A Sticky Wicket

It’s been two years and a few days since I started this blog, which has been so much fun and hopefully can continue. Before I resume, there is something I need to address to dispel any confusion about where I stand on a particular issue. I was hoping this would go away, but that’s not happening, and the reason to address it is now manifold: I was not able to clarify myself elsewhere due to the closing of comments, I have received a significant amount of email and private messages and been replying to it individually which is outpacing my ability to keep up, and I want my position on record for future readers.

The lay of the land shifted a bit in RA blogosphere when another blogger decided to publish a real person fic featuring herself and Richard Armitage. She has said the nature of it may be graphic. Not one cell in my body desires to read that, and really, I wouldn’t want to read it no matter if Richard Armitage were the other person or if it were someone else. This has little to do with him being a celebrity and everything to do with the fact he is a real person, and the blogger is a real person, and further that I’ve counted her a friend. I don’t want to read about a friend’s sexual encounters. It’s too personal and not for me to know even if it is supposed to be a metaphor. The presence of a real person makes the sexual encounter (real or imagined) obliterate the story.

I have said I do not believe in censorship, and I don’t. Plus, I have no authority nor do I want any in order to tell her what she should and should not write. However, I do believe in discretion. I also feel very protective of the blogger and hate to see this kind of emotional vulnerability to a general public that does not really care about her, and I believe these pieces will just bring confusion to most who read them in addition to being disrespectful to the other person in the fic who is not there willingly. It may be the ultimate objectification of Richard Armitage.

The real shame to me is all of the brilliant and creative things she’s written could be eclipsed for the general public.

I love the blogger in question, and I’m not going to turn my back on her, but I hate the feeling that these writings mar the fun and rewarding things we’ve done almost as if being dragged down into some mud and everything becoming coated with it.

Closing comment as of April 14, 2012:

In the interest of not bringing more attention to this particular situation, I’m placing my closing remarks on the discussion which ensued as this edit instead of as another post.

I had a lengthy post written to explain my viewpoint and to address all of the questions. It was written fairly tightly. But it was written to persuade, and I just don’t want to argue. It’s enough to say I love creativity and more often than not err on the side of being very liberal about it but have a personal boundary. Obviously, the boundary was crossed with the fiction. The misunderstanding about my support of it and the concern about the author prompted me to post this piece. Hopefully, the sequence of events is finally clear to most of you. As to Richard Armitage, this isn’t so much about him as it’s about what I deem a matter of respect toward anyone — including the author. Of course we can agree to disagree on all of this, and that’s how I’m thinking of it. This is all I have to say on it for now. Best to all of you; I’m moving on.


  1. Understand your opinion – well stated.

  2. Like Elaine I think this was a well stated blog. Totally understand how you feel.

  3. A sticky wicket indeed.

    I didn’t know until now that she’d written a real person fic – I’m behind in my blog-reading! But I think I feel the same as you, Frenz. Thanks for the heads-up. I’ll happily read just about anything else you great bloggers write but I think I’ll draw the line on that stuff, too – for the same reasons you give..

    Hope you’re all having a Happy Easter.

  4. I understand your position. I respect it. I do not agree with it.

    Because of my work, I hear a lot of sexual stories. Either people are struggling with it, searching for answer through it, sometimes selling it, having been abused by it, etc. My friends and I often discuss it, dissect it and perhaps overanalyze our own stories. Maybe I am just a little desensitize to it. I don’t know. Regardless, I only know what the blogger wants me to know via her blog and I certainly do not know RA any more than what he wishes me to know. I know they are both real people but I also believe that they exist completely separate from me.

    I am concerned with the idea of objectification but I have wondered if we are not all guilty at some level. The idea of RA as a muse has been stated over and over. I have understood that our affection for RA has inspired people to do many things, including venturing into the arts, etc. Why not venture into R-rated fanfic. For me it is more about the idea of RA. And not necessarily RA himself since I really do not know him. I need to think like this otherwise I would feel very uncomfortable with my addiction to RA, a man I do not know and yet spend endless hours talking about, watching on dvd and oogling pictures of. Surely I must be objectifying him at some level.

    I have loved all the blogs and believe that everyone has a certain identity even in the blogsphere. I have so enjoyed the different dynamics and nuances. I also think that the differences of opinions in generally have been greatly respected which has greatly impressed me about this community.

    I hope I make sense with my position. I thank you for giving me the place to voice it. And I love your blog and as I said, I respect your feelings around this issue.

  5. I am finding the it’s not really about Richard Armitage because we don’t really know Richard Armitage dance somewhat nebulous…

  6. I understand individuals being uncomfortable with the kind of writing that the blogger has chosen to publish. But in my opinion (and that is all this is.) She is a grown woman, capable weighing the pros and cons, and then making a decision that she can live with. That seems to be what she had done.

    In fact, I have been impressed with how well she has handle this topic so far. Not only did she give fair warning to her readers, but she put a password on the fantasy post, so those who don’t want to read it can’t just happen across it.

    We each have our own lines we won’t cross. I hope people will respect that and not try and force their own views on the blogger.

  7. Hi again. As I commented earlier, I’m way behind in my blog reading.

    Even though I might not read the real person fic that the blogger has written, I would never try to tell any adult what she/he should read or write.

    I think it’s up to us to choose to read or not and the blogger (or any other blogger for that matter) should blog what he/she feels happy writing.

    We’re all big girls/boys, after all.

    I really enjoy the variety of writing I now can access and wish I had the guts to put my thoughts on paper – as it were! I have attempted to write a bit of the “hot and heavy” fic myself but it’s never quite satisfactory!!!

  8. I appreciate the comments. Yours included, Gracie. Without giving a bio of my life, I will tell you I’ve sat in rooms for years listening to people’s issue, and this has been done in a therapeutic role. There is absolutely nothing I haven’t heard. Seriously. And actually, the graphic fic that the blogger has written probably couldn’t even come close to being sensational when compared to what I’ve heard from people. So for me this is not a shocking thing I’ve never been exposed to, and therefore it’s not about being highly sensitized to hearing about sex or other things that most people have never been privy to. Frankly, nothing shocks me.

    This is about respect. Whether anyone else agrees with me (and I know some of you do and some of you don’t), my way of showing respect to the blogger (and to Richard Armitage as well) is not to read something like this.

    Regarding objectification of Richard Armitage, certainly, there is a continuum. The real fic is too far down the spectrum for me. It’s a little too over the line of getting into his space and the blogger’s space as well — even if I am invited. Anyone who has read my entries about Between the Sheets should already know I feel this way.

    To reiterate, it’s not my desire to tell the blogger what to do, but I do have an opinion about what she’s done. Just as pretty much everyone reading this does. And if sharing my opinion is forcing something on the blogger, then she’s not as firm in her ability to make decisions as I’ve been led to believe.

  9. Just now seeing Kathryn’s comment. I am not telling the blogger what to do. I am making it clear what I think. This is a response to all who have asked me about my position. I’m making it very public so that there is no confusion about what I think of the fic. If the blogger wants to write the fic, that’s her business. People asking me what I think is my business.

    I find it interesting that someone has the freedom to write a fic like this but others do not have the freedom to comment in disagreement on it without it somehow being construed as forcing an opinion. Are we all free to speak or not?

  10. Oh, Frenz… I was sticking up for you and saying people should let you have your opinion! Really, I was. I’m sorry if it can across wrongly.

    I meant everyone should do what she/he feels is right for him/her.

  11. Kathryn, I don’t have a problem with you! or anyone really. I’m not even upset, but I do think there is this need to defend the blogger’s choice and it sometimes manifests as characterizing those who disagree as forcing something on her. Bullshit. LOL! Yes, I really did just laugh because the notion that I am forcing something on her is absurd. Anyway, that’s what I”m reacting to and not so much you.

  12. And I agree with you that the blogger seems fairly strong to me and she’s probably not going to get too upset if some of us choose not to read it – she would have foreseen that.

  13. At no point have you told the blogger what to do. I understand you as simply stating your opinion and why. It makes perfect sense to me. People can co-exist and learn and enjoy each other without agreeing on all things.

    @Annie Vickery. You are probably right about “it is not really RA because I do not know him,” sounding nebulous to some. It is clear in my mind and that is the logic I use to justify my objectification of him. I know I am doing it and I just have not found a way not to.

  14. Oh, goodie!!! I know – I sound about 3 years old! I’ve just been talking to my darling Kaitlyn (who’s 3) in Oceanside, CA, on Skype – see, it’s all her fault!

    Anyway, my dears, it’s almost noon Monday in my neck-of-of-the-woods so I’ll leave you for a while – I’m off to buy a wireless modem/router and have some lunch.

    Happy Easter.

  15. Hope you have a great day, Kathryn.

    Gracie, I agree that people can disagree and co-exist. I do not hold it against people if they disagree with me and hope others do not hold it against me when I disagree with them.

  16. Up until a year or so ago, I had no idea there was such a thing as realperson fic, and as someone who has struggled with the concept, I appreciate and understand your opinion. For me, it doesn’t matter that I don’t the know the real people who are the subject of the piece, it’s too personal.
    I can quite happily blather on in a light-hearted manner about kissing the little scar on his forehead or running my fingers over his stubble, and I have been known to drool over the RA/chocolate combo, all of which may be about halfway along the continuum you mention. That’s as much as I could write about my own personal fantasies, and, I’ve discovered, as much as I could read about someone else’s.
    I did read the blogger’s first NC17 post out of curiosity to try and form some personal coherency on the issue and found the line is drawn for me there. I won’t be reading any more of those particular posts, but she has given me the choice, just as the others who want to do so, can.
    Her writing is brilliant and I’ll keep reading the rest of her posts as long as she wants to blog.

  17. You say that you believe in discretion, well I find by singling the blogger out in your post you are actually being the opposite of discreet. Without naming her, people would have known what you were referring to if they have been following the discussion. You also claim that you love her and won’t turn your back on her, but I wouldn’t want someone who felt that way to publicly chastise me. Yes, disagreeing is OK but this did not feel like a simple difference of opinion to me. Perhaps there was no harm meant in your post, but it read to me as a borderline personal attack.

  18. Snicker’s Mom, thank you for this. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  19. @Snicker’s Mom and @jasrangoon This post was written, as I read it, to specifically address issues related the subject blog. To not mention the name would be to cloud the issue and thus generate more emails and contacts as Frenz says she has been receiving. I sense a bit of the mob mentality forming here that I’ve seen on the other two blogs I’ve looked at on this issue so be careful about alleging personal attacks or borderline attacks or using the word chastising when she was simply stating her opinion on her own blog. She has a right to say what she thinks and she has done so.

