Having a Little Trouble Here

January 31, 2012

This is where I spent a chunk of the day, and it was very productive. Many questions were answered, and SO and I left this place with a wonderful sense of peace. Part of me wanted to post something more about the experience, but I found it too big to confine to this post or this blog, so I’m skipping it.

My fallback plan was to run with one of the many posts I have in draft (upwards of 300 pieces of writing), but as I was scanning them, nothing really jumped at me. Looking for inspiration, I made the supreme mistake of reading Servetus’ latest series. Oh, I’m not down on the series but rather my timing. How foolish to think I could read those posts and write a response by the seat of my pants. 3,000 to 4,000 words later, I called it quits for the night and came here to at least write something to keep in step with my commitment to Project 365.

Who knows when I’ll finish my thoughts on John Thornton, and who he thinks he is, but for now, I’m tired and going to bed. Night all.

Aspiring Armitage — Part 1

January 27, 2012

This week as with all weeks in RA Universe, there is discussion about Richard Armitage and his roles, and how he may or may not have succeeded, and what will he do in the future, and I don’t know the answer to all of that. I doubt any fans do, but of course it’s fascinating to speculate. With respect to his not meeting expectations as an actor for some, the success of his first leading role in ‘North and South’ has a little something to do with setting expectations unrealistically. That role would have been hard for anyone to follow not to mention dealing with the fan reaction. If he had been an egoist or his agent encouraged him to be one, he might have handled it all differently. He might have appeared more polished, more on top of his game, more homogenized, which so many of us have come to expect and swallow and then move on.

But he seemed to come with unmanufactured responses which gave credence to his being like the rest of us and not knowing quite what to do with his situation. He’s also gone so far as to tell us he’s a slow mover. Not in terms of his ability to think or his stamina, but in terms of exposure to life and fleshing out his identity as an actor and as a person. Upon first reading those statements, I thought it was nothing but self-deprecation in a cagey attempt to set the bar low enough not to disappoint the public in future, which is fine. But I’ve pondered them quite a bit since then, and there is something that smacks of normal. I know there is no such thing, but he seems to continually manifest a sense of “I need to step back and take stock of what’s going on,” which is a type of sanity we know instinctively when we encounter it. The world of drama doesn’t seem to be replete with that, so he stands out. Or maybe it’s just to me. Then again, he might be a better actor than I realize. When he whips that look of a mind reader onto the camera, I start second guessing myself. LOL!

Screencaps from ‘North and South’ DVD Extras courtesy of RichardArmitageNet.com

Twitter Encounters — Part 2

March 5, 2011

Yesterday, I was talking about Twitter having a positive effect on me. I did acknowledge one pitfall, and other than that, it’s been very positive and productive. But it’s imperative to reiterate Twitter is what you make it which means it matters who you are when you get there. And who are you? What are you about? Chances are good Twitter will reveal who you are whether you want it to or not. I’m not talking about your name or title. I’m talking about how you think and why. If someone talks long enough on Twitter, and it doesn’t take very much talking, they will reveal where they’re coming from. Even the alter egos cannot completely squelch their real selves.

Blue Ostrich

Two things dictate Twitter’s keen ability to reveal someone. First, being on Twitter means a person wants to be heard. There is no other reason to be there (that’s true of any online presence, i.e., blogs, forums, etc. or almost any conversation whether online or not). Let me say that again. There is no other reason to be on Twitter than a desire to be heard, and more accurately, a desire to be known and to know, and I don’t mean everything about someone but at least some aspect. Before anyone starts objecting, please realize I’m not saying this is a bad thing. It’s hardwired into us to desire being known, and it’s not so much in the sense of celebrity that we want to be known but being in communion with others, which can only happen in relationships — online or otherwise. Why do you think social media is so popular? It’s appealing to the basic instincts of everyone.

Second, the stacatto nature of Twitter makes it conducive to generating someone’s unvarnished thoughts. Servetus said yesterday that Twitter invites the knee jerk. Yes, in many respects it does even if someone only retweets another’s thought. But doesn’t a knee jerk, i.e., a visceral reaction, usually reveal a lot about a person? It’s my experience that it does. In fact, it can oftentimes say a lot more about someone than seemingly thoughtful answers they may craft. Isn’t that why job interviewers throw job candidates curve balls? Aren’t they looking for the person’s involuntary reaction in order to take an accounting of them beyond the image they’ve created? As a long time interviewer of potential employees (mostly white collar but some blue), I can tell you yes, that’s what they’re looking for, and sometimes an honest response of, “I don’t know” or “I need to think more about that to answer” is completely acceptable. Depends on the question and of course, on the interviewer, but this interviewer thinks it’s often a great response. This is also acceptable on Twitter and can lead to some interesting discussion, and frankly, I’m suspicious of people who seem to have the answers to every question. No one’s that good, but that discussion is for another post.

