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.

Richard, You Can Win This Way

Richard,

I really do think you are nice and hope you keep being your sweet self. I don’t say that because you happen to have beautiful blue eyes. I say that because I’ve observed your public demeanor for over eight years, and you are always a gentleman, a gentle man. That is a great part of your appeal, but it’s got to be hell for you on social media.

Frankly, you must have the gift of mercy which makes you so sensitive to people being at odds with each other. I’ll bet you despise confrontation but have had to learn to deal in it considering the business you’re in. And all of that is exacerbated on social media. Phew.

And then there’s Twitter. It’s a rough and tumble place, but if I’m being candid, and hell man, I’m nothing if not candid on this blog, I think it’s a great place — profane and absurd people and all. That’s just part and parcel of free speech. But I don’t envy you. You’re more of a target than most, but I do believe there’s a way to weather it, and it’s not by being frustrated at being miunderstood. You cannot win trying to appease everyone’s perception. I believe if you will not take all of us so seriously, you will enjoy it more. That’s a definite win. Will you get some heat for being less prone to react to the crap that goes on in cyber world? Oh hell yes you will get some heat. And that’s the point of this “letter.” You’re going to get heat no matter what you do (surely you know that by now), so be yourself, be the sweet man you are and let all the rest fall where it may. Definite win. (Don’t you love it when a fan gives you advice. :D)

I said I wasn’t going to give you advice, but I’ve been doing it for five years and can’t seem to stop. Plus, I’m a little bit infected with Armitage Protection Mode today ’cause I hate to see you stressing, or your version of stressing. None of this is to say that I think you shouldn’t have spoken about cyber bullying. It should be spoken about by many. And I hope someone scolds me if I ever do a cyber tackle on someone who says something mean about you. On second thought, I don’t think that’s going to happen. My general stance on people who are mean is either ignore them or tease the hell out of them. Depends on my mood.

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Here’s hoping you’re having a wonderful day and not thinking so much about who is offended or who may offend.

Signed,
Big Sister A Crazy Fan

P.S. Whatever you do, do not join tumblr. Repeat, do not join tumblr!

P.P.S. It won’t surprsie me if discussion pops up about the trope of your being a sweet, gentle man and how many of us may be deceived ’cause you’re such a good actor. But please keep on deceiving us with that consistently good behavior, if in fact that’s what you’re doing. :D

Obviously my two cents. Take it or leave it. Wait. I’ve got one more thing to say. When I think of fandom, it’s my dearest hope that some of you can just enjoy the experience and not let others ruin it for you. That would be a shame since so many of you are a pleasure.

Graphic courtesy of Armitage Besotted

Relax, It’s SOP

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Since Richard Armitage joined Twitter, I’ve heard a lot of gasps about the tweets that are directed to him. People are truly offended on his behalf, and I totally get it. There are some things said to and about him that are just flat out mean, but you need to remember it’s part of fame and/or accomplishment. I’ve said this before, and it’s just profoundly true. If you forge ahead, someone is going to come with something negative no matter how unjust it may be.

Dear Rich,

I hope you take a page out of James Blunt’s book on these negative tweets, and I hope you know that you and he are far from alone:

Sincerely,
A crazy fan who has a skin like steel on this (most of the time) and hope you do too.

note: SOP is the acronym for standard operating procedure

Poor Richard

It seems there is an epidemic which was first noticed on Facebook:

Area Facebook User Incredibly Stupid

Michael Huffman the Dumbass

DOYLESTOWN, PA—Describing him as frequently frustrated and overwhelmed, sources confirmed Monday that local Facebook user Michael Huffman is incredibly stupid. “I need stuff easy,” said the absolute dipshit, adding that he finds many things confusing, and that those things must be changed so that they make sense to him.

read the rest here

This article was the Onion’s response to Facebook’s plan to put the hashtags #satire and possibly #comedy on the Onion’s FB posts. It’s all because of the condition known as Drawing Unwarranted Misinterpretations from Bullshit, and this propensity now seems to be on Twitter and infecting Richard Armitage and some of those around him.

Oh shit!

Dear Richard,

I want to apologize for the fake fan letter to Elliott Lester and how it may have negatively affected him and you! I’ve had my tongue in my cheek so long I didn’t realize you and some others would actually take me seriously. This fear of being taken seriously is one reason I started using so damn many emoticons a few years ago. Before I did that, oh man, it was hell. I’m not a great writer you see, so I had to do something to make it clear I was teasing. But I guess the emoticons weren’t enough huh? Yes, I KNOW you read my fake fan letter to Elliott or somehow got wind of it and felt so put upon you had to actually provide a photo. No, don’t bother denying. I KNOW you did.

