stereotype.

    Please, don’t let a small group of silly people with baseless doubts convince you that everyone who loves Tolkien is a pimply adolescent living in their parents’ basement, spending all their time concertedly hating the beautiful people in the world above :)

  27. Thank you, Lady Worth. I hope it’s clear I believe the Tolkien fans who have any antipathy towards Richard Armitage are in the minority. Offline I am friends with quite a few people who are very rabid fans of the books and movies. Some of them live with me. :D

    Thank you again, and I’m sure the comments are helpful to those who felt a little offended.

  28. Frenz,

    I meant to tell you I loved King of the Hill, too.So funny! “I lost my shins in WWII . . .” :D

    Lady Worth,

    I think the majority of RA fans also know it’s very much a vocal minority of Tolkien fans who are so dead set against Richard playing this role. We have a few cranks in this fandom, too, and I hope no one out there ever thinks they represent the majority of us who admire, appreciate and adore Richard Armitage.

    I am not a rabid Tolkien fan, but I did enjoy very much reading the books as a child and as a teen. And I am thrilled a dream is coming true for Richard is getting to play such a major role in these films. We who follow his work all know he will be brilliant!

    The idea someone is too attractive to be talented/intelligent/competent or just gets by on their looks is indeed a very stale stereotype that needs to be kicked to the curb.

  29. […] mean, but you need to remember it’s part of fame and/or accomplishment. I’ve said this before, and it’s just profoundly true. If you forge ahead, someone is going to come with something […]

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