    YOUR words could be perceived as a borderline attack. I guess whether it is or not just depends on whether or not the reader agrees with you.

  20. I love your blog Frenzy! I respect your feelings about this topic but IMHO you are too serious. Do you really wrote that last pargraph about”mud”? Do you really feel that way? Dear Frenz,don’t get me wrong,but this is sex only-not open heart surgery.;)

  21. I don’t like that you both feel that way, but I stand by what I’ve said.

  22. Just now seeing your comment, Joannah. It’s not the sex in the fic. It’s the fact it features real people.

  23. And Joannah, if I’m really candid, the thought of the real fic made me nauseous, but somehow people thought I was all for it. Wrong. I’m for people making their own choices even when I may disagree with them. Obviously, I vehemently disagreed with this one.

    Snicker’s Mom, after the initial run of this post, I think I may edit it and the comments to take out any references to the blogger. That way future readers will not know easily whom this is about when really, it’s about the issue of real fic. I’ll have to think about this, but it might be an answer to it appearing as an attack.

  24. @Annie Vickery Perhaps you’ll take your own advice about personal attacks and insults after your behavior on my blog yesterday. I was deeply offended by your very public request, as if I’d tainted you by association. If that wasn’t personally hurtful, I don’t know what is.

    @Frenzy I can understand why would want to clarify your position, but your last sentence is disturbing. What did you mean by that?

  25. Judi, The real fic is in very poor taste, and I have been swabbed with supporting it.

  26. I can move on from all of this and hope you and said blogger can as well, but I wanted it very clear where I stand on this.

  27. @judiang Judy, there is no gentle way to say this but I do not want to be associated, in any way, with what is planned or those who support something I find so ……the correct word eludes me…wrong, misguided. I enjoyed our past association but as this is a worldwide forum I must take care. There were no insults in my post on your blog, I stated my opinion and would have done so on the subject’s blog were comments open. That you disagree with my position is the source of your anger I think. Well, there is no way around that as I cannot agree with you. I am sorry you were offended that was not my intent. I quite simply, want to be as far away from this issue as possible. Take all the shots at me you want. On this issue I am not wrong nor do I care what the blog world’s mindset is determined to be. This is my last post on the issue. Frenz please delete my post wherein I mentioned S name if you so desire.

    I wish you all well and I look forward to The Hobbit with great anticipation.

  28. You’ve made yourself quite clear. I’ve been the offbeat voice in AW in my posts for the past year and at times it’s been interesting and informative, but usually a benign experience. But I’ve got to say this experience has left a nasty taste in my mouth. I’ve seen the underbelly of RA fandom, and it’s not a pretty sight.

  29. My above comment was directed to @Frenzy.

  30. Judi, I could say the same thing. This experience has left a nasty taste in my mouth.

  31. Hi Frenzy! I’m Joanna not Joannah :) Sorry!
    I understand you,really, but I was surprised by your seriousness.

  32. Yes, I guess that’s shocking. The really astounding thing is I can be so serious in my real life that it would scare the snot out of you. :D

    I am serious about issues of intimacy. Maybe I should write a post on that.

  33. uffff!(she sighed with relief) :D
    25 years ago I kissed the man for the first time. I’m with him till now.
    See!!!…I’m almost virgin ;)

  34. LOL! Sort of ditto for me except it’s been over 30 years ago.

  35. There is now no mention of the blogger’s name in either the post or the comments. I think most of us here care about the blogger, and in the interest of not bringing more light on her in particular, I’ve deleted references to her name.

  36. So moving the blogger from the discussion, I’m curious about the idea of real fic and specifically sexually oriented real fic. I’m really wondering about the draw of it other than it’s titillating. Is it therapeutic to read? And if so, how? Those are very sincere questions. Some of you who are reasonable seem to think this stuff is fine, so I’m wondering about how you see this.

  37. Hi Frenz,

    I just landed @LAX on Friday and to be honest, am a little disoriented – but read this post and thought, ‘what the heck has happened?’ I’m not familiar with all the side references to other postings in comments at this point aside from the main one you are stating your opinion on.

    I have to admit that this is not an issue that really strikes very strongly at all one way or the other. I only just discovered the existence of ‘fanfic’ last year as it was referenced in the RA blog posts and I remembered thinking, ‘what the heck is fanfic?’ I actually thought the same thing when someone recently made a comment in a blog about ‘realfic’. Again, my first thought was, ‘huh? what’s that? and where one would even find it to know if one liked it or not?’ And then I’ll admit, I simply stopped thinking about it. But if you were to ask me what the draw is or if there is a draw, I would have to say that the draw or attraction is to find out if the writing is any good, or if it resonates with me in any way.

    I suppose I’d have to find out where I could read realfic to see what I thought of the writing before moving onto specifically sexually specific oriented real fic – but again for me, I do keep the reality and fantasy rather separate, although I find that fantasy can be instructive and informative as a perspective by which to handle emotional stresses undertaken in real life (hey, can I mention I saw the film, ‘A Dangerous Method’ on my LHR to LAX flight? I can see how the movie would not have broad appeal to the mass audiences of the world, but to someone who knows Jung’s biography as I do – I really enjoyed it and yet, at times while watching my first thought was, ‘geez, how did this movie even play in a normal movie theatre?’ The movie was therapeutically about sex, and yet there was nothing ‘titillating about it’ (I am positive this is why the movie was not ‘popular’). Another film to broach the topics of sex that came out this year was ‘Shame’. Again, I believe people expected it to be titillating given the NC-17 rating. But it wasn’t. And yet, the way it was presented, I’m pretty sure for the people who went to see it, they were likely still able to be moved by it (insofar as they were looking to be moved by a movie) because the ‘sex’ was only the ‘variation on a theme that was being used’. The human condition and struggles should all still be familiar and recognizable. This is why I am not bothered by the realfic. Because as in the case of Freud, Jung, Sabine Spielrein, it was simply real, not even fic.

    I really think bringing in the whole real identity vs. blogger identity into the discussion potentially makes everything so much more loaded, so I would almost request that that topic be removed from the arguments. Frenz, as you commented just a few weeks ago, you also do not wish to be identified by this blog site, even though everything you have posted here (including your ‘real’ diary posts) have given so many people so much joy.

    So I know there are strong currents of feeling here within the community, but can’t we just agree to disagree or maybe a few of us can take a ‘break’ (a la Ross & Rachel)? What I’ve always loved is how tolerant and welcoming this community is … I would hope we would be able to continue in this stead going forward.

    I’ll admit it and I’ve said this everywhere else that I’ve ever made a comment … but I really do enjoy this community so much more than the actor who everyone agrees has inspired it. This community and the commenters (even when dissenting) have a very positive and creative impact on my life. The two actors I’ve discovered since moving to London (MF & RA) have NO IMPACT on my life.

    Pax et Lux

  38. Egads! Just noticed the first sentence in my second paragraph above should actually read:

    I have to admit that this is not an issue that really strikes ME very strongly at all one way or the other

    *still disoriented*

    Apparently, I am in Seattle today! The blooms are just beginning to open on the lovely Cherry Blossom trees here (they bloomed in London 2 weeks ago). Okay, off for late coffee! :)

  39. Frenzy, your question assumes there’s an absolute inherent moral wrongness about it which should be obvious to everybody. From the large opposite reaction on all the blogs in question, that’s not true. Nor are people supporting the blogger’s right to do it only out of titillation, any more then you are. You support her right, but dislike what she’s doing.

    I don’t care for Real Person Fiction and usually don’t read it. Why? Because the writer generally attempts to create whole stories which get into the real mind and the real life of a real person. That’s not what the blogger in question intended to do; she wanted to discuss dream interpretation of her own sexual fantasies which happened to have a real person in it. I realize some don’t care about distinctions or her intentions based on whatever their value system is; it’s all the same.

    Regardless of my views on RP writings, like UK Expat, I don’t feel strongly enough to have such a visceral reaction that’s been demonstrated recently. But then I’ve never been an moral absolutist and have always argued in shades of gray. Like you, I do not censor the blogger.

  40. Judi, how have I censored the blogger? Granted, I’m reacting to what she’s done, but how is that censoring her? I’m giving my opinion. Yes, it’s a strong opinion but an opinion none the less.

    As to my value system, yeah, it says it’s inappropriate to use people without their consent in a sexually graphic story for public consumption, and my system also says it’s icky to read a graphic description of a friend having sex whether it’s real or not. Is there something wrong with that value system?

  41. Frenzy, in my last sentence I said “like you, I do not censor” the blogger.” I agree with that point.

    I also didn’t say there was anything wrong with your value system. Mine sees distinctions and shades of gray that you apparently find irrelevant. There is no absolute wrong or right, between us here.

  42. LOL! It seems to me that you are making a distinction irrevelant. Namely the distinction of this being presented publicly versus privately and that most dream interpretation is therapy and normally done privately or within a small group. .What is the point of this exercise being public?

  43. Before you answer that, I want to ask you how this real fic is really any different than others you object to? Yes, I’m asking you to show me the distinction between the bloggers fic and others who write real fic? I would love to see an example of the types of real fic you do not like. I’m serious. I am not being sarcastic at all.

  44. and I apologize for misreading your comment about censoring.

  45. “Because the writer generally attempts to create whole stories which get into the real mind and the real life of a real person. That’s not what the blogger in question intended to do; she wanted to discuss dream interpretation of her own sexual fantasies which happened to have a real person in it. ”

    The blogger isn’t trying to get into the head of a RP ascribing personality, plot etc to him. The fantasy is all about her, done in little vignettes. Was he object? Yes, you could say that, and there launches the objectivity debate again.

    As for RPF, it’s hard for me to get you to see unless you’ve actually read some. The very first one I read on a private listserv in another fandom made the RP into a rapey asshole as the main character of the story. It was gross no matter who was in it, and the listserv agreed the story wasn’t welcome there, although the author was free of course to take it elsewhere. I’ve read one where the RP was clearly a Mary Sue exploring some nasty issues. I’ve read some where the RP was a sweetie… okay *shrug*. I suppose I don’t care for stories where the RP is the developed main character, traipsing about a life; there is such a fine line to tread, and a lot of writers don’t do it successfully.

    The blogger wanted to talk about her RP sexual fantasies, something a lot of us have, and call him by his real name instead of masking him as a character. Why does writing it down make it worse than thinking it? What if there were no sex in it? What if he sat in the background taking notes while she analyzed herself? Would it better if she called him Joe, although he looked, walked and quacked like a RP public persona and all the readers knew it?

