Wow, Richard

Dear Richard,

Your recent comments on the Cybersmile site are some of the most revealing, maybe the most revealing remarks you have ever shared with the public. I’m not entirely sure of that, but it seems that way to someone who has spent a scary amount of time reading what you have to say. Yes, I’m admitting that this fan odyssey is weird. I’ve long thought that and have used humor to laugh about it — at myself mostly, and started off with a diary to explore how very weird I thought it was and what drove me to it.

I haven’t finished those thoughts because along the way, I had life come up and trample me with some harsh realities — witnessing terrific suffering, repeated deaths, and misery in others that just didn’t seem to end. So then this place became comic relief for me. But I hope nothing I’ve ever said was offensive. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

But as to your revelations about yourself, it is humbling to receive sharing like that. I do not take that lightly. I have never taken it lightly when someone has shared their hearts — whether they were famous or not. I consider it something to be treated as precious, because people and the essence of who they are is precious.

And I will seriously ponder the idea of using my own picture and my own name. I’m still on the fence about that, and mostly because I don’t believe I’ve used anonymity to be hurtful. May I never do that! Anyway, I’ll think about it.

Just want you to know I respect you for what you are doing, and I adore your honesty. Always have.

Take care,
A fan

P.S. You are never going to win with some people. I realize you know that, but I still wanted to say I realize it too.


  1. After reading that piece, doesn’t it feel like RA just popped the top off his skull & let us have a gander inside? Seems like it to me. He makes some really good points (I don’t agree with every single one-I’m too old & cranky to bow to that “everything is valid” position), but ultimately I think it comes down to basic good manners & how to comport oneself in public. No, we don’t have to write everything as though our mothers would see it, but we also don’t have to react like berserkers to everything we see & read. Sometimes we’ll get it wrong. Apologise where necessary & try & do better tomorrow. (this is where I am on the spectrum btw) As for your challenges, Frenz, I wish you & yours love, light & Good Fortune. Sending positive vibes your way.

  2. MaryJane, Thanks, for the good vibes. I’ll take ’em. :D And agree that it’s really about good manners.

  3. I liked his analogy about the street and many people on it …. makes you think. And i’m totally with him about art being a refuge, a place of experimenting safely and bravely at the same time, i know the freedom to imagine it gave me when i was a kid and how different i felt in that world from the every day world. Very good read. I guess it took some guts for him to step out and share this but it is clear he cares. Appreciate he does all this openly as himself and expresses and reacts as himself.
    While i am personally not ready to show photos and names (mostly i suspect as many other people for not wanting to mix work with private) i do keep to the ground rule of always saying exactly what i would say in person, face to face and saying things also in the same way/tone. But always questioning the reasons why one feels a certain way about things, now that is a challenge, but a good one.
    Absolutely and 100% behind the debate society idea :-)

  4. and meant to say hope life in general will calm down a bit and will give you a break, if this is a stress reliever/distraction hope it helps even if a tiny bit

  5. Frenz, I think Richard is right on every count. No bullying, everyone is entitled to an opinion and so on. AND don’t be anonymous. Be proud of your own persona and take it forward.
    My husband was head of a media organisation whenI began writing, but at no time did I think I would publish under a pseudonym. I did start my blog off under the title ‘Mesmered’, but soon changed it to be me. My thoughts and feelings through the years have never impacted on my husband’s life and he is fine with me maintaining my own identity.
    Back to Richard though – he’s always been aware of the power he has as a TV and movie identity. Perhaps and thankfully, he sees a social responsibility vested in that power and I believe that comments and ‘suggestions’ made by him lately are part of the acting out of that responsibility. We can only thank him for it, can’t we? And hope that those of his fans who might tread the negative track online and in life, will heed the words of a very kind and wise man.
    Whatever you call yourself, Frenz, your blog over the years has been super! Keep it coming when you can…

  6. […] Armitage is waiting for feedback. Whether it’s me, Perry, JHolland, or Frenz, who’ve already commented, you as commenter, or someone else you know and read, some Twitter, […]

  7. I thought this was really a wonderful piece from Richard, almost like having a talk with him… it’s pretty amazing how much he appears to notice about the way we respond to him. His idealism and caring heart are so charming….

    I’m guess I’m most surprised that people seem to have such strong opinions about using pseudonyms… to me, Twitter is so clearly “not Facebook” that it seems like a no-brainer to use one, and my hubs would have a total coronary if I put my name and face out there!

    It’s just a security and privacy issue to me- because I use Twitter recreationally, not professionally. If you are verified or use it in a work context, that’s different. It’s about your personal reputation, your brand. Otherwise, Twitter is about ideas and common interests, and you don’t have to know all about a person to connect in that way. There are people who know my personal details now, but I’ve found it wise to have time to size them up :) And I’ve found some of the dearest friends that… maybe I’ve EVER had. Go figure! :)

    And I don’t feel that I’m faking anything, just disclosing what’s necessary for the reasons I’m there, as I get to know people better. There are certainly people who make it work it both ways, and I’m sure it’s fine as long as we all handle ourselves in a kind, genuine and responsible way.

  8. SH, well said.

  9. Thank you, Prue. I certainly agree with the spirit of what Richard is saying, i.e., think before you speak. I very definitely have mixed emotions about being an anonymous blogger.

