A Different Kind of Rippling — RA on Politics Part IV

It’s hard to talk about politics and always has been. “Don’t talk publicly about politics, religion, sex or money.” I do not know how many times I have heard this saying or some variation of it. However you or I take that phrase, it is hard for many to talk about these subjects because we all have an emotional connection to them. But politics is the most difficult to discuss. With religion, sex or money someone can always preface her remarks as only pertaining to herself, but politics by its nature is about us collectively. This makes it impossible to limit any comments we make about it, so when we do speak of it, we’re destined to traverse a gooey mass of opinions.

As for myself, I have never had an issue speaking of religion, sex or money. I was brought up with very few boundaries in regard to discussing those subjects or almost any other subject, gooey mass of opinions or no. If anything, I had to learn some decorum. Politics was another matter. I was hesitant and still am, I can’t get around the fact that anytime politics is brought up, someone is going to be pissed off. Thankfully, I learned this early because I grew up observing a political operative, a master of maneuvers, if you will, who understood people and politics to a degree that still astounds me and others who knew him. I look back now and shake my head and chuckle at some of the things I observed my father doing and how he could get people to do things and in particular give time and money to causes. When it came to speaking politically, he was very circumspect and never lost his cool. I wish I could say the same, but I can’t. He saw politics or any communications about it as a minefield instead of a boggy mess, but he loved a challenge, so he thrived on navigating the potential bombs.

But most of us don’t thrive on the thrill of beating the explosions. We just want to say something and sometimes passionately and hope it will have a good effect, or maybe we’re ranting and not paying attention to how others may be receiving it. We’re just that damn mad. Unfortunately, you can’t throw a rock in a pond and expect no ripples (see how I scaled back that metaphor to something less militaristic? :D). No, seriously, when we speak and especially if we speak passionately, we are going to get a reaction, and if we don’t, I think most of us would be depressed at the thought no one is listening.

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Richard Armitage, who recently started making passionate political posts on Twitter, has been speaking to be heard. There is nothing wrong with his doing this. He should be able to do it if he has one million followers or two. But I don’t think he counted on how the blow ups from his tweets would affect him. He certainly expected his remarks to have fallout. He’s not a fool. This is not the first time he’s spoken politically and others had something negative to say about it, so he knew some people wouldn’t like it. But his reaction to the negative response is what I’m referencing. His passion got away from him and he made a crack of a come back, which the kinder, gentler Richard more than likely knew as soon as he’d done it (or very near) that it would rain down holy hell on the fan who had spoken. I believe for that reason he removed his tweet. He thought better of it and didn’t want to create trouble for the person. Yes, I want to believe Richard is this nice. Sue me.

As well, he probably didn’t want to give a platform to the person. But unfortunately, he can’t put a foot an inch in any direction publicly that the fans are not on it. I mean, man, are they on it. LOL!

So Richard, you can’t tweet and take it back. Dude, haven’t you learned by now that the minute (probably the second actually) you say something on Twitter…Wait a minute. Wait. Wait. Wait. a minute. Oh man, I just realized this tweeting and taking it back quickly was not a mistake. Well, a good chance that it wasn’t. Wait, was this planned? If not, then you stepped into something brilliant.

But I’ve got to recap to make this plain (for myself if no one else :D).

You were passionate about your beliefs, and in the heat of passion about them, you spoke very candidly and pointedly to someone who thought you had an unfair advantage in swaying others when you speak (and she is pretty much right about that, but hey, that should not stop you or anyone from speaking), and now you have lots of fans defending you as if you’re helpless. And I did it too! Oh damn. I did it too! APM made a stealth attack on me! LOL!

The APM aside, I understand, the fans are loving your tweets because of how real they are. No spin. Merely you being a person. a real person, being so passionate and getting all hot and bothered and then pissed off at something someone said to you. And it makes it even better in their minds that you were justified. You exhibiting righteous indignation — the real thing and not for some role?! I suspect this was a massive turn on for some who witnessed it. :D o_O

For those who didn’t like it, well, they’re talking about you too!

And there are a lot of others keeping mum, but they’re reading about this. Oh yeah, they’re reading about it!

A seemingly superb turn of events with respect to PR. *high five*

Signed,
A crazy, formerly APM infected fan who’s over it now – at least for this round, but a fan who still loves you. Yep, a fan who is always going to have a soft spot in her heart for you, Richard no matter if you talk about politics and create a brouhaha or not. Of course if you become a serial killer or worse, I will have to re-evaluate.

Okay, back to sanity. Some of you have asked for my take, and in fact, it was those messages to me privately that put this whole thing on my radar. Well, here’s my take. Richard Armitage has the right to speak his mind about politics. I have never thought differently. But I’m ashamed I became part of the clamoring masses trying to defend Richard Armitage’s right to speak. He has more of a voice than most of us, so this idea he can’t speak is laughable. But I do want to make it clear that I understand he is passionate about what is happening in his country and completely understand his compulsion to speak about it. I understand that all too well as I feel the same about what is happening in my country. We have some very serious issues going on in the U.S., and the frustration at the corruption that is happening is overwhelming. Our leaders and our institutions are failing us, but I don’t think that any of you want to hear me talk about all of that on this blog. And you need to ask yourself why you don’t want to hear it? I think most of it is because you come here to either be entertained or talk about entertainment and not to hear me wax on about my political views.

And now to discuss the fan and her response which set off the reaction. She absolutely has the right to have an expectation (of anyone) and to give a response when someone speaks in a public area. We all have that right. And our expectations do not have to be realistic. The only real boundary to expectations is when they translate into harm or illegal activity. Last time I checked, criticism is not illegal. As to the comment, I’ve thought about it quite a bit. Not because it’s important in the grand scheme of things, but because of my initial reaction, and what that says about me. I initially saw the remark as an insult and unfair, and it was because I like Richard Armitage. That simple. But I looked at it again some hours later, and it is not necessarily an insult and it’s definitely not an unfair conclusion.