  46. Well, I am going to go ahead and venture into this debate. This may sound too simplistic but I really do love reading and listening to stories, even if they are sexual or erotic, whether they are fictional or non fictional. It is not all about it being titillating, although that too may play a role. I find it all very fascinating and it comes down to whether something resonates with me or not. I also think that sometimes it has nothing to do with the words on paper or the images on screen but rather the interpretation of the reader or viewer and his/her backgound, history, experience, etc. For far too long women in particular have been told what they can and cannot do, think, say, etc. We have a tendancy to think that the pendulum has swung in the other direction but I am not so sure about that. Just because we see more women being marketed sexually does not mean that every woman experiences sexual empowerement the same way. If people did not share their stories, whatever they may be, so many interesting things would still be left unsaid. If we did not challenge certain ideas and put it out there for public consumption, there would still be many rights and responsibilities would not have today. Sexuality is all around it and I am particularly fascinated by how women approach it, communicate with it, develop as a result of it, etc. I especially enjoy it when it is well written and by a mature woman who has put thought into it and is on a journey for herself. And has given people the “choice” of whether to share in her process or not.

    I believe my opinon stems from the fact that I am the eldest daughter of a traditional immigrant family who spent her life in Catholic school where either having and most certainly writing sexual fantasy (be in real or imagined) was a definite no-no. For a long time now, I do not accept that as the right way for me.

    I know that others do not want to read it. Most people have commented on how RF is not for them. I do not make that distinction. I have not been able to at this point. I respect that viewpoint but I also believe that my position as someone who likes reading real fic/fan fic is also just as valid.

  47. There would be a lot to be said, and I certainly have opinions about all of it, which I am sure is no surprise to anyone. This issue (re)broke over the beginning of Passover; this post appeared last night, just as I was leaving my internet connection, and Monday and Tuesday are my two busiest work days. I thought a lot today about how I will react, and what I want to say, but I also have to write three lectures. So, rather than risk a poor reply that provokes more controversy at this point, I will wait until Wednesday.

    For now I say this: “‘There are all kinds of courage,’ said Dumbledore, smiling. ‘It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.'” (J.K. Rowling, _Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone_, ch. 17).

    Until anon. I look forward to reading more opinions in this thread.

  48. Fair enough Servetus. Take your time since I’m going to be busy for now talking to Judi and Gracie. :)

  49. I also want to say that I read the comments of UK Expat and appreciated them, and I also hear what Gracie is saying about women being repressed. But for now I would like to return to my discussion with Judi and hope you all understand.

    Judi, I did read that you made the distinction between fics based on whether an author gets inside the real person’s head but thanks for elaborating about a particular piece of fic.

    If we could, I would love to forget the fic in question, the people involved and my opinion in this blog piece.Could we just discuss some of the issues you’ve raised? and please know that I’m not trying to prove anything to you. I’m trying to understand your viewpoint.

  50. Frenz, I’m all for dispassionate discussion. Where would you like to start?

  51. Hi Frenz…I’ve revisited to see all the latest comments but I’m not making a comment about your blog.

    I’m asking (and I KNOW it’s none of my busines!) but

    have you been married for over 30 years? WOW! that’s great

    and amazing as I hadn’t realized you’d been on earth long enough!

    LOL. Just kidding.

    I hope you and your family enjoyed Easter. I just had a fairly quiet one as my son and his family joined some friends down the coast for the long weekend – we have Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday as public holidays in Australia.

  52. Busted! Yes, Kathryn, I’m old. LOL! But it’s relative, no? :D And actually I’ve been married for 28 years. We’ve known each other over 30 years. Easter was good, and oddly enough we did less in the way of ritual this year than any other. I loved it!

  53. Judi, In describing character development in a real fic as treading a line, how you determine where the lines is? Yes, I’m asking about the boundaries because it’s still not clear to me what exactly constitutes getting in a character’s head. Maybe if you talk about it some more, I’ll get a better picture of what you mean. Thanks.

    And I hope others will just let us have this conversation without feeling the need to defend either one of us. So far that hasn’t happened, and I hope it continues. But that certainly doesn’t mean I don’t want people to feel free to comment.

  54. Frenz, I’m not an expert on RPF, so maybe Gracie can be more helpful. From what I’ve read, RPF attempts to take aspects of a RP’s real life or persona and use it as a basis for a story. Again in another fandom, an excellent writer wrote a long complicated story about two RFs who were friends in real life. It was their lives in an alternate universe, as it were, with backstory, emotions, the whole developed gamut like any novel. Although it was well written, it showcased to me the problem of putting detailed thoughts and emotions in the mind of a RP character: based on the public personas I knew, I kept thinking “why would she think the RP would do that, or think that.” The writer was attempting to get into the minds of the RPs, based on what she thought she knew of them. I kept seeing the RPs and not the characters they were intended to be. It confused the line between reality and fantasy. That’s where the boundary was for me.

    Other RPFs aren’t like that; they don’t say “if the RP were in this situation, this is exactly what he would do, think and feel.” They are obvious fantasies, totally unreal, and not particularly remarkable except the characters have RP names.

  55. RAFrenzy, I want to say that I understand and agree with your stand here. I also feel a bit demonized by the idea that I am trying to “police” another person who is ever free to do what she likes, whatever I might write. When i see another person doing something that seems morally wrong or dangerous, though, I’m likely to say “That doesn’t sound like a good idea; hold off for a second and let me explain.”. If I feel strongly about something, I may express myself very directly.

    I think that writing real person fanfic without the other person’s agreement is wrong. As I understand him, Martin Buber suggested that we aim to have “I-thou” relationships with other people, respecting their actual existence and living in

  56. Hello, here I was thinking “all is quiet on the western front” and that everyone is bust scoffing down chocolate eggs, only to come across this storm.
    I feel I need to say something, and please, no one should take offense, but there a few points I’d like to make (allbeit badly).
    First of all, I’m a firm believer that the blogger has the right to write what he/she pleases in their blog. Period!
    The reader makes the decision to read and comment or not. A while back I came across homofobic remarks in comments of a blog I really enjoyed reading. I made the decision not to visit that blog again, As much as I was hurt, I didn’t feel it was my place to limit what was being said, therefore I decided to remove myself from that environment. I feel this blogger, as well as all others, should be able to express themselves freely without the threat of being called out or criticised.
    This links me to my second point. As far as I remember the post was password protected and it was clearly stated that there could be some adult material in the post. The said blogger did not throw this in our faces, she clearly stated that the writing might not be for everyone. By typing in the password, we entered her world.
    I have read this bloggers posts for some time now. I have always read them through the prism of these being a collection of her inner thoughts “bounced off” of a certain actor (she puts it so much nicer, though). Therefore, I am a bit confused as to why this, or any other post, should shock.
    To me, it is the blogger herself who is the main topic, the actor is merely a trigger to certain thoughts. I’ll be honest, I didn’t think of the actor at all while reading it, I understood that he is a shell, so to speak, that houses certain emotions and thoughts. Would it have been better if the man was called Bob? If she had written it in a third person narration?
    I applaud you for getting this far in the reading, it really is so badly written and I’m not sure if I really made my points clear, really sorry about that ;)

  57. I don[t have time to say much right now, but I do want to say one thing. This isn’t a storm. This is a difference of opinion, and now we’re discussing it.

  58. Is the sense of proportion getting a little skewed in AW? If something offends you, don’t read that “type” of material. Take the warning label for what it is and move on.

  59. Certainly, that should go without saying, Fitz, but somehow I was implicated in it, and I don’t appreciate that at all.

    As for the rest of the discussion, Judi, I am literally slammed today. I thought this wasn’t going to happen until later this week, but it’s happening today, so I doubt I can even get on until this evening.

    Hope you all have a great day.

    edit: and apparently I cannot type. In my defense I had a system built a few month ago, and I love it, but the keyboard action is horrible! I’m not this poor a typist.

  60. The blogger has perhaps unwittingly been pretty indiscreet about revealing a great deal about herself in her blog, and I think what she’s revealed is true. I suspect that someone who knew her well through work or her family and stumbled across her blog, and things like that happen, might find it pretty obvious who was writing: was in Germany at this point, check; moved at this time, check; visited her parents that month, check; had grades to turn in around then and then and then, check; same degree, yes; in the academic field that matches, check; converted from religious tradition X to Y, check . . .

    The blogger’s identity might be obvious. Yes, it’s not likely. But it’s possible. All that In itself might lead to tittle-tattle and outing if the person who worked out was at all malicious; if the blogger’s sexual fantasies became part of malicious gossip too . . . That.might be pretty awful for the blogger.

    That’s an unusual amount of self-revelation in a blog. I suspect that other people in her life might recognize her easily; for someone who knows her well, the blog might as well have her name on it. Granted that, RAFrenzy is doing what a friend ought to do. She’s urging the blogger to think through what might happen. She’s not censoring her but urging caution in a situation that might end painfully. That seems like what a concerned friend would do. I too hope the blogger will be cautious. If she feels that being “outed” as the blogger would be no big deal, then why try to make the blog (and the sexual fantasies in it) anonymous in the first place?

  61. I know that RAFrenzy feels it’s disrespectful to put RA in sexual fantasies in a blog. I do too. It’s using him as a means to an end, rather than treating him as a person with his own preferences, which may not include being a sex object in a blog. I actually think that’s kind of immoral. Yes, he probably won’t learn about it, but so what? It’s still treating him as an object, and it’s also kind of icky because it’s,so public.

    Fine, have RA fantasies– no one is stopping her. And put them on the blog. But why put them in public? What’s the point of that? Whether or not others read the fantasies, quite honestly, some people who know they’re on the blog are going to think the whole project is exhibitionism, tacky, vulgar, and maybe even kind of pathetic. My own opinion of her has gone way, way down. I like a lot of porn and have no problem with adult fic about John Porter, but using a real person does cross the line, for me. I’m sorry to say that, but if the blogger wants to put herself and RA in a sex fantasy, be realistic about what some people, including some of her fans, think about the whole idea. That’s not saying she must stop; she probably won’t.

    The RA character isn’t a shell and we know it. If he was, why give him the same name? Why give him any trait similar to what we know about RA? I think that it’s pretty clear that RA and only RA will do for this blogger.

    I’m not trying to censor her, but I think she should have a realistic awareness that for some of us, just knowing she’s got some need to do this kind of lowers our opinion of her. Maybe that’s just me and a few other people, but it has.

