I haven’t figured out how to embed Keke Palmer’s dumb tweet and Richard Armitage’s dumber retweet of it into my blog. But then I’m too annoyed to work on it. If you really want to see it, look here and here. Here’s my imaginary message to his retweet:
What in the hell is wrong with you? I know defenders will say “but he’s British!” and therefore doesn’t know but you’ve been in this country long enough. Keke Palmer might think she’s hip and edgy using the N word but being black doesn’t make it any more acceptable. It’s a derogatory term and no supposed “re-appropriating” of the word makes it any more palatable no matter the spelling. It’s still a derogatory racist slave epithet and will always be one. This is an ongoing big bone of contention in the African American community. Personally I think it’s a hallmark of colossal ignorance.
And you, my white friend, don’t get to use it, retweet it or anything else. Don’t add to the confusion and perpetuate the ignorance.
Richard Armitage as Francis Dolarhyde displaying the latest in skintight briefs. From the series Hannibal.
Hello class. How’s your week been? Did you enjoy last week’s nose study? Well, we wouldn’t be at out objectifying best if we didn’t examine other…erm…areas. For science, you know. During my blogging absence, I continue to track Richard Armitage’s roles, including that of Dolarhyde in Hannibal. Luckily or not (your mileage may vary), I was already watching the show. In preparing for class, I came across an article describing the character as “sensual and empathetic,” not words I would have used.
But what’s important is that RA was “half undressed most of the time.” No I’m not criticizing his acting; it was quite good. However the character proved quite intense and violent which made viewing a bit daunting. Hence, I enjoyed the time he was on screen clad in nothing but nice tight black briefs.
This isn’t the greatest screen shot but RA here still appears as fit as he was as Guy 10 years ago, but let’s be sure. Shall we? Perky pecs? Check. Chiseled abs? Oh yes. Waxed chest? Yes please. Long finely muscled arms? Mmm hmm. Looks slightly heavier than the lean Guy days but perfectly acceptable.
But wait – is that a slight burgeoning love handle? Personally I think the briefs are so tight that they are cutting him in just a tad at the waist. The verdict? I think RA still looks pretty fine at his age, or for any age.
Courtesy of that hotel shoot. Please let me know which one so I can give credit.
So I combed through Pinterest of all places looking for photos and found another one from The Infamous Shoot. It’s another example of what should have been a stunning picture. Not that it’s bad, but RA appears either too lit up or wears too much make up. As it stands, this is one of the better photos from that shoot.
Welcome back class. One of the downsides of protracted absences is I lose the advantage to stir the pot, as it were. For instance, take the old news of Richard Armitage’s nose job that sneaked up on us way back in 2013. At the time, there was heated debate over whether it had actually occurred or that anybody would suggest it had. Clearly, he had a slight nose bob with the faintest shaving over the bridge bump. The change is subtle but obvious overall when seen from different angles. Great job, eh? I applaud the cosmetic surgeon who showed restraint in altering it from the allegedly “mean” and “sinister” looking (according to RA) to a more classically formed Caucasian nose.
Personally, I like the result. RA stated repeatedly that he never
Courtesy of Microlina on Tumblr
liked it but had become resigned to it because his mother discouraged him. It’s likely he finally did it to satisfy himself and gain access to more roles and advance his career. I say more power to him. If it makes him happy, then it’s all good.
Now that three years have passed and the heat has died down, what to you think? Is he better with the new nose or should he have left it alone? Is it too pointy and “Disney prince” like?
Well, hello class! Yes, AGAIN. I know I’ve been away quite a few times actually but think of it as your teacher taking sabbaticals for her – mental health. Please know that the blog will transition away from Richard Armitage as soon as I start cranking out original stuff – but not just yet. There are still issues I need to address about him. Let’s get on with the foolishness, shall we?
I’m as shallow as I’ve always been. I have the uncanny tendency to pick actors starting in their mid-30’s at the height of their masculine beauty then following them until their 40’s when they reach the cusp of youthfulness. Then it’s downhill from there and I kick him to the curb. Well, imagine my wistfulness when I beheld this picture from a last year’s photo shoot after being away for awhile. (This is not a great one but my source of current photos seems to have tried up.) At first glance, he’s quite the fit, handsome, dapper man. But look closer. Use a magnifying glass. The lines are more pronounced. The softness around the eyes is disappearing. The lips are paler. The jawline isn’t as firm. Yes, our Richard is aging.
