Just Me … Not Particularly Original or Unique

I’ve been trying to figure out why I have had a negative reaction to the negative reactions to Richard’s Cybersmile communications (say that ten times, fast).

I value free speech. I value divergent ideas. I value criticism. I value debate. I value discussion. I value tolerance. I value constructive criticism.

So why do I cringe and feel conflicting emotions bubble up when a new Richard bashing post crosses my dash? Why don’t I experience growth or freely embrace new ideas in the honest assessments that are negative? Why have I started doing more DL:DR than ever before?

I think it’s because we all interpret RA’s communiques through our own paradigm. Mine feels somewhat ‘in synch’ with his on most of his points and therefore if someone calls him names it feels like they are directed at me and anyone whose paradigm is similar to mine (his). I’m taking the negative reactions to RA personally not because I’m in APM or feeling second hand indignation but because they attack me and my world view personally (even though not specifically addressed to me).

This is not revolutionary or particularly insightful – taking things personally is a garden variety catalyst for feeling offended and initiating conflict both online and in real life.

Damn. I thought I was above all that. I thought I had decent metacognition. Nope. Turns out I’m bloody human after all – and much closer to neanderthal than an evolved social creature.

So why do I nod when I read his communiques instead of furrow my brow? Why does my brow furrow and the acid rise in my belly when I read persistent negative comments?

Because I’m so thoroughly egocentric it’s appalling. I assume that everyone knows and remembers the same things I do. That everyone processes things the same way I do. It’s never constructive to say “Well, I’m pretty average and I get this, so everyone else should too.” I’ve done that. Β A lot of that.

I remember the many quotes and interviews over the years where he’s talked about putting others first; his manners and thoughtfulness when he’s with fellow cast members; his commitment to reflect the style of the interviewer; how he praises his colleagues never taking credit on his own. I have not read anything via Cybersmile that contradicts 10+ years of statements or behaviour. His putting others first is one of the reasons I initially found him compelling and attractive. His Cybersmile communications simply reinforce those things for me.

I know that he is not a sociologist, psychologist, counsellor or bullying expert. I know he’s an average person that cares and in his admittedly fallible way, tries to make a small difference and to do it authentically – every statement he makes is consistent with who he is and how he’s conducted himself. If his personal disclosures weren’t enough, everything else confirms that he is speaking honestly and from the heart. For me, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be sincere.

I know that he writes in a sort of stream of consciousness way. He’s described it many times with regards to his characters’ backgrounds. His essay felt like that – it felt like reading his thought process – sincere, imperfect, personal, mostly uncensored. It wasn’t buffed and polished. I was moved by the style of his writing as well as the content because it felt tremendously intimate. For me, it was simply Richard speaking in a way which confirmed everything I’ve ever thought about his integrity and character.

I agree with most of what he said. There were bits that I found a little confusing but that is the nature of communication when it’s coming from the heart – sometimes there are foggy sections and you have to decide if you’re going to interpret it in isolation or trust that the future will hold some sort of clarification.

I could go through line by line, paragraph by paragraph and show what I agree with, what I don’t, and what’s confusing. But it’s sort of irrelevant – my paradigm isn’t original or unique or able to add anything new to the discussion. And in reality, there isn’t a forum for debate – only a medium for sharing opinions.

My paradigm has interpreted his texts and posts as consistent with who he is, as valid and meaningful as any other layperson, and without malice or false piety in his attempts to make his little corner of the interwebs a friendlier place. Ultimately, reading his communiques through my paradigm has meant that I admire him all the more for what he’s doing and trying to do.

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42 thoughts on “Just Me … Not Particularly Original or Unique

  1. jholland says:

    I’m with you, jollytr. =)

  2. zeesmuse says:

    Come over here and let me give you a great, big hug. You are loved, you know that?