    If someone was writing fanfic about me, even if that person thought I was wonderful, I’d kind of want to have a say about being in it. Here’s what I think is a tough question: does RA have a right to be consulted as to whether he’d like to star in this particular public drama? It’s not like posing a Guy of Gisborn action figure, right? Maybe he’d laugh and say “Well,have fun!”. Maybe he’d say “I really hope you don’t, because it makes me queasy / angry / uncomfortable / embarrassed . . I’m sorry, but I’m not yours to play with.” A person could always write to his agent to ask. I honestly think that’s the fair, right thing for the blogger to do, and keep them private till she gets an answer. That would a lot better

    And if the RA fantasies are supposed to be a courageous statement of some kind of a daring and valuable thing to do, it’s not that daring of the blogger to use another person’s name and body but be unwilling to use her own name. That just doesn’t sit right with me.

  62. Frenzy, no problem. I really hope we can persevere and keep our conversation on track. This is the kind of chat that should have happened.

  63. At the risk of over-simplifying the discussion…the bottom line to all of this, in my mind, is:

    Why put “that type of material” on a fan blog? Why not put it on a fanfic site where you’d expect to see “that type of material”?

    That throws out the censoring charge, the what if the blogger is outed, the accusations of absolutism and puts it all in perspective and in its proper place.

    When I go to Barnes and Noble’s magazine section, I do not expect to find Mary Sue’s recent sexual fantasies lurking behind the covers of Southern Living right after the Recipe of the Month…possibly Cosmo, but that’s a whole nuther story.

    As a mom (and forget the Protection Mode…if it’s Bugs Bunny or Gerard Butler, I could care less), I keep thinking about Mrs. A and how I would react if this was my son being featured in “that type of material”. It’s one thing to have RA characters involved in graphic writings, but using his real life name?? It just doesn’t sit well with me. At all. And even IF you use a fictional name but is included in one of his fan blogs, will that hide who is being discussed? Could the casual reader figure it out? Even I could get that one!!! :)

  64. So, just out of idle curiosity, does this mean that we’re all supposed to be down on the tumblr sites now? Because try as I might I am FAILING to see the difference between what was written at the Blog O’Shame and the confessions on Richard Armitage Confessions or the multiple gifs of him stripping, cropped to just show his butt. Someone want to fill me in on the logic on that one?

  65. Popping in and then I’m back in the car. I have not read the blog o’shame. You make a good point about Confessions. I’ll articulate later what I think the difference may be. As for the gifs, I don’t care for those either, but they are different because he consented to be photographed that way for the public to view. So others are just showing what he’s already done. Again, those aren’t my thing, but there is a difference, and if you’ll notice, I’ve never had anything like that on my blog. Closest I’ve come is talking about the phenomenon of Tumblr and Richard Armitage. More on Confessions later.

  66. I wasn’t going to weigh in on this but have obviously changed my mind!

    For me, because it’s a real person I have to ask myself ‘would I want this done to me?’ or ‘would I do this to a colleague or neighbour?’ and the answer is a resounding no. For this very simple reason, I personally cannot like/support the writing of RL fic without their permission, whether it’s about RA or not.

    And yes, a blogger can do whatever they want on their blog. That’s the beauty of having a blog, I suppose!

  67. Hi again, Frenz!!

    I have also been running around today, reacquainting myself with all that is lovely about Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.

    I actually clicked on the link you included in your post (because as mentioned earlier, I’d never heard of realfic before) and I know it’s just wikipedia, but I still found it interesting so thank you for including it!

    A few items of interest caught my eye, so I hope you’ll indulge me to share them here:

    under “History”:

    “The earliest known RPF (real person fic) was written by the Brontë children from 1826 to approximately 1844….These stories were not published until well over a hundred years later, but the children used them to polish their writing skills and eventually all became professional authors.”

    Wow, who knew THAT little piece of information, huh? RPF used to polish writing skills! :)

    And it appears Charlotte Bronte’s biographer was none other than Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell. Wow, was the world ALWAYS such a small place? This is getting creepy! ;)

    and then under “Reaction to Real Person Fic”:

    “For the most part, celebrities remain indifferent to Real Person Fic… this can lead to some uncomfortable moments as happened with Paul Darrow, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, who were both given real person fic featuring them and their significant others in sexually explicit situations. Both Elijah Wood and Ian McKellen, as well as Karl Urban, have stated that they do not mind RPF being written about them.

    Elijah Wood has publicly given a nod to the creativity of slash groups on the Graham Norton show during an interview post LOTR, this was a comment based on manipulated photos that went with Slash and RPS stories on specific website. Elijah has also mentioned the web site numerous times stating that it is one of the most creative endeavors he’s seen.”



    this link was given for correspondence between Ian McKellen and fans who asked him about slash fiction and real person slash (the question and answer is 3 questions down under topic SLASH):

    And this was sent to McKellen and responded to almost 10 years ago! Geez, I can’t believe how absolutely behind the times I am, not even having heard of this type of writing before … and here it has already been in the press and other LOTR actors have responded to it either in active support of its creativity or with a sort of benign indifference.

    I just wanted to share that I enjoyed what I learned and basically feel a little lame for not knowing about it earlier (in addition to still not having a very strong opinion about it).

    But now in great seriousness, I just want to say that I think that everyone’s feelings and disagreements here are VALID.

    Frenz, I don’t know how anybody could have mistaken you for being in support of the RPF, because every comment you made on the original post was extremely clear that you simply could not embrace it (and you listed your reasons quite clearly), yet you still supported the blogger’s right not to be censored. So I guess I’m sorry you were misunderstood and got a fall-out of email from people who did not read your original posts clearly.

    I don’t know if I am missing something else, but I think it’s really okay that each of us has our own perspective on what we think is acceptable based on the lives we lead. Laws are created to give us boundaries, but outside of breaking those laws (which I don’t believe is in question here) I was just a bit surprised by the vehemence of emotion – and I’m not saying passion isn’t a good and valid thing, just that I could not personally relate to it on this topic.

    Sorry if I have not moved the discussion forward much with this comment, just wanted to share some interesting tidbits from your link!

  68. […] more pleasant if I hadn’t cut it off, but at least it wouldn’t have gone elsewhere and angered other bloggers. This collateral damage is thus my fault and mine alone. I apologize abjectly to all my sister […]

  69. @UK Ex Pat…go to Vivace on Broadway! That’s all.

  70. Jazzbaby1 – I know your comment wasn’t addressed to me but:

    should I be able to understand it??

    or is it a mystery to me as I’m 65 and not an American?


  71. @kathryngaul – not at all. Jazzy’s responding to my comments regarding being in Seattle this week! :)

    @jazzbaby1 – I love Vivace on Broadway!! I should be in the neighborhood at Swedish Medical Center, too, just up the street – also on Broadway :) Love those docs at Swedish – world class caregivers :)

  72. @kathryngaul – I know Australia has some of the best coffee in the world, so you’re likely not missing anything – but this is what Jazzy is reminding me to visit: http://www.espressovivace.com/retail.html

  73. @UKExpat and @jazzbaby1 I love Vivace! Every time I’m in Seattle I make sure I visit there and the REI store nearby. Good thing I’m drinking a well made coffee now or else I’d have coffee envy :)

  74. Thank you, UK Expat and australianperspective! I’ve never been to Seattle so I hope I’m forgiven for not knowing what ” Vivace on Broadway” meant!

    As an Australian, it was extremely difficult for me to key “australianperspective” without a capital/upper case “A”!!!!!!! Nudge, nudge, wink, wink (seeing smilies are disabled!).

  75. You all make me want to go to Seattle or Australia. And yes, I disabled the emoticons, Kathryn. I actually despise those things. If I weren’t such a lazy writer, I would never use them.

    Back to the discussion.

    I went back to catch up on RA Confessions, and certainly, there are some graphic things written there. So is there a difference in some of those comments and the fic? Well, some of the confessions do skate right up to the line, but I think they pull back because they are obviously not written as stories to plunge us into the scene with them, but the most important distinction is no sexual interaction shown on RA’s part.

    Also, one key difference for me in reading these and in reading the blogger’s writings is that I don’t know those people. Perhaps I do, but I don’t know that I do. She, on the other hand, I know, so I wouldn’t want to read about her clit for instance, and I’m assuming she wouldn’t want to read about mine.

    It would be interesting to know if the owner of that blog sees the posts or at least some of the posts as real person fic or is willing to publish real person fic there. She’s on hiatus, so I couldn’t get a timely answer for this response. But I did submit a question about it because perhaps I’m wrong and those are real person fics, or ficlets, as it were.

  76. Hi Frenz, I think I do remember your telling me some time ago that you had disabled the smilies but I’d forgotten. I can be a bit ditzy sometimes! I often have “senior’s moments”.

    I visit the confessions tumblr thingey quite often. Most of the “confessions” make me giggle or laugh outright and some others make me go, “I’d never have the courage to admit that!”

  77. There have been only a very few that I thought were a little off. But then, I mainly put that down to being 65 and not being quite as used to speaking/hearing/writing those sorts of things as some younger people might be. Shades of my Catholic schoolgirl days, maybe? I’m certainly way less prudish than I used to be but I’m still shocked when I hear the f word used so freely in public these days! don’t get me wrong – I can swear but I draw the line at that word.

    sorry…way off topic there.

  78. The rules of civility have definitely changed. The f word is acceptable amost everywhere these days. Notice I said almost. There are still some places it’s frowned on. And speaking about ourselves no matter how intimate is also very acceptable. that’s one reason this issue of real fic is not black and white. The boundaries are bieng pushed on openness. I have no objection to the boundaries being pushed on that at all. I’m an advocate of opennness, and this discussion is part of hashing out where the acceptable boundaries reside.

  79. Also, I’m sorry I coudln’t get online last night. I did answer some quick questions on Twitter, but that was all I could do. I’m hoping I can really spend some time this evening.

  80. Allow me to muddy the waters even more.

    Does anyone here NOT have a difficult time differentiating say, RA’s peaches from Paul Andrew’s peaches in Between the Sheets. Is it not the real person in his role as actor that is simulating r-rated sexual acts throughout the movie. Was it not the real person that decided to inhibit this character and thus bring truth to the character and make it real for people/viewers to empathize, identify with, etc.? Okay, it is a movie, not real life, but the the real person had to read the story, make changes, act it out (those sex scenes). They must have thought the whole thing valid. It is work, not real life. I understand that. But is this not a personal decision the real person made to embodying this character and make it part of his body of work? What then is the difference between the RP as actor and the real person as writer of their own fantasies? How autobiographical is it when it really is only happening in the person’s fantasy world and with a RP we cannot say for sure would behave in RL as he is behaving in the writer;s fantasy?

    I swear, I am not trying to be snarky or difficult. But I am sincerely in awe of people’s ability to draw such clear distinctions. Isn’t all a bit of fantasy anyway. Some things resonate, and other don’t?