Well, this may not be a shock to you, but it was to me after all this time. Now this ordinarily would not be a big deal. I’m sure many men would love looking like this at 45. But RA is an actor who doesn’t move in ordinary circles. His vocation idolizes youth and the ability to project youthfulness as long as possible. Here is he is just finally achieving wide success and The Powers That Be ordain that men his age should either move on from lead roles to action parts or secondary characters. He has reached the time when moisturizer is a given and dermabrasion is recommended. Dare I mention a facelift on the horizon? (Personally, male beauty care if fine, but I don’t like facelifts on men. It makes them look too artificial.)
I glanced at my WordPress dashboard and saw that this blog made it over the 500 posts mark at last – not a big deal when considering that it took six years. Analytics tell me that I posted in concentrated spurts the first few years, ramping up to the wild and crazy time from 2012-2014. But there were long periods when I didn’t post at all.
During those silent times, my fangirling evolved. Let me explain. Having spent over 25 years in various fandoms, I’ve experienced them as a process of phases. The first phase we all have experienced – the giddiness of discovering a new crush with the accompanying squeeing and desire to find like-minded souls. Then the girlishness progresses to an avid following. The infatuation stays strong but a bit of the breathlessness tapers off. Finally, there’s the third stage when the ardor wanes and heads down one of two roads. The first path leads out of fandom and fangirling – full stop – with the crush kicked to the curb. The second way continues to hold interest in the crush’s work, but the initial passion is gone.
After six years, I’ve hit the third phase. Mind you, I’ve not been the typical Richard Armitage fan. In fact, the ongoing joke has been me as an anti-fangurl who is the first to scream the emperor has no clothes. (And I’ve been a pretty fab anti-fangurl I might add). But alas, I’ve come to that fork in the road where the thrill is gone and I have to decide what happens next. Don’t get me wrong. I still like RA and enjoy his work. And he’s still easy on the eyes. But the lack of keen interest has made it difficult to blog about him as in the past. So should I close shop and move on? Should I direct my focus away from him? Can I write about him occasionally? If I stop, will I have any readership left? Can the blog survive a transition?
Most importantly, what becomes of The Man? I’m not being funny here. I enjoyed writing the series; it exercised my writing muscle and entertained the fan readership at the same time. However, the inspiration behind the series *cough* may have been a certain actor *cough*. Can I find the MIA muse and bring it back? Will the readership stick around for fiction having nothing to do with their crush? At this point, I have no answer to any of these questions. There’s just a persistent feeling that something has to give.
I welcome feedback here. Please let me know what you think or if there’s a happy compromise.
Yes I’m back from NYC (with no picante sauce). Have been trying to get my thoughts together about Love, Love, Love but the political change has come as a shock. However, this is the U.S. process and something I will have to accept. I’m giving myself a little time to grieve and ruminate about where we’re heading and what I can do. As soon as I sort things out, I’ll review the play and Richard Armitage’s performances.
In the meantime, here’s a video of the November 5, 2016 stage door.
Zan and I had tickets for Saturday night to see Love, Love, Love, so Friday night was free. So of course we went to the Laura Pels Theater to see if they just happened to have any extra tickets. Lo and behold, they did. Guess where we spent our evening?
Afterwards we met up follow attendee bloggers and piled into O’Brien’s across the street. Much talk, food and and drink was had by all.
In 2 1/2 months, I will celebrate my sixth blogiversary. Needless to say, I’ve evolved as a fan of Richard Armitage. Six years ago I enjoyed the rush of a newfound crush and seeking out his work, digging for pictures and videos, reading blogs, just being a typical fangurl.
Now, things have changed. It’s not like I’m no longer fan – don’t get me wrong – I still like him. However the euphoria has dissipated and I find myself more interested in the work than the man. A long time can go by without even a thought. Then the PR starts to crank and I look forward to seeing an upcoming project like Berlin Station or Love, Love, Love in New York City. I still participate in fandom but the reasons why I do so have changed.