    While I have seen dissension and huh? types of remarks and yes I had a huh? moment with the last ‘now discuss’ essay – my problem has been and always will be I read too fast, so I skim and then after a while I’ll go back and reread… and read everyone else’s thoughts and by the time I’ve formulated an opinion, it’s over. I’ve not seen name calling, but I tend to shy away from those sorts of places. As I’ve stated recently, my debating skills are debatable. Anyway back to the comment – I’ve not seen name-calling. Where are you hanging out? Come to my place. I don’t name call and I have chocolate.

    Also some of us like black and white. This is this. That is that. And Richard doesn’t seem to do black and white; it’s so colorful and tiptoed around and elaborated on and the prose is so…. I don’t know. I often think we are simply separated by a common language.

    Some don’t like being ‘preached to’. I understand that. As a woman with a child who at one time was underaged and came across ugliness on the net, even back in the Stone Ages, I appreciate the gentle reminder. Seeing what some celebs and non-celebs put up with, well it makes you want to take a hot poker and smack someone. And some need a black and white definition of WHAT Bullying is. Apparently. I don’t preached to by him.

    Truthfully, the only thing he commented on that I have strong negative feelings is the fake names. I hide behind mine for reasons.

    It’s not a win win situation.

    But we can discuss it. In some circles….

  3. Servetus says:

    [someone who admittedly has a very negative view of what he’s doing here] I haven’t seen any name-calling, I don’t think. An enhance level of policing, which was to be expected, that I hope goes away again. Really hope goes away again.

    From what you say, I want to respond to this in light of your point about mega-cognition:

    “I remember the many quotes and interviews over the years where he’s talked about putting others first; his manners and thoughtfulness when he’s with fellow cast members; his commitment to reflect the style of the interviewer; how he praises his colleagues never taking credit on his own. I have not read anything via Cybersmile that contradicts 10+ years of statements or behaviour. His putting others first is one of the reasons I initially found him compelling and attractive. His Cybersmile communications simply reinforce those things for me.”

    I think this perception is really important to a lot of people (I’ve called it “virtuous Armitage”) and I agree that the fact that I’m not endorsing that idea about him is part of why I am getting so many negative responses from fans / readers (and maybe from you, although you don’t specify me). But your point about perception is really important. I find what you describe to be pretty normal human behavior. It’s praiseworthy but not, for me, in any amount more than I would praise anyone else for it, and I’ve never understood why he gets such euphoric praise from fans for it, but that’s me.

    I end up with two responses to it — one is that I rarely see people take him as an example in that regard. (They are not, in my experience, really doing so now, and I’m not either. I have my own notion of virtue.) The second is that all of this “preaching” (as I call it) does really play havoc with the things about my picture of him that are centrally important to me.

    I don’t have problems with the fact that that’s not the case for everyone, though. I have reblogged contributions on every side of the issue and I am going to reblog this one shortly. I only claim the right to speak for myself and be honest about my reactions. Anyone can love what he’s doing right now. I just don’t. And since I write about my every reaction to him, I also write about this reaction to him.

    • jollytr says:

      Just want you to know that I wasn’t specifying you or singling anyone out. When one person articulates their point of view, it is interesting to read alternative thoughts and not something that would prompt a ramble such as the one above. It’s the cumulative effect which sparked the fire.

      Intuitively it feels not only possible but probable that Richard’s virtuous qualities are important to many fans. There are several aspects of the man which attract fans, not the least of which is his character. He’s a decent bloke. He’s been tabloid scandal free (that’s relatively rare in this day and age). Talent, good looks AND a nice guy? It’s hard not to admire him. It’s hard to ignore that he’s a stand-up fellow. He has feet of clay but not so muddy as to detract from his (public) character.

      Maybe it is the rarity of his particular combination of traits which leads to the ardent praise of his character. There are lots of talented, good looking actors. Not so many that are also almost bizarrely well mannered. He’s a bit of an enigma, but a nice one.

      Whatever the case may be, I look forward to more tweets, messages and essays from him – whether I agree with (or accurately decipher) them correctly or not – and fan thoughts about it. It’s probably best to take an antacid and better enjoy the wide variety of opinion and reaction. Heh, or go on holiday and remain completely oblivious :-D.