I just wish I had known you are both stupid. If I had, I would have put the ‘bullshit’ tag on that post, so you would not have suffered any mental anguish. And I NEVER would have said this when you were so kind to provide a beautiful photo:

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Oh man, I am so sorry. It was a sacrilege. I know that now, and please, no worries about acquiring glasses. I’ll just take the photo as it is, and every time I look at it, I will feel duly ashamed of myself for being so bold.

Signed,
A crazy fan who really, really, really didn’t mean to ruin your day and would love to know how I could make it up to you.

P.S. I guess I need to face the fact you’re an action fan who needs the dots connected. Yes, this is bullshit.

Watch someone think I really believe Richard Armitage is stupid. Oy.

Whatever, it seems Armitage Protection Mode is alive and well. (I wonder if it ever hits those infected that they’re trying to protect a 43 year old man LOL!)

And I have always wanted to title a post with that phrase. I’ve also been dying to use that Onion story. :D

edit: dropping the snark for a moment but just a moment. For those who are confused, just know that it seems some fans thought Richard Armitage was badgered into providing us a picture. To wit:

Getting There

GHow many of you have run a business? Raise your hands. Yeah, those of you who have run an enterprise for a decent length of time know it’s hard as hell. It’s like raising a child, and an unreasonable child at that because he doesn’t let you go to sleep at night, and when you finally do, he wakes you up. And no babysitter for him. He’s with you all the time. If by some quirk of fate he’s not, you are constantly thinking about him and what you want him to do next, and what he may do next that you don’t know about. But you don’t really mind any of this because he is after all, your child.

Right now I’m in the grip of this, and despite the unruliness of it, I’m enjoying and finding success. This makes it hard for me to give myself over to fan behavior as often as I once did. If I were a genius who had 48 hours in a day, I might be able to pull that off. But obviously I’m not. I’m just one person trying to make something that wasn’t there before.

I’m also the oldest child, which means I’ve often been placed in charge and feel most comfortable there. Man, I sound like an ass, but hey, it’s the truth. When you’re put in charge of the house or your younger sibling, it does things to you. Dare I say it makes someone bossy (no matter their sex)? Let me amplify that. I want to give advice and lecture, and it’s hard sometimes to keep myself from doing that. How’s that for some honesty?

I can also spot younger siblings from a mile away, and Richard Armitage has the demeanor of a younger sibling written all over him. Before I knew anything about his birth order, I knew he was a younger child. Older siblings never have the deer in the headlights look. If they ever had it, that was beat out of them at an early age. So when I see Richard, I often want to tell him what to do. LOL! Yes, I’m laughing. At the absurdity of that. But hey, I press on. :D

Where is all of this leading? You have to ask?

Richard,

There’s a lot of old thinking floating around. It says someone who is 42 almost 43 can’t break into Hollywood, or make any kind of major life change that’s productive to anyone but themselves. Don’t listen to that crap. Yeah, it’s crap. And those who listen to it are destined to be like most everyone else. I made one of my best life changes when I was around that age and know it was productive for others. And now I’m making another one and I’m, oh never mind, I’m supposedly too old to make a shift. Hogwash.

Anyway, you are unique, and I hope you stay that way, but I also know you’re trying to figure things out in this new phase of your career, and you’re not God and not going to make perfect choices. I would love to see the person who does. Whatever is going on, there is something so utterly appealing about who you are that it inspired me to write about you off and on the last four years. If you really knew me, you would know that is not anywhere near my MO. And there are lots of others in your “fandom” who are like me. They have been surprised at their reactions because it’s just not typical for them. But many of us have eventually figured out why the reaction, and it comes back to the fact you are not like other actors. It’s not just that you have managed at times to capture these slices of emotions that are so real they reverberate for years, but you have a kind of purity that seems like we can see to your back collar button. To wit your comment about being an actor [around 1:00]:

This also means your “trajectory” is probably not going to be like others. I’m totally okay with this and hope you are too most of the time. That’s what this note is about — a bit of cheerleading in case you’re not and from someone who is not a cheerleader by nature. Encouragement is not my strong suit. I’m a critic most days, and it’s so easy to be a critic. Any moron can be a critic. But I like you well enough as an actor and also as a person to step out of my comfort zone and say, “Keep going!”