But then a picture will come along and I’ll have to stop and look because – reasons. I’ve not gone blind, you know. *Cough.*
Welcome back to Foolish Friday, class! I know it’s been gone a long time, but it’s taken me this long to remember what I did on Fridays. But thanks to Bare-ChestedGate, my memory jogged and we can return to our regularly scheduled objectifying. Yes!
I just read that Richard Armitage has topped 70,000 followers on Weibo. In my eminently prepared style, I have no idea what Weibo is but assume it’s popular with non-English speakers. This got me to feeling slightly wistful that our RA has truly been discovered by the world; he’s no longer the obscure actor known only by the UK and its allies (unless that 70,000 are the same people on Twitter). We can no longer think of him as our little secret (well, except me). Our boy has burst forth from his cocoon and stands ready to fly away. That bit of overwrought prose had me looking through photos of the younger RA, when he was happy to get a small part. Thankfully, the younger RA offered prime objectifying material. Let’s have a look class.
This is Himself as Lee Preston in Cold Feet. While it’s not that picture, this rarely posted shot has a lot to offer. Notice the laid back youthfulness on the cusp of a man in his prime. The smoothness of the chest and abs contrasting with the hairiness of the forearms and reminding us that he waxes. The firmness of the jawline. Although people joke about speedos, I developed a new appreciation with his. Must have been the color.
Need to run and continue production work. Your homework is to find other aspects in this picture that the world needs to know. I know you can do it.
Richard Armitage as Lee in Cold Feet. Courtesy richardarmitagenet.com
[There was a recent to-do on Facebook that publication of half nude pictures of Richard Armitage from The Crucible were allegedly “objectifying” and “disrespectful.” It wasn’t the first time the complaints arose and won’t be the last, although critics seem to assume their protests have never before been heard. Four years ago, I wrote this piece about objectification after some fans complained, among a list of other things that supposedly didn’t honor him. It elicited such a nice discussion and so many hits that it would be nice to start a new dialogue.]
“Callipygian is a word coined by the ancient Greeks (‘kallipygos’) that means ‘having beautiful buttocks.” This picture was associated with that reference:
A nice example of beautiful buttocks. Courtesy RichardArmitageNet.com
This screen capture is of course Richard Armitage in Ultimate Force. Ancient Greeks would say he is quite callipygian. Now this type of talk in the modern age raises protests of objectification. My question is: why does that have to be so?
Ancient antiquity has always depicted nude image and statues of the human form.
(l) Greek male nude (r) Replica of nude male wrestlers. Both quite nude. Courtesy of Greek Museum Authority
The human form has always been considered a source of nature beauty, sculpted and painted for ages. It’s certainly safe to say that because artists could not take actual human being and freeze them in time, they froze them through other media. The following picture of Michelangelo’s “David,” sculpted circa 1501, is considered a masterpiece:
Michelangelo’s “David.” Courtesy of Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence
Millions of tourists flock to see this statue. Nobody would say (other than the must repressed prurient type) that it’s improper to admire and even study this work of art. People would certainly say “David” is callipygian even though it’s an idealized medieval depiction of a human male. Nobody could convincingly argue that Michelangelo objectified the human form unless they believe that all nudity is inappropriate. Since that’s not my premise, I won’t answer that argument since it takes us down the road of morality and personal taste which I’m not discussing here.
So why do fans become uncomfortable when viewing this picture? It caused quite a stir when first published:
Richard Armitage as Lucas festooned in tattoos. Would you say this form isn’t view-worthy? Courtesy RichardArmitageNet.com
I observe similar lines and muscles depicted in the idealized statues. If fact, the real human form is more beautiful because it shows the real flawed form, not simply an idealization. Does viewing his form suddenly become objectification because he’s a living man? Is it improper to also say he’s callipygian here? I argue no.
Sexual objectification arises when a person is viewed as an sexual object or only as one. I have yet to find any fan forum where RA’s artistry and personality isn’t also discussed in detail. He is not seen solely as an object of lust. However, it’s self-delusional to say that he shouldn’t be viewed as the sexy man he is. Human beings are sexual creatures; this is how we have the drive to reproduce our species (or not, as the case may be). We are hard-wired to perv each other. We sexually objectify each other to a degree on an instinctual level. We view the human form as desirable and have since probably cave man times. This form has been frankly depicted since antiquity. The fact that the modern media makes it possible to photograph the human form in real time doesn’t change anything.