I have much more to say about Twitter, but I suspect this post will go on so long that it will have trouble loading. So I’m saving most of it for later. But I do want to say that I find it infinitely fascinating that Richard Armitage has not been on Twitter, and I mean on Twitter as himself since he may very well be on Twitter. If my gut is still functioning properly (although it had a glitch awhile back LOL!), I suspect he is there anonymously. The man for all of his supposed reticence is a talker. I know there are those of you who will have a violent disagreement with me about this, but you’re mostly reacting to my choice of the word “talker.” That’s not an aspersion on him at all. When I say that I’m not saying he’s indiscreet. Certainly, he doesn’t talk about some of the things that some would like him to, but those who have any brains are not going to tell everything they know or even come close to doing so. First, it’s boring and second, it’s like dropping your pants and bending over. Wait. That’s a bad analogy. LOL!!! Uh, let me try that again but without analogy. Who wants all of their personal business known? No one I know of unless they’re dense and/or temporarily rendered dense by being desperate, e.g., Charlie Sheen. More about Charlie later. Maybe. That post is quite a piece of work. Not sure the public is ready for it.

edit: I found this article interesting. I’m not sure I entirely agree with it, but I agree with the dynamic. Perhaps I don’t fully agree because if someone analyzed my RAFrenzy account on Twitter, they would find I follow both “liberal” and “conservative” accounts, and I can assure you I’m not a moderate. :D

Tangent — A New Scrooge

December 22, 2010

I love giving gifts, but I hate giving things out of obligation. Is there anyone who likes that? Oh, you do?! Masochist.

Christmas for some has become about obligation. How can it not be with the continual bemoaning from so many about how much Christmas buying is killing them? And it’s not chiefly the result of a bad economy; that kind of plaint has been around for years. It’s just more pronounced with the current financial squeeze. But these days when it’s earnestly said to me, I sometimes reply, “Don’t do it.” I never say this with a flippant tone, and it still gets me looks as if I’m teasing or have two heads. But the looks never bother me. I understand what drives them. A significant number of people really do hinge their identities on what they do for Christmas (been there, done that, got a t-shirt), so they will almost kill themselves trying to maintain whoever it is they think they are or should be, and to suggest otherwise is laughable or freaky to them. Their behavior is specifically wrapped up in being a good person, friend, child, mate or parent, and the last one is the real killer. I mean who wants to let down the kids? People who let down their kids are scum. Right?

May I suggest that generally kids’ expectations have been corrupted, and it’s time to take back their inclinations or at least make a serious adjustment to them? And what a great year to do it when resources are so low for so many. May be the perfect time to make a change. I mean who’s driving what the kids want? And is it reasonable? At first it can be fun buying for them — they’re so little and cute and really don’t want that much and are happy with almost anything. But unless a family is living in a hole in the ground or lives in a developing country with no access to any media, chances are good that as the kids get older their appetites are growing by continually being whet with all the “needs” that barrage them almost every waking hour, and parents are under tremendous stress to meet those “needs.” Well, I stopped meeting them, and surprisingly my kids do not see me as scum.

I’m not going to act as if this was an easy thing. It wasn’t, and I give SO complete credit for having the backbone to say, “Enough is enough.” This started a couple of years before we decided to move out of the city, but hey, media still gets to the country. We simply did not buy as much that Christmas, and what a relief it was. The key was letting go of this idea that creating magic for our kids on Christmas morning with “good” gifts was supposed to keep them from great emotional damage as an adult. LOL! Sorry I couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of that. But back to how I became a Scrooge. Oh, there were some tears from the kids when we cut back, and I think my oldest actually said we ruined her life (she said the same thing when we got rid of the tv for five years). Such is the wisdom of a child, and sadly too many of us listen to that as if it really is wisdom, but it’s not wisdom and never will be.

And each year I watch some friends painfully go into hock over Christmas, and when they explain why (as they almost invariably do if for no other reason than to convince themselves), it’s not uncommon for the reason to be about their child really really wanting something, and they just don’t have the heart to deny them even if it creates stress enough to bring on health issues. Often their rationalization for taking the burden of debt is something like, “My parents never got me ______________ at Christmas,” and you can almost hear the longing in their minds concluding, “My life would have been so much better and my relationships more fulfilling if I’d had one of those like everyone else.” Marketers have done a superb job when someone feels like that. That’s the gift that keeps on giving to their hip pockets.

But the marketers don’t care about anyone’s relationships. They only want to sell you something. Oh, you already know all of this? Well, it seems many of us often forget it and succumb to the number their trying to do on our heads — tying our worth as a parent, as a human being, to what we can provide for Christmas and worse implying that our relationships with our kids will suck if we don’t buy certain things for them. The real horror is that the message is given to the kids to in turn give to us.