Maybe this quote below is hackneyed. Doesn’t really matter. It’s true and still good to hear, and I’ve had it on my office wall for years and often glad. It knocks me out of the pompous critical mode and hopefully before it leads into harm of myself or anyone else:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

— Teddy Roosevelt

Mostly, it keeps me from becoming like David Letterman, a guy who used to be funny, but now just comes across as a bitter, frustrated, old crank.

As for “a worthy cause,” there is nothing wrong with making a living. That’s a damn worthy cause, and speaking of which, I need to get back to work.

Signed,
A Fan who is sometimes crazy but not today.

Yep, this is some Armitage Protection Mode. Why? Isn’t it obvious? I like the guy. But that’s not all this is. A story or maybe two short ones, and then I really, really have to go back to work.

When I started my first major business, all I heard was how it could not be done or how I was was doing it wrong — this latter mostly from people who had never run a business. LOL! Whatever the case, negativity was coming at me in unbelievable waves. I realized at the time I was doing something that most people don’t do, and since many around me could not conceive it, they were going to deem it impossible. Funny enough when I was successful, I heard another story from some of those same people. Things like, “I knew you could do it.” Oh yeah. I have a good memory, and I knew they were full of it.

I doubt I could have weathered that kind of talk if I had not had a great role model — my parents. My mother became a lawyer when females were still far in the minority of that profession. But her biggest sin was going to law school after she was married and had children. That simply was not done in the late 60s/early 70s! Never mind she was summa cum laude upon graduating from college and had never failed at anything academic in her life. She was turned down from her first pick of law schools because off the record she was an established (read that: old) married mother of two underage children. I know that was the case because one of the former professors of that law school and a close friend of our family contacted the school to find out how someone with her academic record and achievements was turned down. Mom was 31 at the time. This seems ludicrous now, but that was the conventional thinking of the time.

Obviously she didn’t let that stop her, and my father was her biggest supporter. I’m so glad I was old enough to take mental notes about what they were doing and to remember the large number of people (both men and women) who told my dad that once she had a law degree, she would have no use for him? WTF? My dad ignored that and pressed on. He and my mother were crazy about each other and married until my dad passed away over 25 years later. And from all of this I learned the priceless lesson that the masses do not know best. Their thinking is too homogenized and unimaginative and like water. Ever seen water run uphill? Yeah, I figured not.

Maybe I’ll come with H and I later today.

The Many Modes of Richard Armitage Fans

I lied — again. I’m getting to the phantom Diary entry after this post.

I understand Servetus has now coined Armitage Objectification Mode (AOM). Why didn’t we think of this before?! It should have been coined years ago, but I’m glad we have it now. :D I mean c’mon, we’ve all objectified Richard Armitage in one form or another. And even though I’ve said I haven’t fantasized about him, I never said I didn’t want to. LOL! I just said I chose not to do it. I’d be a big fat liar if I said I never had the yen. But as to AOM, I’m sure we’re all going to have a field day defining its various levels.

Of course I have to cover Armitage Protection Mode (APM). Posts about it are found here and here if you’re not familiar. It’s to be avoided unless you want to be a killjoy, and there are certainly various levels of APM which deserve their own modes. Armitage Correction Mode, or what I think of as APM Light. This is when someone continually feels the need to correct other fans about Armitage lore, e.g., making sure everyone knows that Guy’s horse is Richie and not Ritchie when no one else (or few; wish I could say no one else) gives a rat’s ass how the name is spelled. Did the show’s creators ever specify? Or APM Exreme which I fondly think of as Armitage Sanctimonious Syndrome (ASS). That’s when someone not only wants to protect Richard Armitage but is utterly self-righteous about it. Utterly here means the person may end up calling the authorities in an attempt to ensure dear Richard’s safety and most important that they (the person and not the authorities) can never be wrong! LOL! Yes, I laughed. I used to pity these people but have come to find them a great source of humor.

Oh, yeah, they’re funny, Rich. As if you need protecting. LOL!

