Tag Archives: bullying

Richard is no plaster saint. It’s OK not to agree with him 100 percent of the time

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I’ve thought a lot about the subject of RA as ambassador for Cybersmile, about bullying in general and cyber-bullying in particular over the last few days. I’ve read various blog posts concerning RA’s blog post for Cybersmile. I’ve voiced my own opinion in comments.

Clearly, this fandom is not a united front when it comes this issue, just as it is not over RA’s selfies, RA’s choice of roles, RA’s friendships and possible romances and a laundry list of other aspects of the man’s personal and professional life. Frankly, I don’t think the fandom has ever really been completely harmonious (not in the eight years I’ve been part of it, anyway). And I don’t think it ever will be.

With a growing number of fans quite different from the middle-aged, educated, BBC Radio 4-loving motherly creatures we were reported to be back in the day—with more kids, teens, guys, male and female fans of adventure/fantasy films vs. period dramas, individuals from very different cultures than our own joining the ranks—there are bound to be differences in tastes, attitudes and viewpoints on his work and his life–and how we should and should not behave as fans.

Some in the fandom seem to imply that if we do not show wholehearted agreement with everything Richard Armitage says or does, displaying a sort of slavish adoration of every word issuing from his mouth or keyboard, then we are not “nice” or “good” or “loyal” fans.

I beg to differ. I have tremendous respect and admiration for Richard and how he’s conducted his career, which I have watched closely over these eight years, and for the man I perceive him to be: a kind-hearted, compassionate, sensitive and well-mannered gentleman with a lively and slightly naughty sense of humor.

I have seen him grow in confidence and poise in public appearances and interviews, and in terms of his physical beauty and overall attractiveness, he really does seem to grow better with age.

But what I do not see him as, is this faultless, saintly individual who can absolutely never do wrong and whose words and actions should never be questioned. Frankly, if RA was a perfect human being, I doubt I could be the long-term fan that I am. I’d have found him an insufferable “goody two shoes” to whom I could not remotely relate and ditched my interest in him long ago (other than strictly as an actor).

Richard Armitage isn’t some plaster saint to be parked on a pedestal, but a real, flesh-and-blood human being who happens to be nearly 44 years of age. HE is not a vulnerable child in need of our protection from the big, bad world, even if his boyish impishness still surfaces.

Surely he is capable of recognizing and coping with the idea everyone isn’t going to agree with all his choices or comments. Aren’t we doing him a disservice by treating him as if he isn’t capable?

The man I love most in my life, the man I married thirty years ago come Monday, is a wonderful man—intelligent, talented, modest, funny, kind and thoughtful. Yet I hold no illusions he is perfect, and he certainly knows his wife isn’t.

We’ve both got our bad habits, our quirks and our failings. Sometimes he gets on my nerves and I get on his. Sometimes, he makes a comment I don’t like and vice-versa. Sometimes, we have to agree to disagree on certain subjects, but it doesn’t make us any less respectful or appreciative of one another.  We are still besties and will be for life.

Recognizing and acknowledging our human frailties doesn’t make us bad spouses or our marriage an unsuccessful one. I like to say we aren’t perfect, but we are perfect for each other.

There have always been those who would seek to police this fandom. As many of you know, I was the direct target of one of them and lost a paying writing assignment at Comic-Con a few years back due to their machinations, after being described as a “dangerous, obsessed fan” from whom Richard Armitage needed protection. This is the same individual who has interfered in the real lives of other fans/bloggers. My sincerest empathy is extended to anyone who has been the target of her and other “fans” like her. And yes, like many of us, I endured some bullying by classmates as a child. My heart hurts for anyone who has had to, or is, enduring it.

At the same time, I have grown really wary of, and quite uncomfortable with, attempts to police or shame fans and their fanfic, blog posts and comments. There is room for many different voices in this fandom. If you don’t like a particular voice, you don’t have to listen to it. It’s never a good idea to tell a blogger they shouldn’t be expressing a particular opinion; it’s their blog and their right to do so.

I am not saying I think RA should not be ambassador to Cybersmile; I am saying I am not sure he was completely prepared for the task. And that surprises me, given his track record of dedication to and research for projects undertaken. I guess I’ve grown to expect him to always bring his “A” game, as we say here.