    I watched Shame (Micheal Fassbender) with my sister and a friend. My sister hated it, thought it was a 2 hour long porno. My friend and I really enjoyed it and thought that the graphic content was needed in order to fully impact the audience to sexual addiction. It was not tittilating for us in the least. Again, a difference of opinion which I believe are both valid and can co-exist.

    I cannot help but think that Mr. A would go along the lines of ELijah Wood and Ian Mckellan. I suspect that he would say, “Let them write whatever they want even if they use my name. It isn’t about me anyway.”

    I apologize for boring anyone and thank you Frenz for giving me a space to discuss my viewpoint, though I suspect I am in the minority with my thinking. I think I will withdraw from any further discussion as the whole topic is hurting my brain. LOL

  81. I don’t think you’re boring anyone at all, and I”m glad you feel you can comment.

    I’ve got to run out the door; hope all of you have a pleasant day.

  82. I love that people keep me apprised of the drama in the fanbase. The difference between his performances and writing a fantasy about him is that Armitage consented to his work in “Between the Sheets.” He is not consenting to the use of his name and image in that blogger’s published sexual fantasies. Muddy as much as you want, it all washes away to it being that simple: His consent.

    And no one should make assumptions about what a celebrity they have never met would or would not be comfortable with. Many celebrities have been subjected to writers like this and have even gone so far as to file charges:



    Another important document I think we all need to read is this discussion of the right to privacy that celebrities are entitled to:

    Click to access celebrities%20rights%20-%20nordhaus.pdf

    And I quote:

    “The right to privacy has developed to protect against four main types of invasions: (1) intrusion into solitude, (2) publish disclosure of private facts, (3) depiction in a false light, (4) commercial exploitation of a person’s name or likeness, also called appropriation. Although other areas of the law distinguish between public and private in determining the standard that applies to recovery, the right to privacy applies equally to public and private figures, at least in theory.”

    The blogger is most certainly crossing the third boundary set.

    Section II.A is also very interesting back and forth on the topic.

    Also II.C.2:

    “The tort of appropriation recognizes an individual inherent property right in controlling the use of his name and likeness. It is the value associated with such name and likeness when it is appropriated. The value does not have to be commercial in nature, but can be that of reputation, prestige, social or commercial standing, or of public interest. Actions for appropriation involving celebrities however, generally relate to the commercial exploitation of a celebrity.”

    Further II.C.4 “False Light” states:

    “As demonstrated by Eastwood vs. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, the “deliberate fictionalization” of a celebrity’s personae is actionable only “when…presented to the reader as true” with the publisher having the intent to knowingly deceive the reader.”

    So as long as she doesn’t make money off it and places a disclaimer on all her fantasy posts that they are a work of fiction, it’s legal.

    However, is it ethically right?

    I would think the fine lines drawn throughout that document show us that the blogger is most certainly, at best, in an extremely grey area.

    Let me ask the community a couple questions:

    If you found out that a neighbor or co-worker you never spoke with but saw on a regular basis had started posting sexual fantasies, some of which are dark and violent, about you on the internet, would you be o.k. with it?

    Or would you consider it sexual harassment?

    Because in the workplace, that would legally be considered sexual harassment and could be grounds for their dismissal. But hey, if you didn’t want to be harassed, you should have never gone to work there, right? Or stepped outside your house. How would you like it if you had no legal recourse to someone writing about fantasies about having sex with and controlling you? What they assumed you were like in bed, how they could push you around and dominate you. Would you be comfortable a complete stranger publically writing things like that where you could see them, where your friends could see them, where your family could see them?

    Just because we can do a thing, that does not mean we should do a thing. Why did Richard Armitage supposedly lose the inherent social rights we all have to privacy and basic human respect just because of the field he chose to work in?

    And if this is not really about Richard Armitage but just his image, then why did this same blogger write a post in which she investigated everything she could about someone Armitage had never spoken of but merely been photographed with, in order to publically pass judgment on the woman and what she assumed their relationship to be under the guise of being “the friend Richard Armitage just has not met yet?” How is that *not* about the real person?

    We can wrap it up in as much rationalizing intellectual rhetoric as we want, but what this boils down to is a fan writing her sexual fantasies about an actor who is not a fictional character but a real person, using that real person’s name and image without his consent for public gratification.

    At the very least if she is going to post a fantasy using his real name, then I feel she should include her real name. After all, she was the first person who ReTweeted my real name, where I lived, and where I worked when CW posted it on Twitter without my permission (and it took much more than a “google search” to find). It’s only fair that she put herself in the same situation she forces others into.

  83. I need to make something clear that apparently is not. I am not angry. If I had ever gotten angry in RA universe, you would know the veracity of that statement. Certainly, I have been baffled at times in RA Universe, I have been frustrated at times in RA Universe, I have been disappointed at times in RA Universe, but I have never been angry — at least never even close to being angry enough to express it publicly.

    So what was I feeling when I made this post? Disappointment and bafflement with perhaps a wee bit of frustration but again, this is not what my anger looks like. My anger is very clear and profound. This ain’t it. LOL!

  84. This is a fascinating discussion with valid points on both sides. Ultimately it comes down to personal opinions as there is no right or wrong answer, only shades of grey.

    A blogger owns the intellectual and moral content of their blog. It is up to the reader to decide whether they want to read it or not, especially in this instance. A blog is a space where you can share anything you feel, think and wish to express. In this case, the blogger had something she wished to get off her chest, so to speak. She didn’t make us read it.

    On the other side, I personally feel queasy about first person accounts of sex, although it was pretty tame in comparison to others out there. But to throw open another can of worms; does the fact that fanfic is couched in character really make a difference in the argument here? Whoever writes it is imagining RA’s body making love. Now, yes it’s not RA in name but Guy/Lucas etc in a fanfic but I question whether it was really RA in her RP fic? Of course it wasn’t – we don’t know him. We’ll never know him. He’ll never know us. Using his name is just another character. A bloke who looks like him.

    Now, the point has been made that this is a violation as he did not give his permission to be used this way. Let’s not be naive, a guy who takes his shirt off this many times onscreen knows why he’s doing it. It’s part of the business. He’s being asked to do that for us. A producer/director is aware of his fanbase and feeds it. Really was there any need for all the shirtless scenes in Strike Back? This may be unpalatable but it’s true. He’s not some newby up-and-comer, he’s been in the business long enough and knows how it works – he does have a certain control over how he is seen. He knows full well what he’s doing. Fantasising over him is the outcome.

    Perhaps the reason so many of us are desperate for him to get back on stage is that it takes him away from the beefcake type roles and would enable him to have a crack at serious dramatic actor parts. Image and how you are perceived as an actor is everything in casting.

    So basically the blogger has a right to write her piece and anyone has the right to disagree with it. I’m sure most of us here have had vivid sexual fantasies about him, (blimey, I know I have!!!) the only difference is that she decided to share.

  85. I’m letting even the negative comments come in because I want people see just a fraction of what I’ve been privy to. Do I agree with every negative comment here? No, I don’t, but if we’re going to have a discussion,let’s have one, and that doens’t mean it’s all going to be pretty. I do give a warning though. If someone is just on the attack of the blogger and they are not actually arguing the principles here, I’m reserving the right to can it. So come ahead and I understand some of you will be passionate (it’s a passionate subject), but let’s not eclipse the subject by making the blogger feel nothing but defesne of her person.

    Net for me: I disagree with what the blogger has done; I do not disagree with the very person of the blogger. Not at all.

  86. BTW, that was not directed to anyone in particular. It’s a policy statement if you will. I do not like to censor comments and to date have not done it. I’d like to keep it that way.

  87. Judi, you’re a lawyer, and I practically grew up in a courtroom, so I figure you and I can handle the presence of negative commenters while we have this discussion. Frankly, I let those comments through to stay true to the conviction not to censor, and yes, realize it may invite a harangue. I don’t want that, but I may get it and have to deal with it at some point. Hopefully not.

    Okay, where were we? You asked me a question about what’s the difference in writing it down and if it would make a difference if there were no sex? Yes, to both questions. We all have all sorts of thoughts. Does that mean we should make the public privy to them? Let’s change the subject to violence. If someone wrote a real fic that was about their fantasy of torturing and killing Richard Armitage, would you think that was okay? And why? or why not? I ask that honestly.

  88. Actually, the directors are the ones that make the decisions about how much clothes are on or off in a scene. Armitage has repeatedly complained about having to take his shirt off in the TV shows and films he works in. Again, fans should not try to speak for him and think they know what he is thinking. Maybe they would not if they realized he is a real person and not a fictional character they can project their desires onto willy nilly.

    Honestly that is the big split is in the fanbase. It’s the two modes of thought to approaching celebrity.

    One side has the assumption that because we will never meet him, he is, for all intesive purposes, not real. (just as Redlyn said above, Richard Armitage is just as ficitonal to them as Guy of Gisbourne). Ergo they can say and do whatever they want with no responsiblity to him or to treating another human being with basic human respect, because, for all intensive purposes, he is not human. That side of the fanbase acts like Richard Armitage does not perform for their entertainment, they act like he exists for their entertainment.

    It’s a level of objectifcation that many find creepy because a lot of people don’t belive that. They understand and respect that Richard
    Armitage exists as a real person independant of our desires and find that kind of objectification of a human being to be rather appalling. They are uncomfortable around it and hate seeing someone they respect treated in that manner. They can and do separate the fact from the fiction, the actor from characters, and while they write fanfics about the characters that don’t really exist, they are more circumspect about the man who does really exist.

    I really don’t know what can be done, because the two approaches do not seem reconcilable to me.

  89. The fine distinction comes in with process of drawing conclusions about people. I believe it’s impossible not to draw conclusions about someone. None of us can refrain from drawing some conclusion or we would have to stop thinking. I’ve drawn some conclusions about Richard Armitage — mostly in a humorous way on my blog, but I’ve also done it in a serious manner with a couple of pieces. So I’m trying to figure out where is the line? When I saw Between the Sheets, I made an assessment of Richard Armitage based on his actions and words, and pardon me if I call bullshit on the director controlling everything. LOL! Anyway, it bugged me that he was willing to do that, and I wrote down, for public consumption, my thought process about it all. Was I wrong to that? I didn’t think so, but maybe I was also wrong. Yes, that’s a legit question to whomever and not just to Kipling Kat.

  90. I’m going to hit an issue right up front, so we can clear the air. I know KiplingKat has issues with some of you and vice versa. I hope that doesn’t inhibit discussion. Just remember this is my turf, and I’ve dealt with lots of tough customers in a few decades of living. I’m not afraid to discuss anything with her and hope no one else is either.

  91. And I thought Paul Andrews was one of the best performances he has given thus far. I do not like the haracter, but I was able to see past the nudity to the finely nuanced character he created in a drama that is on a very human scale, striking at the heart of real relationships. My repsect for him went up when I saw him in that role.