I’m always amused when women protest the loudest that men should not be objectified because it implies a hypocrisy in protesting against female objectification. I have problems with female objectification only to the extent that it’s used for exploitation. When that’s not the case, I have no issue if Halle Berry’s fans consider her the epitome of beauty. Conversely I have no problem with male objectification and feel no shame and admiring male beauty. Is RA being exploited? He is a grown man who made informed choices to appear in roles requiring undress. I don’t believe it’s for us to question his judgment as to whether that undress was integral to the story or gratuitous. I’m comfortable respecting his decisions as to whether he considers himself exploited or not. I can safely assume he would not take a role he deemed exploitative. Even if he did, it was still his decision. So, I feel free to say that RA’s is callipygian in particular and gorgeous in general without any need to justify.
Here’s an absolutely callipygian screen cap:
Richard Armitage as Paul in Between the Sheets. Callipygian, no? My screen cap.
Very callipygian. Yes? Richard Armitage as Lucas North. Donated artistic screen cap.
What, no? Does it really make a difference that this is a screen cap of a real man playing a fictional role in a fictional series? What if RA decided to pose nude as himself? I don’t think this picture is less worthy of being admired than if a sculptor made an approved marble statue of his bum or his body and placed it in a museum. As a straight sexual female, I will admire his body no matter what form it took.
I’m amused every time the objectification issue arises. When the above tatted picture surfaced, fans drooled but always rushed to add they also admired RA’s work and personality lest they be accused of objectification, although this was understood by everybody. I find all this protestation unnecessary. It’s time to drop that veil of political correctness and just be honest as fans. We like to look up RA’s form because it’s beautiful and desirable.
[The 4th anniversary of my “accidental” blog passed on December 28th. It was a very change filled interesting year to say the least. Surprising of all was how Real Life and fandom collided in such an unexpected way. I wrote this piece several months ago, thinking I would use it to conclude a series about The Crucible. However in a way it summarizes the mishmash of thoughts inspired over the past year. It’s a good time to share it now.]
I spent last night with a friend discussing how a series of events have been clicking into place, one after other, like dominoes falling, hitting the next one and the next, cascading down the line as they needed to. She suggested that the dominoes may always have been there, waiting for the right angle for me to see them – pointing the way to what I needed. I’d bought the tickets to see The Crucible on September 10th and 11th, knowing I’d probably not be able to go. For months, I said I’d go only if A, B, and C happened – in order by September 5th. As time went on, chances grew slimmer and slimmer. But then amazing things happened.
I thought it started in June with a friend rushing over to help sort my financial mess. Click. All caused by my illness and subsequent retirement. Click click. Calling the realtor I’d consulted the year before who immediately leaped in the cash breach of fixing up the condo. Click. Rousing out of my inertia to whip the place into shape (no small feat). Click. Signing the listing agreement and going live in 12 days. Click. Finding a seller in just 11 days. Click. Being housed and supported by incredible friends pending the move and closing. Click. Weathering a bumpy process but finally closing on September 5th. Click. Booking a flight, room and flying to London in three days flat. Click. Moving about town despite being in physically bad shape. Click.
All to see a play right?
Picture or it didn’t happen. Richard Armitage and me. 92nd ST Y, NYC.
That wasn’t the big domino. To explain I’ll have to back up – to my childhood. Amidst all the dysfunctional drama, I came away feeling like I didn’t matter, as if I were invisible. Of course as an adult (and with lots of therapy), I understood it wasn’t true but the realization never sank past a superficial level. That critical inner voice always whispered otherwise; and I had to keep correcting that tape again and again. This explains why I was so disconcerted at the Proust cast party when Richard Armitage kept watching me and Zan. After all, how could my crush display any curiosity towards me? I felt – naked – in my glaring visibility. His glances said: I see you. Who are you? Subconsciously, it confused me that he would think I mattered enough to inspire curiosity.