      • Servetus says:

        See, this is my question: why do people think that what are essentially normal good manners and basically ethical attitudes, particularly in the UK, constitute exceptionality? That’s the question that needs interrogation. Is it because we’ve become used to the Kardashians? Because we don’t expect it from a celebrity?

      • jollytr says:

        We need to be able to press like more than once on something *repeatedly slams the like button and nods head for 25 minutes*.

        Sadly I think you’re right. And it’s not just the lot of celebrity. People seem surprised when I send a thank you note or when my sons hold the doors open for others. Wait staff are taken aback by them when they order their meals because they say “May I please have ….”, while making eye contact and end with a thank you. These things are so basic it’s astonishing that anyone even notices – but they do. My eldest has severe mental health challenges and yet HE has decent manners that appear to be rapidly becoming rare. I think kids are being greatly disserviced when their elders don’t share the expectations and benefits of good manners. Personally, I blame The Simpsons and Real Housewives of ____, lol. Sometimes I think I’m becoming my grandmother – “back in my day we …..”

  4. Servetus says:

    Reblogged this on Me + Richard Armitage and commented:
    Thoughtful.

  5. Helen says:

    Well said, Jollytr. With you all the way.

  6. nellindreams says:

    Exactly my thoughts and feelings! Thank you, jollytr!

  7. Guylty says:

    Thank you for writing such an honest post, Jolly. The view you have expressed is one that someone communicated to me bts, too, and I have to say that it was an approach that was totally new to me. Even though I may not be among the most critical of fans, I never thought that a criticism that I levelled at RA would have been taken personally by a fan who shares the opinion/feeling/whatever that I had criticized. When and if I criticize RA it is only directed at him, not by extension to those who share his beliefs. But if people feel that way, it is important to make criticism clearer. Anyhow, it is of great value for me to understand this – and remind myself of it when a) criticizing or b) being criticized for being critical.
    Can I give you a reaction from the other side of the spectrum, i.e. as someone who occasionally criticizes RA? (I am only speaking for myself here, btw!) When I see the often overwhelming agreement expressed in reaction to RA’s tweets (or his new role as CS ambassador), it occasionally makes me feel really bad because they can find agreement when I cannot. Which in turn makes me question my opinion and possibly even feel envious of their shared opinion/feeling with RA. As you said – throroughly egocentric, and to a large extent irrational, too. But it shows that even expression of agreement with RA can be received as a kind of criticism.
    I think both sides would do well to take things less personally. (And I am not saying this as a criticism or an order, but as an ideal that I am struggling with myself.) However, it *does* help to take control of the situation and extricate oneself from interactions which one knows to make oneself feel bad. I have begun to use the “mute” button on Twitter, and I have learnt by experience that I often have to let my reactions settle down a bit before I publicly respond – cos as a hot-headed Scorpio, I can sting quite badly when something gets to me πŸ˜‰ There have been a couple of times where I reacted rashly and painted myself into a corner that I found very difficult to get back out of. Thus I now vent in my notebook and in e-mails bts before I come out publicly.
    Anyhow, it’s good to know that many people identify very strongly with many of Richard’s sentiments and thoughts. Even though I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a believer in the “virtuous Armitage” trope (as Serv calls it), I do think he’s a decent guy whose message of positivity is genuine and heart-felt. I just hope it won’t be misused in the spirit of negativity.

    • jollytr says:

      Wow – you have touched my heart and opened my eyes. It’s my ‘normal’ to feel before thinking and that’s something which has taken a lifetime to recognize and to begin to mitigate against.

      I’ve seen honest feelings which indicate that if you agree/disagree you are a lesser/better fan. I hate that. There is no Best in Show for fans. It appears that no matter what one thinks, there will be an opposite reaction and while I don’t think opposites are negative, sometimes the expression of them are, though. And I say that while looking hard at myself in the mirror.

      There was a video the boys watched a lot when they were little which had the message of “don’t lift yourself up by putting others down”. A pretty standard concept.