Given his short time spent immersed in the sometimes murky and potentially dangerous waters of social media, I simply wish he had given himself a little more time. I sincerely hope that this organization can accomplish all that it desires to, with RA as its face and voice; I also wish they were a bit less vague in their mission statement, but maybe that will change. We shall see.  Looking forward to quantitative positive results from the project.

I do applaud him for his continued desire to aid young people in need of a helping hand, just as I applaud him for taking on controversial roles he believes will challenge and strengthen his acting chops—yes, even if they aren’t the kind of project with which I most wish to see him involved.

And speaking of “Hannibal”—well, that, my dears, is another post.

Shallow Fan Fedora Lady will note he looks damned good wearing only his fancy tats. Mmmm, mmmmm.

(A little laughter in life, boys and girls, a little laughter in life.)

Beautiful things, terrible things: ugly behavior in a lovely fandom

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I was struck by just how emotional people were talking about the film, talking about anticipating the film. With each question came a preamble about what the previous films have meant in people’s lives. So all cliches aside, it’s a really nice thing to be part of something that actually touches people, genuinely touches people. It’s quite a lovely thing. 

Martin Freeman in the press conference post TH panel at SDCC  Links to the transcripts can be found here:

http://www.theonering.net/torwp/2012/07/19/59431-comic-con-hobbit-press-conference-transcript/

 

 

Richard and Andy Serkis sharing a good laugh at The Hobbit panel at Comic-Con. Photo courtesy of richardarmitagenet

 

 

As a part of the Richard Armitage fandom, Martin’s quote above really struck a chord with me. Because as part of that fandom, as a blogger, a fanfic writer and fanvid maker–and simply as an enthusiastic fangurl–I think it’s really nice to a part of a group that supports an immensely talented and thoroughly nice human being who actually, genuinely touches people. Touches them through his detailed and nuanced performances and by being the kind, gentle, generous, humble, funny, dedicated individual that he is.

There are many, many wonderful people within this fandom, who are also kind, gentle, generous and happy to see good things happen for fellow fans.  I truly treasure many of you as dear friends whom I would never have gotten to know were it not for Mr. Armitage.

Sadly, we aren’t all true friends and fans.  It came to my attention today that one of the most talented, creative and nicest people in the RA fan community has been the victim of attempted sabtotage, with someone contacting her workplace, attempting to cause trouble for her.

It’s one thing if you don’t like someone’s fan fiction, their fan videos or their blog postings  and feel the need to leave hurtful and nasty comments for them to read (under the cowardly cloak of anonymity, of course).

It’s incredibly childish and doesn’t say very flattering things about the individual who engages in such behavior, but we who have been the subjects of such maliciousness can live with that.

HOWEVER— WHEN YOU TAKE STEPS TO CAUSE SOMEONE TO LOSE PAYING WORK AND BLACKEN THEIR NAME AND REPUTATION WHILE YOU ARE AT IT . . . WHEN YOU ATTEMPT TO CAUSE TROUBLE FOR SOMEONE AT THEIR WORKPLACE AND POTENTIALLY ENDANGER THEIR LIVELIHOOD–YOU HAVE GONE TOO FAR. 

Most of us are genuinely nice people who do not go looking for trouble.  We want to simply enjoy this fandom and remain positive, upbeat and supportive of one another and Richard Armitage’s career.  But this spitefulness, this envy, out-of-control jealousy and pure, unadulterated malice cannot be allowed to go on unchecked. Those of you who participate in such behavior need to be taught there are consequences for your actions.

I do not know what steps this other individual will choose to take. I do know she now feels she must make her tweets private because she feels too vulnerable to keep them public–and that is a darned shame. I know I shall not be sharing certain things–even really good news– on any public website or blog again. 

  You who are guilty of such contemptible behavior know who you are.  Just know  that some of us whom you have attempted to bully, intimidate, abuse and sabotage aren’t going to “go quietly.”

Frankly, you disgust me.  You are an ugly stain on an otherwise beautiful community in support of a beautiful human being.