    So how much of the conclusions people make about him are him, and how much is us projecting onto him?

  92. Ultimately, I thought BTS was a good performance, but for me, anything that graphic makes me have to really work to see the story. I’m not going to rehash what I’ve aready said. It’s in my diary.

  93. My point is maybe it was would wisest to try to not make assumptions or presumptions, to take him at face value for what he says and does and nothing more. Anything beyond that we can’t know and invariably what we fill in the gaps with is ourselves. With a fictional character that is fine, that is what they exist for. With a real person, that doesn’t work and can be rude at best, at worst…well. We’ve seen some examples of bad fans over the years.

  94. Taking his words is easy. It’s the actions that are trickier and not so easy to determine what they mean. So I don’t think holding to this standard is quite as easy as you make it sound.

  95. But let’s say he never took his shirt off and never stripped, would that make it easier not to go there with sexual fantasies of him or be tempted to write them down? Make no mistake, I’m talking about Richard Armitage and not his characters. Anyway, I’m not so sure. His sexiest roles IMO are the ones where no stripping of anything or very little was done. I doubt fans think Paul Andrews is sexier than Guy of Gisborne or John Thornton

  96. I want to make it clear that I’m not against anyone having fantasies. That’s your business and even writing them down is your business. But once they’re published, I’m probably going to have a reaction, and I know others will as evidenced by the onslaught toward me, who had nothing to do with the fic! LOL!

  97. Why do they matter so much that we have to divine the secret meaning behind his actions? Really, he’s an actor, doing his thing. What is the impact on our lives if he chose to do Between the Sheets because of the dramatic potetial of the script or if he chose to do it for the sheer exposure…in both senses of the word.

    How does this affect us that we must ferret it out and invariably project our meaning onto it becuase we don’t know the real answer? If we have to project meaning onto something, why can’t it be the ficitonal characters who exist for that exact prupose?

  98. Interesting question considering that you’re here discussing this and have been offended at times about what others have done in respect to him.

    As to ferreting out the meaning, if it’s not clear, it’s not just about Richard Armitage. It’s about ourselves. Why do we think what we think? At least that’s what it is in part for me, and I admit that freely. My entire diary is a journey to why I was thinking what I was thinking and why. Plus, I was just sharing a candid reaction to Between the Sheets.

    I understand this is in part what’s going on with the blogger as well. Trying to understand something about herself and life. Part of me thinks Richard Armitage would be flattered he was able to generate this much introspection. Yeah, that’s a firm conclusion based on what he’s said and done. :D

  99. Why does someone’s comment keep appearing and disappearing?

  100. Not sure what you mean. all comments are here and haven’t changed that I can see. No one other than me has the ability to delete, and I haven’t deleted anything.

  101. I’m sorry, but that made no sense Frenz. I’m not discussing what he does, I’m discussing what people in this fanbase do and why some people are uncomfortable with it.

    I know that is the blogger’s stated reason for blogging and I am sure for these fantasies as well, but I wonder if she is really looking in the right place. After two years, from where she started and where she is now, the road she seem so detemrined to follow, where does that end up?

  102. I see, it was a half-load. I would see Seddene’s comment at the end and then it would get bumped up as the page loaded.

  103. Look, I don’t have anything to add beyond what I have said. Of course anyone can post anything they want within legal reason, but so can everyone else. If someone puts work of any kind in a public space, they are inherently asking for feedback and the public is not obligated to agree with everything they say and do, nor is the public obligated to keep their mouth shut if they do not agree. “If you don’t like it, just don’t read it…” Well, if they did not want to deal with feedback that maybe negative, they should not have posted it. Freedom of speech exists for everyone, not just people who agree with us. If someone puts up controversial material, they had better expect to deal with a controversy.

    Lord knows I have.

  104. With regards to the comment about it being a directors decision and not an actors one to take their clothes off, I come at it from the knowledge of actually being an actor. It may be written in the script, it may be wanted by the director but if an actor thinks it is gratuitous then they can question it. Actors are not just puppets – they have input and someone with the power that RA has can certainly question whether to take his clothes off or not in scene. If it furthers the character or story then it is right (Shame springs to mind)- if not then it was for beefcake purposes.

    You really think Guy needed to change his shirt?

    Whether you like it or not actors are commodities. Their talent is unfortunately only part of the package,the looks form a huge part of their success whether it be that they have great character faces or are gorgeous. That’s just the nature of the business. Ask any casting director.

    We need to calm down with the overprotectiveness, he’s a big boy and I’m sure most famous actors have the same thing happening – what’s going to happen after The Hobbit opens and the rest of the world gets involved? How is this little band going to cope then? The internet as a whole is a sordid place and it’s not going to get any better.

  105. A friend of mine just shared this quote on FB, I think it is relevant to this discussion of personal behavior:

    “I am a humanist which means, in part, I have tried to behave decently without any expectaiton of rewards or punishments after I am dead.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut

    It’s not about protecting him, it’s about being repsonsible for your behavior (rather than blaming an actor for it) and behaving decently.

  106. Once again, the blogger has a right to post what she wants and you have the right to questions her actions. I may feel uncomfortable about the piece because it’s in the first person but i defend her right to do it.

    Sexual fantasy is healthy as long as it is just that… a fantasy. As long as there is no confusion between that and reality. If the blogger actually believed that he was there in the room with her that would another thing but as long as it is a fantasy then allow her to enjoy it. This fanship thing should be enjoyed as a bit of fun.

    Now were we to hear that he had heard of this and was really upset then yes, we could throw brickbats but until then… perhaps we should lighten up. Believe me there’s a lot worse stuff out there in RPF land about RA including fic about him and other actors. This is tame in comparison.

    I think there’s a lot more to worry about in the world than this.

  107. When we last left off, Lisa said:

    “Okay, where were we? You asked me a question about what’s the difference in writing it down and if it would make a difference if there were no sex? Yes, to both questions. We all have all sorts of thoughts. Does that mean we should make the public privy to them? Let’s change the subject to violence. If someone wrote a real fic that was about their fantasy of torturing and killing Richard Armitage, would you think that was okay? And why? or why not? I ask that honestly.”

    Aha! That brings me back to a question I asked somewhere, whether the furor and high emotion is all about sex. I have lamented that here in the US, people seem less disturbed about depictions of violence than they are about anything to do with sex. Attitudes about it are very personal and IMHO, usually intrinsically linked to whatever the person’s value system is. There’s even an irrational component to it, like discussing politics and religion. “Why do I feel that way? I just DO.” It’s a visceral reaction, although we know environment, family, religion, life experiences, history, psycho-sexual components, etc, etc also contribute. Personally I have more of a European attitude (although some Europeans feel differently) that treats sex more matter of fact, as just another aspect of being human, and not something to get screamish about. So asking whether the public should be privy to a sexual fantasy implies to me sexual fantasies are something to be whispered about and hidden away. I disagree. There’s no shame in talking about them. If the fantasies are put behind passwords to protect others’ sensibilities, then justice has been done for both sides.

    As for a fantasy about torturing and killing RA, I wouldn’t approve of it. I dislike violent fics and I’d wonder at the disturbing nature of the piece, but I still would not censor it. The blogger could post it, but I certainly have the right not to read it.

    For those who insist “well, but that just shouldn’t be out there in the world”, I think that’s just an opinion, not a fact. I may think a fantasy like that is trash, but that’s me. I don’t expect everybody to share my values, nor do I think that they should, nor do I seek to impose my will on others. My values are not absolute. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

  108. But you all have already confused fantasy and reality by claiming Richard Armitage is as fictional as Guy of Gisborne. The beginning of the blogger’s “interpretive stance” is to deliberately make that confusion.

    Thing is to be around this sport of thng makes fandom not fun for some of us. That is why some people have migrated away from the blogs to the edges of the fandom. This kind of behavior made them uncomfortable, no matter how much relativism was thrown at them.

  109. Actually I would be much more horrified if she was writing violent fantasies, and I suspect that is the direction she is heading when she differentiated some fantasies as “vanilla” (a term for non-BDSM sex) and some as “dark”. If the blogger were writing things of a violent nature, and she has already written of dominating/controlling fantasies encounter and compared them to rape while claiming she did so “in revenge for Richard Armitage capitvating her”) I would, and have, reported her to RA’s agents. They are already aware of her blog.

  110. ..and before people get all gasp-y and shock-y, it should not be a surprise to some folks as now-supporter of said blogger was the one who pointed out that particular post to me (I get “can you believe…?” updates from the RA Bloggerdom frequently) as being disturbing and was in compete agreement with my actions at the time.

    Its one thing to have fantasies, we all have fantasies, but when someone starts by deliberately blurring the boundary between fantasy and reality and then start in on fantasies of controlling and dominating a character and blaming the actor, saying they want to revenge themselves on someone they have never met, who has done nothing to them can you see why some people get really creeped out? And now she is officially launching on that mode of behavior aimed directly at a real person, without the veil of a character anymore.

    Posting fantasies may be harmless, but I do not think they will be helpful. I think these are things the blogger needs to share with a professional therapist, not the world.

    Sure, she can post what she wants. And so can I.

  111. Our reality of Richard Armitage is fictional. We have no idea who he is as a person. We only have what he says in his interviews. If any of us has actually met him it is in his public persona. We have not hung out with him. We merely have an idea of who we want him to be. In reality would he be likely to fancy any of us? Um…No! – therefore the version which allows us our lustful thoughts is a fantasy.

    We don’t know him – we’re not his family to worry about him or his lover to have sex with him. He’s just an actor!

    BTW, you think this is disturbing, my OH just informed that there is famous person lookalike porn out there. Now that’s a violation.

  112. And let me clarify: When it’s just publishing sexual fantasies involving a real person, it’s about proper behavior. When it becomes expressing a desire to hurt someone, then it becomes a safety matter.

  113. I’ve got a few minutes until very late this evening. It’s my 11 year old’s, no make that 12 year old’s birthday today and I’m not going to spend it here – any longer than I have to.


    Remember what I said about talking of principles rather than the blogger? You’ve strayed far over the line. And why? Haven’t you learned by now that attacking the “man” and doing it aggressively and repetitively doesn’t work? It just makes you look like you need some therapy.

    And it’s clear that you’re not really making claims on principle, when you say this:

    “wisest to try to not make assumptions or presumptions, to take him at face value for what he says and does and nothing more. Anything beyond that we can’t know and invariably what we fill in the gaps with is ourselves.”

    but are so quick to assign meaning to what the blogger is doing and will do. It surely seems you reserve that principle for Richard Armitage alone.