      I hate that I’ve done that. I hate that the expression of agreement can be done is such a way as to be a criticism of those who’ve disagreed or done insensitively to those who’ve disagreed. The sword cuts both ways and I’d do well to remember that a little better. There’s a whole bunch of unpleasant irony in this … negative reaction to negative reactions causes a negative reaction.

      I love that we can talk about these things and learn from each other. I love that every time I read your words I learn something new or think about things in a slightly different way. I freaking love that!!!

      I haven’t quite digested the nuances of the Virtual Armitage trope so am not sure I’m a card carrying believer either. I smile and nod in agreement that I too think he’s a decent guy who is being genuine and I dearly hope his thoughts and words won’t be used for fan policing or the ever-revolting WWRT (what would Richard think).

      THANK YOU for sharing your thoughts and experiences Guylty. xo

      • Guylty says:

        Jolly, you sweet thing, you always give me far too much credit! But I can only say one thing – I really appreciated reading your post because it was honest, self-critical and showed itself open to discussion. I felt that you would not feel outraged if I disclosed *my* view of the various approaches that are currently being discussed, and I thank you for that. You made it clear that you did not necessarily believe your approach was the only valid one, and that is exactly what I needed to hear.
        I am very glad that we can discuss this, and understand each other better – and realize that there is not always inherent criticism in expressing a different opinion. (Of course we *know* that, rationally, but it is easy to forget that in the heat of the moment.) And hey, we agree on the bottom line – which, if I may point that out, even the harshest of critics seem to do, too: He’s decent and means well. As I said, I personally like to concentrate on that, and use it as a springboard for constructive criticism or for developing understanding in the wider community. But that is just me, “Big Mama Bear”. We’ll see if that is possible…

      • jollytr says:

        *great big huge ginormous hugs*

    • Servetus says:

      clarification: when I say “virtuous Armitage” is a trope (as I assume you know, but maybe not everyone reading this does), I don’t mean that it’s a lie, that he’s pretending to be virtuous when he isn’t, or that it is only a picture created for us. He may in fact also be virtuous (according to his own definition of that, or someone else’s), although our evidence of that is limited and highly questionable, given that we’re dealing with the entertainment press for 98 of it. My point, rather, and solely, is that each of us interact with a picture of him that we have developed — me, you, everyone — based not only on what we have read, but crucially on how we understand what we have read, and the pieces of that which are important to us in particular — and for some people that piece of the picture is centrally important and cannot be questioned.

      For a lot of people about three years ago, for instance, “”I want to be left alone” Armitage” was a really important trope and a group of fans insisted it would be rude to ask him for an autograph if one saw him somewhere because they argued, based on evidence they got from the entertainment press, that Armitage disliked interacting with fans and saw it as something he’d rather avoid, so that acknowledging his presence anywhere outside a formally organized situation constituted a trespass on his needs and desires. That trope seems to have faded in importance to the fans whose remarks I read on the internet, probably because he has appeared a lot in public, signed a lot of autographs, and did that whole stage door thing since then, i.e., it is now hard to make the claim that he’d rather not ever speak to a fan. But “fan friendly Armitage” is equally a trope, a trend or a pattern in a picture that we draw of him because that picture has important elements to us.

      In my case, I acknowledge freely that I draw a picture of him that is then real to me and supports important purposes for me. Part of the problem is that many fans think their picture of him is real beyond being “real to them.” So those fans who disagree are disagreeing not only with what they say is “real” about Armitage (he really is virtuous and you’re saying he isn’t) but also with their pictures of him (you’re saying my picture of him is wrong), and IMO the latter is the thing that causes most of the problem. Not least because it’s hard to acknowledge that one’s picture is “only” a picture.

      • jollytr says:

        I think you’ve hit bullseyes.