  10. Hariclea, thanks again for your comments. The debate society would be great.

  11. It’s early morning here and I have just read RA’s article and your post Frenz. I shouldn’t really comment now but re-read the article again. RA makes it clear why bullying is a subject close to his heart and I also think everybody should try not to hurt others while being as open as possible.
    There’s one piece of advice though that I disagree with: I think that if young people venture into social media they definitely should NOT use their own photos and names. Learning how to protect your personal data is of utmost importance. Google finds and saves open tweets and facebook entries. Just imagine a victim of cyberbullying deleting his/her social media presence in a desperate attempt to escape the hatred. Google will make sure lots of it can be traced down to the victim after years.
    In my case I have chosen to use a fake name. From time to time I post a selfie but never for long. I google both my social media names and my real name from time to time to see what information appears.
    My nephew is not allowed to use photos of himself and/or his real name and so far he only uses Whatsapp.
    As the article was published on a website that deals with cyberbullying I would like to say this: Cyberbullies will anways hide beyond their anonymity. I don’t think the idea that potential victims should give up their own anonymity is a good idea.

  12. Well said! And totally agree with you about young people! I’m writing a follow up post on this issue because I think it bears discussing some more.

  13. I was thinking about your nephew, Suse, and totally understand it. My daughter is not allowed to use her real name except in certain places, and I’m rethinking those. Additionally, she will be starting an online business this summer or in the fall, and so we need to come up with a name and I or her father will probably be the contact points since we do not want her interacting directly with strangers. It’s a tricky thing and sometimes scares the dog out of me. I also get concerned about my two daughters in NYC. One plays gigs and one does standup. They advertise that on their FB pages, and I keep telling them they cannot just come and go as they please when they do that. Thankfully, they both have boyfriends who are big guys and who go to almost all of their performances. One guy is 6’2″ and the other is 6’5″. That eases my mind a little.

  14. I check in with blogs about Richard every few days. I enjoy and mostly agree with what I read on this one. Others, not so much. The Cybersmile piece from Richard is so very open, and I appreciate his willingness to speak out about bullying. This is a topic I care about deeply because I’ve witnessed so much of it. It existed in my neighborhood when I was a child, ran unchecked in my middle school, and now permeates my work place. Even worse, today’s political climate in the U.S. is a bloody minefield of bullying.

    I have written comments on blogs that I then deleted because they were too sarcastic. So what if I think a blogger is exposing herself as a train wreck? I should keep that judgmental idea to myself. However, I do want to voice my thoughts on something that dumbfounds me. To be clear, this is not a source of anger or even annoyance, merely confusion. Why is there the constant nitpicking about RA’s definition of bullying and whether or not he is trying to police his fans? And then there’s the obsession with the way he writes. I wield a sharp pencil when I edit scientific papers, but I give Richard a pass when he writes. Why? I may be a whiz in a lab, and I can write a paper for peer review, but he can act. I give the same pass to dancers and musicians who also engage the public with their musings. Perhaps they were doodling or daydreaming during those punctuation lessons in grammar school? I give them license to write run-on sentences. Their minds explode with images and lists and solutions to problems. The respect I feel for artists has developed over many years and through many friendships. Mistakes of punctuation don’t prevent me from understanding their messages. (Signs with misplaced apostrophes do drive me nuts though!) That’s my personal opinion. I expect many people to disagree, to insist that artists write pristine prose if they expect to be taken seriously. It doesn’t bother me.

  15. I’m honestly not sure why there seems to be some angst about his writing and his policing.

    To me, he can say what he wants and I have the freedom to like it and/or heed it, or not, and yeah, write about it.

    Oh, and I agree with you about his writing, because he’s not a professional writer and I give that pass to a lot of people who are dabbling in something that is not necessarily their first field. Other than that, the whole grammar brouhaha is hilarious to me. To wit:

  16. *Heidi steps out of the shadows to comment, because this is such a great topic* ….

    Regarding the anonymous issue …. I think it really comes down to motive in being “anonymous.” For example, I know Frenz personally and her motives for being anonymous, and I think they are really GOOD motives … i.e., the decision on her part to be anonymous isn’t driven by a desire to “hide behind” abusive or scathing comments, etc.

    Then there are people who are anonymous for no good reason at all. Case in point, and this isn’t on topic of Richard but it will illustrate …. This morning I sent out a tweet about going to church and why it’s important to me, to no one in particular. Just off the top of my head, because the thought came to me, and I felt like I wanted to share it.
    After I returned from church, I’m preparing Sunday dinner and check my computer sreen, to see a reply. It was from a non-believer and was extremely insulting (putting it politely), with nothing but an intention of holding me up for ridicule for my belief.

    The person was anonymous. Out of curiosity, I clicked over to the person’s Twitter profile, and guess what! It was BLANK, and there was a “Twitter note” reading, “This user has BLOCKED you from seeing their feed.”

    Oh, now how courageous. Troll someone’s Twitter profile page, zing out an insult under a pseudonym, and then BLOCK them from seeing your page.

    I had to laugh at it, right??? :-D I mean, how ridiculous.

    My point in bringing that up isn’t for anyone to say, “Oh poor you, sorry that happened, blah blah blah …” It is only to make the point that there is “anonymity”, and then there is “ANONYMITY.” This lovely person on Twitter is a perfect example of the latter.

    I really enjoyed RA’s take on the cyber bullying topic in general, and I’m glad he has linked arms with CyberSmile, which has tremendous resources for those of us who are parents (and if you have a kid like mine, your kid is constantly interacting with strangers via gaming platforms). It is very heart-warming and makes me feel like I have a big brother looking out for us.

    I just hope that people will take his words as they are intended and not get all bunched up into hissy fits over this “anonymous” comment that he made. The spirit of it clearly is aimed at people using anonymity for ill gain/reasons, and those of you who need to be anonymous for valid reasons, I see no harm in it.

    Thanks for taking time to read my rambling thoughts.

  17. […] read some really interesting ones. For example, Nowhere in ParticularRA, GuyltyPleasure, RAFrenzy. Here is my humble contribution to the […]

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