    You don’t know what the blogger is going to do and frankly, as to the blogger writing something in revenge, I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about and I dare say no one else does either.

    Should have quit while you were ahead.

  114. You are right in that I should have bowed out a couple hours before it got to this point. And actually I am seeing a therapist, though not for the reasons many here probably assume. That is the difference between myself and…certain people. I realize I have issues and seek help for them, and it has been very helpful to me in coping with the increasing levels of harassment I have taken people in this fanbase for taking an unpopular position.

    It is very hard to discuss the fundamental split in reasoning that causes these debates without discussing this blogger, since they base everything they write about on the rationalization that for all intesive purposes Richard Armitage is fictional. If this were just a matter of her posting her sexual fantasies, then we could confine ourselves to the topic of “posting sexual fantasies,” but they are simply the next in a series of acts that have become increasingly uncomfortable for some in the fanbase.

    Just to prove I am not a liar:


    “So writing about a fantasy in which I tease John Porter sexually or humiliate him or hold him captive is in some ways also a revenge fantasy. You won’t let go of me? Well, then just see what I’ll do to you — at least in my mind. Not asking the subject of the blog to consent mirrors my own frequent feelings of non-consent about writing it. Though I think it’s clear from the dark tone of these stories that I also feel no little guilt about this relationship….

    The not thinking them is not working — so that when these images of a bound, tortured Porter push my buttons, my fantasies involve teasing and motions in the direction of rape because I frankly felt and feel out of control with regard to you. I want to leave John Porter tied up in my mind as payback for the fact that I will never have any of these things — so little in my fantasies as in my reality.”

    And I just took screenshots in case anyone starts feeling clever.

    Don’t forget the line she crossed here either:


    And of course she linked to the wiki term “vanilla sex” in the post that caused all this upraor.


    So as you see, I am not discussing what she might do. I am discussing what she has already said.

    But you are right in that I should have tried harder to keep her out of it. It was resentment, stored over quite some time (since I was the first person banned from her blog for taking this stance, it is rather hard for me to discuss it with the blogger directly), and it had not place in this discussion. I make no excuses. I take repsonsiblity for what I say, even when it is wrong, since this is me typing, not a fictional construct.

    So to get back to the topic, the fundamental issue is those that believe that Richard Arimtage is, for all intersive purposes, fictional and therefore does not derserve to be treated with the same respect we demand for ourselves and give to people we work with or see on the street, and those that do think he is a real person who deserves that repect.

    I mean, noone has even tried to answer the questions I opened with on this thread. They by-pass putting themselves in his shoes to go straight to the “he isn’t really real.”

    That does not work for a lot of people who can see the difference between the actor and the characters he plays. Richard Armitage pays income taxes, John Porter does not. It’s very fundamentally basic to us: Richard Armitage = real, Guy of Gisbourne = fictional.

    And so far, both sides are intractable and I can’t really see a way to reconcile them, and one side basically is holding dominion over the center of the fanbase and it is causing problems.

  115. Let also finally add a “Thank You” for allowing us the pace to discuss this issue more fully. Again, I am sorry I wandered off track into an old unresolved personal permution of this issue, and I appreciate the chance to weigh on what I see as probably the fundemental issue shaping the RA fanbase these days.

  116. Kip,

    I’ve let your comments come through so that you had a chance to back up your statements. I saw that piece on John Porter as being about the character and not about Richard Armitage. Until the blogger chooses to make that specifically about Richard Armitage, I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt. What anyone else may make of it is up to them.

    I have spoken to Judi and we are going to finish our discussion but can’t right now. Life’s demands keep us from doing so. As for my take on this issue as a whole, I’m going to wrap that up in a post. I hope to do that tonight and publish tomorrow. I’ll just say this for now. I always love to be learning, and I have definitely learned something from all of this.

  117. Multiple issues have emerged from this blog post, and the others. Not just one issue, so the water is very swirly.

    For the record, I would like to say that I did not interpret RAfrenzy’s original post as “telling anyone what to think”, or as condemnation of other blogger posts. Frenz was stating her opinion, and it ought to have simply opened a courteous discourse. It didn’t. Maybe we are living in grumpy economic times etc. and venting inappropriately. I don’t entirely agree with Frenz’s viewpoint, but it gets complex. Because I see her point. And nothing excuses the blogger abuse that has been received. Or commenters turning on themselves. This is not the point of discussion. And not a mark of respect for the actor.

    Now, can we thresh through the various issues, with respect for one another? And RAfrenzy, you say what you think and feel, as you have always done, with support from this quarter.

    @judiang, a European attitude to nudity and sex! What are you thinking, madame?? :D As one who shares a country with Francophones, I share the attitude. When it is part of the narrative. If it’s beefcake, we just shrug it off, or whatever….:D

  118. Fitz, you’re a sweetheart, but then I’ve said that before. Of course, it bears repeating. :D

    I don’t think much threshing is going to happen. Most people avoid things that are uncomfortable to talk about, and I respect that in spades. This place is supposed to be fun and not for something unpleasant.

    As for me, I will answer questions if I’m asked, but otherwise, I’m going to move on after I write my wrap-up post.

    Thanks again.

  119. All of us have things we regard as wrong in this world. If I see someone who is acting in a way that I feel could be harmful to herself or to others, I’m likely to speak up. In this case, I think the RP fanfic has the potential to do both. It’s not a matter of being a member of some mythical RA Biddy Squad; I’ve never objected to a piece of fanfic before, and that ncludes the fanfic that involved Guy of Gisborne torturing Marian and, in one memorable incident, branding her ass with her signet ring. I’ve seen RA RP fanfic that isn’t sexually explicit before, and just didn’t find it fun to read, but didn’t object. We all have points at which we feel a line is crossed, though, and for me, first person explicit;sexual fiction that drags another person in without his or her permission crosses that line. To be silent about it. even in the face of widespread condemnation. is to lack courage.

    I’m not the first to say this, but yes, free speech may include the right to say what one likes to on one’s own blog; though that free speech ought to include the willingness to say “You asked our opinions about writing this; my opinion is that it’s wrong, for these reasons.” If that results in a blogger cutting off comments while writing about forgiveness (of whom? And for what–exercising the free speech the blogger values, when opinions have been requested?)–then so be it. .

    There’s a great deal of commendable and understandable loyalty to a much-loved blogger; readers feel that she has given a great deal of herself, and it’s understandable and admirable that her admirers would rally around her. Having such friends is wonderful. But I think that some in this fandom who have objected to the blogger’s proposed fanfic feel a greater loyalty towards RA than to her and find this use of him uncomfortable or even immoral There also are clearly some who feel that it could reflect badly on the blogger–whether that’s in the eye of the larger fandom, on her immortal soul, I suppose, or on the fandom’s public face. If it’s accesptable to rally behind a much-loved blogger in order to protect her from “bullies”, I hope it is also acceptable for people who feel that explicit RP fanfic of any actor crosses a line to speak up as well.

  120. Hi Frenz,

    Can I beg your indulgence to print the text of Ian McKellen’s correpondence to his fans on the topic of real person slash?

    The link to his website is posted in my comments above while I was educating myself on the topic of RPF from your link (which is what I thought this post was about).

    EPost Q&A to Ian McKellen

    Q: My fellow yahoogroup members and I all respect you, the cast, crew, and movie itself. Most of us indulge in a hobby called ‘fanfic.’ A great deal of us write (or read) ‘slash,’ and a few members write ‘RPS’ ­ (Real Person Slash.) What are your thoughts on such things? Do you consider them slanderous to your good character and/or to the good character of any actor/movie/etc?

    A: I am not well acquainted with slash but find nothing harmful in sharing fantasies about favourite characters or their interpreters. Within the context of such sites EVEN REAL PERSON STORIES SEEM UNOBJECTIONABLE AS THEY ARE CLEARLY FICTIONAL.

    I am not bringing this text up to demean anyone’s feelings on the topic of RPF/RPS (and sexually explicit RPF at that) or to tell anyone how they should feel, as I believe our feelings are vital to helping us process and understand our place in a rapidly changing world.

    But – I do think it is important to recognize that whether or not RPF/RPS is new to us or not (it was to me), or whether it is a topic we agree with or not, that there is also a world-at-large that has an opinion on this topic, that this is not a new topic to others, and that other actors have already weighed in on the subject. Ian McKellen has himself been presented with sexually explicit RPF from exuberant fans, and yet his public stance is still one of support for RPF/RPS as he understands it to be a work of fiction, bearing no reflection on or resemblance to him. Elijah Wood and Karl Urban are two other LOTR actors who have said they don’t object to having RPF written about them. Obviously, many in the fandom would disagree with this stance (then again, many of us also aren’t actors, I dare say) – but I think we should also respect that these are THEIR (LOTR actors’) statements on the topic.

    One imagines a much greater sense of betrayal would occur if someone actually DID know these actors, and then published non-fictional material based on their interactions without the actor’s prior consent – that THAT would be of far greater concern and distress to these actors – and yet this is a condoned and standard template for many best-selling unauthorized celebrity biographies today.

    Again, I am not disputing anyone’s right to voice their opinion and feelings on RPF, but can it really not be done without bringing up the blogger again? Or without pitting the blogger’s actions in direct conflict with the perceived ‘human rights’ of RA? And is anyone in this fandom really qualified to make comments on anyone else’s immortal soul?

  121. UK Expat,

    I’m glad you felt you could post a comment. As for my remarks, I’ll make those in my post.

  122. @RAFrenzy, I’m Canadian,eh :D
    @Redlyn, based on your comments, I think you are a very sensible lady.

    We have to deal with these issues. The line is crossed when anyone attempts to dissect the blogger mentality or to do the same with commenters. There are, indeed, grey areas, and we will all have our boundaries regarding what we find acceptable. The point is not to dissect the personality of of the blogger, but to focus on our disparate opinions. It’s a good discussion, but unless a commenter is a certified psychiatrist, better to keep away from analysing peoples’ mentalities?

  123. Forgot to add “eh”. :D


    This is exactly what I have been trying to say. Even if it is real, it is still a fantasy. I’m a catholic girl, a lover of real and fan fic and still convinced my soul is intact.

    I also volunteer to go to NZ and over a nice dinner and a bottle of wine, ask RA for his feelings on the matter. I have no problem taking one for the team. lol.

  125. I keep seeing the opinions of two LOTR actors on real person fan fiction being fine with them presented as though they represented all actors. I think it’s a big, big stretch to assume that.