        I was talking to a friend recently about RPF, which many object to on moral grounds. I’ve tried to work out why I don’t share that objection. To me, the RA character in any story is as fictitious as the original characters. I never see the RA character as RA (except Another Unexpected Journey by shieldmaidenofscotland which feels closer than any other I’ve ever read). That carries over to the rest of my fan experience too – my image of RA is a product of my very active, romantic imagination. I’m pretty sure I’ve not ever seen him as wholly himself as opposed to Public RA. The guy I make gifs of, write stories about, smile over, and react to is a mirage. I like to think that both Public RA and my version bear more than just physical resemblance to the real fellow but will never know – unless he does something so out of assumed character that it shakes the foundations of his legend. That being said, as you’ve noted above, I don’t think Public RA is a lie or pretense – perhaps it’s a restricted peek at a small portion of the whole RA.

        I think that’s why I may take criticism of him too personally. I’ve invested him with morals and qualities that I admire and aspire to so criticizing those is criticizing me and my creation. Recognizing that SHOULD mean that I not remain immature or naive in my understanding and reaction of such things. Should being the operative word. I feel before I reason … and sometimes the two are inseparable.

        You’ve given me lots of good things to think about.

      • Servetus says:

        oh, and yeah, IMO there’s nothing objectionable about most of the RPF I have read is “is it legitimate to write fictional stories about real people?” You’re not writing about him, but about a character. I can think of other reasons that RPF occasionally troubles me, but I’m not bothered on that account.

      • Guylty says:

        In a nut-shell – there is 1 real Armitage (whom we don’t know) and many “meta-Armitages”, one of which is “virtuous Armitage”…
        Oh, and completely d’accord – I think every fan has an individual picture of Armitage. Even the “virtuous Armitage” is different in everybody’s mind…

  8. Carole says:

    Agree with you, jollytr!

    For someone to say that his ‘preaching’ – ‘does really play havoc with the things about my picture of him that are centrally important to me’ probably actually sums up why some people seem to have taken offence (and picked at his grammar – come one, was that really that important in the great scheme of things?) at what he says – for them making these Cybersmile tweets/interviews, he stopped being the person they wanted him to be. Note that many of the naysayers were also the first to comment on how glad they were to see him back to his ‘dorky’ self when he posted the ‘Saturn’ tweet image.

    This says far more about those posters than about RA.

    Basically, he’s a bloke, an actor, who with what ‘celebrity/visibility’ he has, is trying to help make things better for people who are being cyber-bullied. He should be applauded for at least having a go!

  9. Servetus says:

    re: reality and RA — having lived a public life on a small scale for fifteen years (in that, e.g., things my colleagues and I did, like our primary votes, could and did become the topic of debate in the local newspaper), my take on it is that I knew some things about myself were absolutely palatable and some things were absolutely unpalatable, and most things fell in between. I did not hide the palatable things, I absolutely hid the unpalatable ones, and the ones in between that I was not willing to change (e.g., political opinions) I worked to shape so they were either unobjectionable or more hidden. It’s not in the interest of someone who lives an intensely public life as he does to let negative things about him be known, or even things that might be perceived as negative by some people. It gets in the way of what he’s trying to do. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does mean that assuming that everything we read about him in the press constitutes an accurate picture of him is a risky strategy.

    • jollytr says:

      That makes sense – I’m keen to remember that my idea of him is of my own making but hopefully consistent with the fellow we’ve seen and heard and consistent with that amount of him he’s willing to show the world. But then again, mostly I don’t really think much at all – I just swoon πŸ˜‰

  10. KellyDS says:

    something that has been confusing to me throughout these Cybersmile related discussions is: why is offering words of encouragement or suggestions on how to better deal w/negative dealings online, seen as “preaching”? a lot of people struggle with these issues and if someone is an ambassador for an organization that is addressing those very issues it would seem logical to me that this person would offer some tidbits in that direction. I don’t see that as telling anyone what to do, or trying to push opinions on anyone. I see it as helpful advice to those who might be seeking it. for those who aren’t seeking it? it wasn’t meant for you, so carry on :/

    • Servetus says:

      I call it preaching because it is moral(istic) exhortation that urges its recipients toward a particular end. As far as whether one should ignore it or not, I’m not taking it seriously in the sense of letting it change my life. At the same time, whether or not it is directed at me, it has consequences for me if I continue to interact with other Richard Armitage fans. It already has.