After the party, the inner voice returned, brushing the episode aside: he just wondered what the hell both of us were doing there. Who was I after all. Running up to London, I half-feared he might remember me. He’d seen me long enough at the party. What if he knew I was *gasp* a fan? (After all, if your crush remembers you’re a fan, it’s hard to really deny it, ya know?). Oh no, they said. He meets hundreds of people. You’re good. So part of me wanted to be safe in my perceived invisibility. Seems a bit ridiculous, but this is what I told myself.
During the first two stage doors, he was still too emotionally enmeshed in his role to interact fully with the fans. A veil existed between him and us. He kept his head down, uttered thanks somewhat robot-like, and scrawled his autograph. However after the last performance, he dropped the character and was fully present. I observed him animatedly replying to fans but not speaking first.
I expected maybe a fleeting eye contact and a signature. Instead, he glanced at me fleetingly, look down, began to write, looked back up at me and said: hello. And waited for me to answer.
I’m sure that inner voice died of shock. Surely in that moment, my mind was a void. I thought nothing, heard nothing, and saw only two blue eyes staring at me, judiang in the flesh dressed in a black coat standing on a small sidewalk outside a London theater, recognized, awaiting a simple reply. I see you. I remember you. Hi there. I reflexively answered hello back. And it was over. I turned to my grinning London friend. “Why didn’t you tell me he’d recognize me?” I exclaimed. “Because, I knew he would,” she answered, as if to say: why not – you needed that to happen.
So me, the anti-fangurl, went to London and what I unwittingly got from the crush himself was – inarguable validation. It’s pretty hard to think I’m invisible and don’t matter when the crush somehow remembers me months later, does a double-take and speaks first. I haven’t heard that particular inner voice since. Click.
Don’t forget, my friend said, that couldn’t have happened had not been for the Proust party. Click.
So after years of therapy, I learned a final lesson in accepting my value as a person. And it makes it easier to accept others’ good estimation and opinion of me.
Sadly at the home under the weather today. The upside is that I can concentrate on writing. Since my 4th blogversary passed December 28th, I may have something to share tomorrow.
What’s not to love about this pic of Richard Armitage? There’s the longer hair, the long side burns, the stubble, the profile, the smile -did I mention the LONGER HAIR? (Call me old school, but he looks better with some hair to soften the angular face.) Most of all, he’s at work, showing us a bit of the magic.
Richard Armitage reading Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Novel. Courtesy of A.J. Hartley
Just a quickie post. Have started the volunteer work for my friend and hours are very early and very late. Still searching for an opportune time to write. In the meantime, I know what you come here for.
Richard Armitage being the best Guy he knows how. Courtesy richardarmitagenet.com
Richard Armitage sits at a curious place in his career. Usually leading actors his age have already been cast in sensitive dramas and romances apparently reserved for the twenty and thirty-something talent. These actors have already enjoyed the benefits (or pitfalls) of being an international A-lister. By the early middle-age, caster directors start funneling them into action hero roles in preparation for the slide into secondary character roles. But RA has been a late bloomer in his career; he didn’t breakout on the UK scene until his early 30’s with North & South and was not a recognizable name until Spooks. The Hobbit trilogy shot him onto the international scene as a potential regular A-lister in his early forties. Casting lightning struck.
Despite what has seemed to be a phenomenal stroke of good luck, let’s not forget that despite RA’s statements implying that he’s not really plotting his career but going where offers take him, he’s still an actor with an actor’s ambitions -he’s plotting his career. (Notice the willingness to do extra Hobbit PR, careful coaching, moving to the US, hiring a dresser, etc.). He has never been the demure, shy, unambitious, starving artiste some fans have fantasized him to be.
The question now becomes: can he garner a spot in the top tier and buck the trend of middle-age stall out by rising, not falling, in status? It remains to be seen. While RA received favorable reviews for The Hobbit, these films still unfortunately don’t enjoy the same critical acclaim in film circles, as evidenced by the anticipated Oscar snub. However, it did upgrade him from the so called “TV actor” and afforded him more parts from which to choose. Whatever direction he jumped would have an enormous impact on the future of his career.
Casting lightning struck again when he acted in The Crucible to great reviews under the direction of renown Yael Farber. This gave him more status and visibility on the international stage. His career is primed for what? More stage work? Films? Today, it was announced that RA will play a serial killer in NBC’s Hannibal. While this was a return to TV, an American show provides high public visibility on the way to the holy grail – an A-list film career. So, he’s coming full circle again, but with higher stakes.