I do wish actors would stay out of politics. They have an unfair advantage of swaying opinions due to fandom. Sad.

Of course it depends on how you read this whether it’s an insult or not. I think many of us took Richard’s cue that it was. As to the conclusion this person made, it’s generally true that (well known) actors do have more of a voice on an array of subjects including politics when they may be no more informed than any of the rest of us.

13 Comments

  1. I saw both tweets mentioned and the response to it by RA Is not my issue here. What I find most interesting is the assumption that because one is a member of a fandom, that that is linked in any significant way to how someone engages with a political process; that because I/we admire an someone we are unable to hold two different concepts as separate but important. That because someone we feel connection with (in a non stalker way) holds a view on an issue we will necessarily agree with it and /or act on it. It seems to underestimate the discernment of a large group of different people brought together by one (and we may discover more) thing. And that “thing” is a person who is as entitled to respectfully share his opinion as any of us.

    Thank you, RAnt over

  2. Great, thoughtful post! I like what you said about your father.

  3. Back when Amanda Abbington, @chimpinsocks, had some trouble with a negative (to say the least) series of encounters with a Tweeter I said it and now I repeat it for Richard:
    People, fans and anti-fans, THRIVE on any attention they receive from a celebrity. The negative ones seem to, pardon my insinuation, get off on the attention. My advice:
    Stop REACTING to them. If, after considerable thought and calm retrospection, you really feel that their comment deserves your response then go for it. But for the most part you will realize they are just begging for your attention, and when you give that you set a fire. Not only does your attention (negative or positive) spur them to continue, it inspires others to try their luck by joining sides.
    How good, how validating does it feel to have even a moment of attention from those we admire, and especially those others admire! How we wallow in it and soak up the spotlight! Twitter was basically designed for this. An opportunity to connect with our beloved celebrities so that WE CAN FEEL VALIDATED! Important.
    Be smart celebrities. Do not directly interact with your fans, and especially your anti-fans, unless you are prepared to face the worst of all possible responses. You may not get the worst response but you should be prepared for that. My experience, as a longtime fan girl, is that it almost always goes there.

  4. @Jo, if some people were not affected by the words of the well known whom they like and/or respect, endorsements would not exist nor be published by the media. Key word there is “some.”

  5. @Christa,

    Based on one tweet, it’s hard to say the person was motivated by that. He/she could have been, but I certainly don’t know that. What I think is setting a bad precedent is to assign those kinds of motives to anyone who disagrees with Richard Armitage.

  6. Very interesting read. I agree with what you said, but do you *really* buy that RA is tweeting and deleting purposefully to communicate with his ‘special’, xtra-xtra-special fans?

  7. Thanks, Linnet. I’ve actually been writing a book about him, my mother and their best friend. It’s mostly for my kids, but I may end up publishing. We’ll see. ;p

  8. Cill, I honestly don’t know what he’s doing, but it’s not inconceivable that publishing and then deleting is a method some well known may use.

  9. This is the first I’ve heard of celebrities deliberately tweeting and deleting as a method of communication. Are there any others who do it? (When people I know irl tweet and delete, it’s because they’ve made a typo, the image didn’t show up, they regret what they’ve tweeted, etc. But of course they’re not celebs and I’m not an triple-xtra-special fan).
    (I am not sure if you can detect my sarcasm and scepticism, so let me lay it out: the claim has been made that RA does this to communicate with his ‘closest’ fans or followers, thus giving those who see the tweets the kind f validation that comes from acknowledgement without actually having to be acknowledged. It’s a one-upmanship of other fans that’s entirely imo illusory).

  10. Sounds interesting. Good luck with the project!

  11. @RAFrenzy
    True, but my comment goes to the celebrities, rather than the fans. If celebrities (or anyone, really) assume that any communication COULD get out of hand, then they will more likely RESPOND, rather than REACT. The difference is in knowing when to ignore criticism and the emotions that it ignites and only responding when a real discussion or an important point can be made vs. reacting emotionally and getting embroiled in a Twitter fight.
    When I first joined Twitter I watched Amanda get sucked in time and again by a fan of Martin (Freeman) who was seriously delusional and narcissistic. Had she simply ignored it, she would have saved herself a ton of drama, headache and frustration.
    I sometimes wonder if celebrities dive into the drama intentionally (free publicity!) Though I do not accuse anyone in particular of that.

  12. I enjoy hearing Richard tweet about anything, as I’ve probably said before. And truthfully, most celebs tweet personal views more than he does and it seems to do them little lasting damage. I think the issue with his political tweets may have more to do with how comfortable fans feel engaging with them. Both re: basis of knowledge & comfort level. I’m very aware that my understanding of British politics isn’t the greatest, but I don’t mind finding out or asking questions. Most of us will probably be more comfortable going back to what ultimately unites us most – news about his work :)
    I think Richard does enjoy gently “gaming” us with some of his tweets, but probably not the deletes, especially the one in question. While I’m not sure it qualified as an insult, strictly speaking, it was an attempt to muzzle him, which to me is just as bad (I feel the same about attempts to muzzle fans too). I think it angered him, he vented & then thought better of the impulse. Motivation for his other deletes can be harder to understand, but we won’t go there :) (Or at least I won’t lol….)

  13. […] about “some fans.” A lot of people disagree with his political tweets — and just as it’s his right to speak politically, it is the right of others to respond to them. The appearance of tweets assuring him that he has the right to speak and he should just ignore […]


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