      • KellyDS says:

        would you feel the same if it just so happened to be points you already agreed with?

      • Servetus says:

        yes, I would, and in fact I said that in November 2013, when it was charged within the fandom that the reason fans like me weren’t upset about his political statements was that we agreed with them. In fact, I rarely agree 100% with anything he has said about stuff that doesn’t have to do with acting and art, and it would be surprising if I did. I didn’t call that stuff “preaching” because it didn’t exhort others to take a particular action based a moral stance that it was urging; it only stated his own feelings about certain things, but if in my opinion he had been exhorting people towards moral ends, it would have bothered me. To me, that’s a key difference in types of speech. (I could say more about this but I will spare Jollytry’s comments box). I do think some people thought that those statements constituted preaching, though. I leave their definition up to them.

      • jollytr says:

        Hmmmm. I have to think on this. My gut reaction isn’t the same. I’ve read what he’s written as sharing personal experience to demonstrate empathy and in doing so, he establishes a certain credibility in offering a wide selection of potential ways to deal with being on the receiving end of bullying and some ways that might work to assess if one is bullying others. I don’t think of helping people to deal with bullying as preaching.

        Perhaps I differ from you in this because I don’t see bullying to be a moralistic issue but a pseudo-legal one. Bullying is an odd cocktail of slander, libel and assault and calling for an end to it isn’t moralistic to me. Living in a place where one is free from fear of verbal assault runs deeper than norms, mores or folkways. Saying “here are some things to do if you’re bullied” is akin to “here are some things to do if you are being assaulted.” Saying “here are some things you might consider to evaluate your own actions” is akin to “here are some ways to prevent yourself from assaulting others”.

        I think this comes to the issue of definitions, which has been a sticking point for some. What is bullying? What is preaching? How we intuitively define those behaviours may differ from person to person.

        My challenge is to find a balance between respecting divergent opinions and not reacting when I actually see ones that greatly differ from my own.

        Aye, there’s the rub.

      • Servetus says:

        yeah, but he’s also saying “this is how you should behave.” Everything he’s said has a component of that included. I think most of the tips he gives are questionable in that one should do in any bullying situation is highly dependent on context, but that doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is the exhortation about behavior: “say something worth saying,” “turn the other check,” and so on. Those things are not separate from any encouragement that he might be giving.

      • Servetus says:

        And I guess I’d add — notwithstanding your feelings (and I’m fairly close to you, I think, except that I think the law is behind the times on this question in the US), I don’t see a lot of indication in what he says that *he* views bullying or cyberbullying as a legal issue. If he did, a lot of what he has said would not be relevant. Saying something that hurts someone’s feelings, making a joke at someone’s expense — these things may be bullying but they do not cross legal lines. If he wanted to talk about legal issues or address bullying as a legal issue, then he would need a definition of which behavior is illegal. CS is not focused on that either — it is focused on the “positivity” side of the question.

      • jollytr says:

        I see what you mean. My completely non-scientific and non OED understanding of bullying is part of the lens through which I view (and interpret) his comments. It hadn’t occurred to me to see ‘turn the other cheek’ or ‘say something worth saying’ as anything other than tips if you find yourself in a sticky spot – or about to create a sticky spot. It could be rather intolerable if his words were an exhortation for everyone to become a transcendent sort of spiritual being with morality defined solely by him.

        I am quite fond of freedom of conscience (guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms). I can think like the biggest arse in the world if I want to and will resist anyone who tries to mold me into an ideal citizen. But if I put those thoughts into words or actions that tangibly hurt others (except the government), then that’s another kettle of fish.

        Maybe that’s where my angst is lies. I ardently believe in everyone’s right to think whatever they want, and saying it up to a point and that point is scientifically and objectively demarcated by whatever makes me feel ooogey.