    It’s possible for any of us to cherry-pick quotations and facts and muster lists of sites that weigh in on rpff to bolster a point we’re attached to. There are sites that accept it and a lot of people who think it’s great: that’s a fact. it’s probably legal, though I suppose that varies from country to country. On the other hand, if you start googling “real person fan fic” you are likely to find that it’s banned on a lot of fanfic sites and angers a lot of fans. If it’s well accepted by fans and actors generally and lots of fans in general long to read it and there aren’t good reasons to ban it, why is it banned so frequently? That would be strange if it was widely accepted.

    I think it’s banned on many sites because many people object to it for one reason or another, even if a piece is so mild that it rises only to the dizzying heights of handholdinghere are certainly threads arguing about it, and there lots of sites that have brief explanations as to why it’s banned on that site, or why many fanfic fans dislike it. The word “icky” seems to pop up a lot.

    No one now or in the future is going to persuade absolutely everybody in every forum that it’s great or that it’s disgusting. I’m not interested in that impossible quest.

    Perhaps these clashes arise frequently and are so painful because of a dynamic that repeats itself in various fandoms that begins like this: a fan who loves fanfiction about an actor’s characters looks around and says “Hey, why isn’t there fanfiction about HIM?”. So the fan writes such a piece, feeling that he’s breaking new ground, that there will be many other fans who will enjoy it, and that his story will get a lot of positive attention. The story might be about the Jonas brothers going off on an innocent romp involving making a fuss over Mary Sue and inviting her and all her friends to a concert, or the Jonas brothers might engage in a massive in incestuous romp, or Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry may spend some time together, slashily, whatever. The fan sits back and waits for the praise to roll in, because in the world of fanfic, normally a writer can expect that praise is going to be all he hears.

    Then longer- term fanfiction folk who have seen a lot of it from a lot of different communities–not just Jonas brothers fans, say–look at it and hit the roof. “How dare you! You have gone against a major fanfic tabu! You’re banned! You’re icky! You know perfectly well that this is disrespectful! You know how fanfiction fans feel about real person fanfic!”

    Except he didn’t, probably. Not only does he get slapped across the chops repeatedly by angry readers, not only is his story thrown off the board, but he learns the mortifying fact that real person fanfic isn’t a new, welcome, and original idea. The whole episode can become a drawn out bloodbath as people pile on in defense or in offence of the writer.

    He can’t have had psychic knowledge of the hostility rpff can give rise to. Maybe he’d have posted his work anyhow. If he worked with an experienced beta worker who knew the fandom or fanfiction communities in general, maybe she would have said “Let me tell you what you’re letting yourself in for.” Ideally, to protect their own feelings and their creative integrity, perhaps people who write rpff should seek out in advance sites will welcome such work. But if they don’t know in advance that they’re in for a hammering, how could they?

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  127. Hi AAA,

    It was never stated that the 3 LOTR actors represented ALL ACTORS, or even RA’s personal viewpoint. I simply clicked on a link that was included in Frenz’s post because I’d never heard of RPF before. It isn’t a topic (RPF) I feel any passion towards, but it was clear that others did feel very strongly about it and were using their own lives as a proxy (e.g., ‘I would never want this done to ME’).

    I never argued that RPF was widely accepted either – remember before 2 days ago, I’d never even HEARD of RPF and was simply surprised to find that fans had broached Ian McKellen on the exact same topic almost 10 years ago, with very similar fan concerns, which I’d loosely paraphrase to say, ‘Hey, we really respect you. A lot. We also take part in this hobby which uses your real name. But we wouldn’t want to offend you, so do you find the use of your name in this type of fictional writing slanderous to you or any actor’s reputation?’

    It also seemed the comment thread was getting a little myopic, as though it were a universal truth that RPF was somehow an acknowledged moral and ethical violation (I’d argue there are plenty of other moral dilemmas much higher on the priority scale than RPF).

    I was simply including Ian McKellen’s website as another viewpoint on the topic as he has chosen to interact with fans and there is no doubt to his thoughts.

    I think it’s best to simply present facts and let each person decide. I saw passionate pleas against, but not many arguments in defense of RPF. If the discussion is to work, we need arguments on both sides of the issue.

  128. Apologies, UK Expat, I didn’t mean to criticize your post I’ve seen the two actors mentioned a number of times and started to think “Here the boys are again!” every time they hove into view, after a bit. I wonder if there are places where even more actors’ thoughts about it have appeared? I have a feeling that someone familiar with the Star Trek or Star Wars fanfic communities, say, would be able to say “X doesn’t care if people write it, Y gets infuriated by it.” In big fandoms that have carried on for decades, the issue has got to have come up any number of times. As I understand it there are prohibitions against it at fanfiction.net, and some writers hived off to separate sites for rpff in different fandoms.

    Some similar things have happened in the RA fandom, because some sites don’t allow graphic fanfic; there used to be aYahoo site called “The Armitage Army after Dark,” I think, and the AA itself almost got closed down at one point when a number of people let the host know about graphic fic there, since the host prohibits it. The mods apparently had a crazed weekend trying to scrub every bit of adult fic off the board. It all marched off to a new site hosted by a different board.

  129. I take your point about the fansites throwing off explicit stuff but that is because the host states that it a PG13 board and the posters have to obey the rules. This however is not the case when it is posted on a blog.

    The reason blogs are attractive to those who write them is the freedom of defining your own rules. You can post your grandmother’s old recipes, photos of your puppies or the most vile and offensive racist comments. It’s the internet version of Speakers Corner (for those non-British folk, Speaker’s Corner is a part of Hyde Park in London where anyone can get up and state their views on any subject no matter daft or awful). It’s up to the readership to decide whether they want to keep reading it. If it’s boring or offensive don’t read it. You don’t have to read every thing written about the man, for goodness sake!

    However as she has complete control over her own blog, she has every right to post her story. Once you start policing people’s thoughts we are heavily in George Orwell territory.

  130. In the interest of not drawing more attention to this post, I’m thinking about putting my wrap-up remarks in the original piece. Yes, it will make for one mother of a post, but then it will be symmetrical with the comment section. Maybe. :D

  131. I have put my closing comment in the post. Hopefully, those who haven’t moved on, can now do so. All the best to all of you.

  132. @Redlyn – Thanks for mentioning Speakers Corner! I’m going to make a point of checking it out once I get back to London. Apparently, there are ‘regular’ hecklers there … although, most of the footage I’ve seen of the House of Commons makes British lawmaking appear as one long heckling festival, with a few minutes of legislation squeezed in (kind of the way US Hockey games appear to me to be one long sanctioned brawl, with a few minutes of puck-focus in between) :)

    @AAA – apology accepted, thanks! :) I know there was a huge amount to read through in this particular post. I’d made the point earlier in the thread and simply felt the need to repeat it again since I felt it had been lost. By the way, I do appreciate your comments based on your longer tenure in the RA fandom (I have even secretly envied the time and care you have to put into your comments as I am normally beseiged by teams in several countries at all hours while working in London). I’m definitely on the newer and much ‘lamer’ and less RA-centric side of the fandom. I just like reading intelligent and creative material and this community seems to have it in spades ;)

  133. I can’t say I see anything ‘lame’ about any new or less RA-centric part of the fandom, honestly. I’m not even in the first generation who tuned in to North and South at the first showing, but I remember feeling a bit unsettled and grumpy when the wave after my own swept in, since their interest in the RA-world wasn’t 100%, exactly, completely the same as my own. How dare they differ! I got over that and have come to feel like every influx of young Turks is a good thing; it means his career is reaching new people who, seriously, bring a lot of excitement and energy to the old fans who would otherwise lose enthusiasm, I fear. New people are a gift to the fandom.

    Do explore message boards like c19 if they interest you– they don’t appeal to everyone, but there are an immense number of threads to explore about RA, books, movies, TV, and on and on. It’s relatively easy to make friends, too.

    Thanks for your kind words–frenz has a plan I think is right for me, too: moving on.

  134. Gave up reading the comments. Too many!

    I suppose the Modern Talking-fanfic I wrote back in the day can be considered to be RPF. On the other hand, none of it is sexual. It’s either cutsey fangirly (one’s about a fangirl getting to meet her heroes backstage, but there’s very little of the actual duo in it, and the other is about someone visiting Germany and gets lost and asks a guy walking the dog for directions – she has no idea he’s someone famous. It’s all very, very sweet and polite) or completely bats**t insane turning real people into caricatures of themselves, but it’s very clear from the outset that it’s only played for laughs and not meant to be taken seriously. It’s a lot like the cartoon “Dieter – Der Film”, which is why I had to get it when it came out on DVD, despite not really knowing the language. Anyway, one fan started writing stories like that, I joined in … and then a few others joined in too. Ahh, fun times. So if I said I’m dead against RPF, I’d be a hypocrite.

    If I ever wrote RA-related fanfic, I think it would be “strangers on a train” and be really rather polite. Someone who ends up next to RA on a train, and either she realises that it’s him, or she hasn’t the foggiest. Don’t know which I prefer. It would be the fantasy of accidentally meeting RA, and focus more on the woman rather than RA himself. But yeah, very positive and respectful and gleefully fangirly.

    So I guess I’m in the “if you do it nicely and respectfully, I’m cool with it” camp. To write about having sex with the RP otoh … feels a little too intense, personal, invasive, weird and words to that ilk, and it bothers me as I think it’s going too far. I wouldn’t write it, I wouldn’t read it, and I wouldn’t promote it. If it’s a fanfic about a character RA has played having sex, even if you describe LN’s rippling muscles – which technically belong to RA – the focus is on LN as a fictional person, not RA as a RP. Which I’m kinda okay with, depending on how it’s done. But RA himself? Bit too close for comfort. I mean, I find BtS embarassing to watch because we see way more of him than is needed. Then again, I wonder why fanfic often feels the need to include sex anyway. I’m quite happy to have the bedroom door to JT and Maggie close behind them and leave them to it without needing to read every detail of their intercourse.

    So yeah. My 5p, fwiw.

  135. I’m late to this very interesting conversation but will, nevertheless, state that I stand firmly beside Frenz in her opinion. I feel badly that this happened with her friend. Frenz has shown herself to be such a good friend to her. If it were my friend, I would be appalled and would ask, “Where is your self-respect?!” Because this, to me, is a question of lack of boundaries and lack of self-respect. And when you lack self-respect, you are likely not to respect others.

    As for using a real person in a public forum, IMO, that is totally not kosher. Why? Because Richard Armitage owns his person; to use an analogy, Richard Armitage the person is automatically copyrighted the moment he became viable as a human being in his mother’s womb. If images on the net are automatically copyrighted, what does that say about the rights of a human being? To blur the distinction between actor and person is to go beyond objectification of a human being to blow up doll.

    My friend, where is your self-respect? It is, I think , the essence of what is wrong with this picture.

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