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There is also Armitage Denial Mode (ADM), and its various levels go something like the following. Armitage Denial Mode Extreme — when you’re so far in the closet you won’t even breathe Richard Armitage’s name to another human being and certainly never comment on him in cyber world, yet you may be the first to look at anything posted about our guy. ;-) Armitage Denial Mode (no frills; it just is) — you think Richard Armitage is great and sometimes you deign to express it to another human being with an occasional comment in cyber world. But then you step back and wonder what has come over you?!! Armitage Denial Mode Light — you are very chatty about Richard Armitage and frequently give and take on his abilities and are recognized as a commenter but swear up and down you’re just a casual fan. Of course the remedy to all of these is called Freedom from Armitage Denial Mode — that’s when you finally say to hell with it and get yourself a blog!

note: all of this is predicated on the idea that almost everyone reading this blog is an addict. D

Screencap courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.com

Taking Richard Out of His Box

Not long ago a body was unearthed from its burial place under a car park in the UK. It may be the corpse of King Richard III, the last monarch in the War of the Roses. Various tests have been done to help determine the identity as a small group of zealous supporters longing for the king to gain his rightful place in history have watched the world become aware of him. Despite confirmation, Richard III will still be confined to a villainous image. He will still be seen by a significant number as the man Shakespeare portrayed as a scoundrel who callously killed his nephews and anyone else who stood in the way of what he wanted. And if he really has been unfairly maligned by the Bard, few will appreciate the fact. Such is the effect of a drama with a powerfully developed character — its ability to drown out anything that would give lie to it.

Richard Armitage in The Hobbit is also an unearthing. It is a star emerging to all but a few rabid fans who have waited for several years for the public to recognize it. Despite this rise to the larger public’s notice, will Richard, like his namesake, also remain confined to an image? I hope not. I hope his Thorin Oakenshield will be sufficient to give lie to the notion that he’s only a heart throb. But when I consider the effect of his portrayal as John Thornton in North and South followed closely by Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood, and hear the current rhetoric about the hot dwarf, it’s hard not to see him remaining in the box marked tall, dark, handsome man who is extremely masculine and sensitive and must be a romantic figure.

When women in the U.S. alone get hold of the almost Svengali like appeal of his, the marketing of his roles will be narrowed to romances. Much like was done with Colin Firth and Gerard Butler only they aren’t Richard Armitage. He goes way beyond them in sex appeal. Yes, I’m biased, but I’m also not blind. Some women I know have never seen the likes of Richard Armitage, and those who have really watched him are blown away. One told me, “I laughed at your reaction. I really did. I thought you were just having a mid-life meltdown with all that’s going on in your life. Phew! I was wrong! I have never seen anyone like that!” To which I said with as much humility as possible, “I know.”

But for a good long while I’ve been finding that a trap. He’s too capable to be left to roles as a mere love interest, only useful for awakening desire. Granted, he does love interest so well, but how long can we dwell there? Doesn’t it get passe’? Or is our need as women so intense we must continually feed it with characters who engender passion? I can only answer for myself. I’m bored with this. And I’m way past the place where I wrote about his characters’ effects on me. I was actually past it when I wrote the piece but was compelled to capture the phenomenon so I wouldn’t forget. Now I want what I always want — a good story and characters that move me but without the added noise of squeeeing.

I’m all squeeed out for now. And it’s only my snark gene that continues on with the appearance of it yet with a twinkle in my eye hoping some of you catch on to my mirth at the manipulation we receive as fans.

I long for more from Richard Armitage. I long to see him leverage his ability as a chameleon and apply his fine sense of a story. When do we get to see that without the pr machine pandering to women? Playing them like a fiddle? Harsh words you say? What else to make of this? LOL!

Yes, I know I’m whining, but really, I just hate to see Richard getting in the box however big it may appear. A little Armitage Protection Mode at work? No question. And my control freak dictates this:

Dear Richard,

I hope once you get past all the hype for The Hobbit that you can really sit back and consider what’s next and do not feel compelled to give people exactly what they want. You once said of a character that he was only interesting when he didn’t get what he wanted, and it would be over if he got it. The same logic could be applied to you and your fans. Please don’t give what it seems we want. We don’t know what’s good for us. Yes, I am a capitalist, but not when it comes to art. Ignore my capitalist, please. Go with your heart.

Just please stay out of the box, or at least don’t let the marketers close the lid on you.

Other than all of that, I hope you have a Merry Christmas.

Signed,
One of your crazy fans who knows you have much more in you in than tall, dark, handsome cotton mill owner

P.S. Maybe a little chat with Viggo Mortenson might be helpful. Yes, I’m a control freak. Now listen to your mother, er, big sister. :D

The rant is done, and I want you all to know I am emphatically not against his being cast as a romantic figure, and I’ve been thinking about what I would like to see in that respect. More coming up on that and on Richard III. I’m not even close to being done with the “good” king.

edit: I am not down on Richard Armitage. I think he’s a great talent, which I would like to see succeed as some other great talents have succeeded. Neither do I begrudge him making money. Money is necessary to live.

But I had to say something about what I am seeing. More later on contributing to facilitating this. That’s the post where I admit my guilt. LOL!