      • Servetus says:

        I just really don’t think that disagreeing with someone, even doing it vehemently, constitutes preventing him from speaking. I (can’t speak for others) don’t put what I say in his path by tweeting it at him; although I’ve been following the responses to his Tweets, and although there are people who are openly disagreeing with him via Twitter, no one whom I have seen is doing it in a way that implies he should shut up. No one questions that he has the right to tweet what he wants. No one who disagrees with what he says is questioning that, notwithstanding the fact that *he* is clearly saying (paraphrasing) “there are things one should not say on social media.” I don’t think the people who disagree with him are in the weaker position with regard to protecting free speech.

        on the whole “what makes me feel oogey” question — to me this is an essential characteristic of free speech — it was a remark that Rosa Luxemburg made about a century ago (“freedom is always the freedom of the person who thinks differently”). Essentially I know I am defending free speech as such when I defend the speech of someone who disagrees with me or who makes me uncomfortable. I don’t have to rise up in indignation to defend the speech of someone I agree with, because it is unobjectionable to me. If that speech is somehow under threat, then I know it is the speech of someone who thinks differently.

    • jollytr says:

      That has puzzled me too. While I don’t expect him to be an expert, I do expect him to address the concept. For me, it’s a bonus that it’s in his own words and not a “press release” that’s been buffed and polished by the experts. I’d venture a guess that he might have asked some questions but it feels like it was his message. Like you, I expect him to talk about it, share ideas, share opinions, make it personal and real. For what it’s worth, I don’t blindly agree with absolutely everything he said but it doesn’t taint the rest of his messages. I admire and respect the attempt to put something hopeful and helpful out into the world. Often familiarity breeds contempt, but in the case of RA, the more we see, the more I respect.

      • KellyDS says:

        yes, I take what I can take from it and leave the rest. I realize that there are some who will follow blindly wherever he leads, whether that concerns preferences in literature and music, politics, or how one behaves online; he’s going to influence, whether he means to or not. I think we’re all responsible for our own actions though, no matter who is influencing us.

      • Servetus says:

        I would have agreed with you on the last point till this week. 😦

  11. NYCPAT says:

    Jolly, you’ve really helped me with this post. I have been struggling with this issue myself. The views you have expressed here are very much what I think as well. Thank you for expressing them so articulately!! I was wondering to myself why I react so strongly to negative views fans express about RA. Part of it may be that I identify with what he’s expressing, but part of it is also that it feels unfair. He isn’t in a position to defend himself. If someone disagrees with me, I can respond and explain. He can’t. And even then the limitations imposed when tweeting is involved make it very difficult for anyone to actually discuss something. So misunderstanding becomes magnified. I’m so glad this issue is being discussed.

    • jollytr says:

      Thank you Pat!

      This has felt much like being gathered around the table having a glass of port/wine/coffee after dinner and talking about the issues of the day. Relaxed, a little passionate, open minded and respectful.

      You’re absolutely right that Twitter and the nature of celebrity doesn’t provide for a discussion forum and he can’t contribute anything but a conversation starter. He can’t respond or even really clarify and is in a bit of a no-win situation. He starts topics both intentionally and unintentionally and then has to sit back and watch the melee.

      Perhaps the discussion in places like this and on all the other blogs, forums and boards is the whole point. Once we get past talking about the messenger, we can talk about the message. He has us talking and that’s pretty cool.

  12. Hariclea says:

    Thanks for putting your thoughts across so eloquently. I didn’t feel exactly the same but did feel similar, particularly on the people pleasing point. But it was because I have been ridiculed on that point myself in the past too. You have quite rightly pointed out that we react to what he says through our own personal filter of experience.
    It does help as you say to be on holiday πŸ™‚ it was good I had distance preventing me too in getting in it. I don’t regret stepping away and actually it was a good reminder to take a breath and think of the big picture before saying anything especially if it is likely to be just a very personal view.
    But I’m also conscious that I’ve had the learning experience of fandom and disagreeing strongly does not make me suffer because I started this with a premise of imperfection strongly in mind. I support his decision for action but don’t mind having a very different opinion on some things he expresses. For as long as my lax picture if him doesn’t fall completely to pieces I’ve made it very easy for myself and painted it in only shades of grey or well, a lot of grey πŸ˜‰ there is a lot of white too otherwise I’d have nothing to admire πŸ˜‰
    And because actions matter to me more than words I try to look at those first.
    But I think there is nothing wrong with allowing ourselves to like him and view him in our individual ways πŸ™‚ there are many ways of like and it is a pity people can’t leave other people be to find their way to AR , there is no right or wrong, there is just personal πŸ™‚ this is not a religion and there are no rules whatever people may want to think πŸ˜‰