The only way to get loose is to first be aware that “good” Christmas presents will never help anyone’s psyche and second stop succumbing to the idea that it does. That means buying the things you want to buy and can reasonably buy (obviously this is different for everyone) and being happy with it — reveling in the joy of giving, the heart of it. Most important being happy to be with family and friends and not making Christmas about that few minutes on Christmas morning when the kids dive into all the stuff. It’s amazing how kids pick up on our attitudes. Maybe not immediately, but they do eventually. Parents are still the most influential people in a child’s life no matter what “they” tell you. Don’t listen to that internal voice that’s being fed mostly by marketers that you must buy more and more in order for your child to be well adjusted. It’s a lie. And you have more power than you realize. It may not seem like it immediately, but it’s true.

Now for the most important part, and no part of me is being snarky. You take the stuff away and something usually needs to replace it, and maybe for some of you this isn’t an issue. At our house it was about time, therefore SO and I have made an effort to spend more time with our kids and to really listen to what’s going on with them. Christmas is just another time to focus on them a little more because we have set more time aside to do it and to hopefully make memories with our interactions rather than some expensive electronic gadgets. In the past I was so busy making money and making a mark that frankly, it was easier to give material things, and I salved my conscience with the idea that I was able to give “good” gifts. But my time is the real gift they need, and that’s the kind of obligation I need to joyfully meet.

My kids might not have felt that way about it when I first began to give it, but they see it now. One of my “little” SOs is faraway right now and can’t make it home for Christmas (feeling choked as I write this), but unbeknown to her, I’m going to surprise her on Christmas day, and I can hardly wait. That means I will be around here less in the next couple of weeks. Oh, I have a couple of posts loaded up, but I will not be hovering over my laptop when they let fly. So think of me in coming days hanging out with my kid and roaming the streets with her and laughing about God knows what, and I know she will not expect me to come bearing gifts, but I will, and what a wonderful feeling to give with absolutely no obligation. That is surely a joy, but the greater joy is knowing I can hang out with her and she will want me to.

And I know there will come a moment as there always does when I look at the great person she has become and is becoming and realize that it could have been a little different. We could have stayed on that same path with her and her siblings that left no part of the living room floor bare of gifts on Christmas morning and had us facilitating an ever growing gluttony for things, and ultimately building a bondage to things which would have made them dull people.

Edit: It’s 2012, and I’m going back to NYC at Christmastime. I now have two “little” SOs there. I can hardly wait.

Being Richard

June 3, 2010

My friend Servetus recently made a post that is of such interest to me. I’m anxious to hear the rest of her thoughts on the subject of identity and how it’s derived by us or others who observe us. And yes, I’ll revisit Diderot. Actually, I should probably just consult SO, since that’s his bailiwick — having majored in philosophy and psychology and being a writer. Yes, someone actually majors in that stuff and isn’t a basket case and goes onto make a decent living. Usually doing other things. LOL!

But back to Servetus’ subject. Really, aren’t we all fascinated with this subject of identity? Whether we step outside of it to try to examine it objectively, we’re all caught up in identity. One thing that drives RA’s fans, in my not so humble opinion, is how his various performances either confirm who we are, challenge us to become someone else or pique us to investigate all these other identities he’s created in order to understand something about people. It was never more apparent than in this need of his most ardent fans to find more meaning in John Porter than him being an action hero, and RA understood this too.

Ultimately, all of this leads us to wonder about the person playing all of these identities. Or maybe not. Maybe Servetus and I and a handful of others are the only ones who come to that conclusion. The rest of you are just along for RA’s performances, and then you go on about your business. Pardon me while I snort in doubt over that. LOL! You’re reading my blog aren’t you. ;-)

If these points are sounding like the reaction you have to books, well, there’s a little insight into one of the secrets of RA’s attraction. More on that in a later post. And if I’m not entirely clear, trust me, I’ll be happy to elaborate in another post.

I feel the urge to share what I’m listening to: Voodoo by Spice Girls. And my mood: flippant of course.

Maybe actors discuss this issue a lot. I’m no expert on actors or the acting profession, so I don’t know. I would love to know if they do. Identities seem to be their currency. It would seem if they are intelligent at all they would come to this subject often. I know on this piddly blog I sometimes wonder how some of my statements make you think about yourself.

Phew, after all of that, I need a picture.

Screencap courtesy of Arianne on LJ.


Oh, and any examination of Richard personally is not about his girlfriend. Now that I have this blog, I see how many searches are done on that. Actually, I put that as a tag in a post just to see what would happen. Oh my goodness.

note: if you’re looking for an interview with Richard Armitage when he was still working on Spooks and shooting Robin Hood Series 3, go here.