    • Servetus says:

      Clarification, because I’ve seen this come up a few times now: for me, anyway, it’s not an issue of perfection. (I’ve taken it on the chin a few too many times for pointing out his imperfections for that to be the issue for me.) I don’t think I had him on a pedestal. On the contrary.

      • Hariclea says:

        Didn’t mean you S πŸ™‚ I know you don’t, but I think most fans do, it is what fans do, idealise and worship a lot. Its neither good nor bad, just the way it is I think most of the time. A lot of hurt can come from that place and I think the more the real person is seen or contact happens the more the risk of hurt increases just as worship becomes stronger. Not always but it’s quite common in my experience. With exceptions πŸ™‚

    • jollytr says:

      I really love what you said ” I support his decision for action but don’t mind having a very different opinion on some things he expresses.”

      I leave open the possibility of really objecting to something he says but as has happened so far, my disagreements have been more along the lines of interesting dinner conversation topics. I keep wondering if/when he will do or say something I can really take umbrage with – I love a passionate debate. No luck so far.

      You’ve said something so very true and yet it is far too easy to forget – there are many ways of liking him and we should leave others to find their own way.

      Sometimes I forget that because I perceive that the expressions of others’ thoughts and opinions collide with mine – sometimes with positive and other times with negative reactions.

      I’m not immune to petulant and grumpy reactions when me or my way are criticized. I hope I’m doing better with this than last year and will do better yet next year. Growing up and maturing is HARD WORK and I’m not sure I’m very good at it πŸ˜‰

      • Hariclea says:

        i don’t think our reactions are petulant or immature at all πŸ™‚ For me it is just part of feeling very strongly about something, though it is not easy to admit to oneself one cares quite as much about a person so remote from ones own life. Or at least i had difficulties admitting that. I too get grumpy and sensitive but also very happy about the stuff i care about πŸ˜‰
        For some things i hope we never grow up entirely! I think if we were able to be detached about all of this we’d loose some of the wonderful passion that comes with it and i wouldn’t want that.
        In this case i just recognise some patterns of behaviours because of ‘been there, done that’. I just got slightly better at avoiding the traps of my own emotions and know where not to go where fan reactions are concerned. The impulse doesn’t go away πŸ˜‰ We just learn to recognise it faster and take a step back before we act on it. I’d rather not show you the grey hairs it cost me to get there πŸ˜€

      • jollytr says:

        Okay … so my question is this: Where have you been all my life? Why am I only meeting you now because you could have saved thousands of dollars in therapy bills πŸ˜€ I love the way you think and express yourself!
        PS It is highly improbable that I will ever truly grow up or lose the “heart on my sleeve” character. It’s a goal to recognize patterns, red buttons, and control impulses a little better πŸ˜€ With the ability to feel great joy comes the ability to feel great frustration and sorrow too – can’t sacrifice the former for the latter!

      • Hariclea says:

        LOL Aww thanks, i feel the same way reading you πŸ™‚ So with you on the PS… mind you i see thing level now, but i wish i could say i’ve always been rational and well behaved πŸ˜‰ Sadly no πŸ™‚ But i guess as you say no pain, no gain and no joy πŸ™‚ I do hope there is more joy to be had around than pain though πŸ™‚ And i have to say a lot of the current relaxed feeling comes from just being off holiday and the 1 year anniversary of the C approaching, i can’t think back on last summer and not smile πŸ™‚

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