Back when he was rarely seen and did very little between filming the Hobbit movies, I wondered if he had failed to strike while the iron was hot and that his PR people had fallen down on the job. Clearly, that’s not been the case. He and his people have been very carefully and methodically planning and waiting for The Next Big Move instead of taking the first thing to come along. He’s proving quite adept at the waiting game. I watch his career now with great interest indeed. If he continues to play his cards right, he could be touted as The Next Big Thing.
When Richard Armitage popped onto the Twitter scene August 22nd, his birthday no less, fandom collectively swooned. Most couldn’t believe he’d gone and done it, despite statements that he “didn’t understand [Twitter].” Some welcomed him, happy to have him onboard, curious about what he would say, and grateful to have any perceived interaction with him. Naysayers dreaded what could happen, fretting that he would lose his aura of mystery, that the more rabid fans would bother him, that he would be able to see and track the ongoings-on meant for fan eyes only.
In the almost five months, since RA started Twitter, fandom has – essentially remained the same. We did not band together behind our crush to become one big happy peaceful family. With such a diverse lot, that could never happen. He still retains his mystery. His selfies, jokes, and charity pitches are at the heart no different from those he messaged frequently in years past and reveal no more than what he wants to show us. Do we really know more than he’s a dorky guy with a quirky sense of humor, a taste for philanthropy and extreme sport, and a busy work schedule? Not really. As for the rabid fans – every fandom has them. They troll his timeline and I’m sure he’s been warned to ignore them as he did when they contacted his agent. Does he see the fandom machinations? I’m sure his people have always kept a finger on the collective pulse; after all, we are the foundation of his livelihood. They have to notice whatever is posted to his timeline. But do they notice every fan spat and upheaval? I’ve always assumed even before Twitter that the answer is: probably but that he and his people have found it unwise and unproductive to become involved.
It’s been suggested that RA’s presence is harmful to fandom because Armitage Protection Mode types have come down harder on fans perceived to be disrespectful, offensive or somehow injurious to RA and thus hurt fandom creativity – a type of rally around Dear Leader attitude. While it’s true that some policing fans have seized the opportunity to supposedly get others in line, it’s important to remember that just because RA’s mode of contact has changed, the option to push back has not. There’s no need for a fan to tolerate browbeating just because “RA is in the house.” The same is true for what I call “The Happy Police.” These fans twist RA’s words to “be positive” and “lighthearted” to mean anything not in a fluffy happy vein is verboten because Dear Leader has allegedly spoken. I don’t believe that fandom as a consequence loses it’s ability to think and speak critically because RA joined Twitter. (That’s not to say that if RA himself said “Judiang, you’re out of bounds,” I wouldn’t back down (or leave). It is his fandom after all, not mine.) We still have our voices and will continue to have them. Nothing has really changed. Only the medium has.
So RA reached 100,000 followers today; fandom goes on.
By the way, I’m still waiting for the rest of the story to come true. You never know.
So I just missed the deadline for yesterday’s post. Ordinarily I write for the next day but this time, I’ve been leaving things until the night of that day’s post. Oddly since retiring, I’ve not fallen into a routine. Before, I fit my life into the limited free available after work. Blogging didn’t pose such a big problem; a three hour post-dinner deadline always loomed. Now with all the time in the world – you’d think I would write reams. That’s not been the case. After 25 years working, it’s hilarious to develop time management problems in retirement. This goes back to an issue I touched on last year. I spent my time always reacting to negative motivation on the job (i.e., work deadlines, micromanaging etc). Now I have to be proactive; all the impetus must come from within. But that’s one of the problems with/recovering from depression – finding the mysterious self-motivation.
Then I wonder about other people with illnesses who seem to have no problem in the respect. People like Stephen Fry who acts, produces, lectures, hosts, blogs, geeks, writes, advocates and seemingly has his fingers in every UK entertainment pie despite being bi-polar. Closer to home, The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson writes books and a hilarious bawdy off-kilter blog even with depressive and anxiety disorders. Both of these people manage to regiment their time quite well. Are they juggling many balls to stay ahead of their illnesses, or is The Secret keeping busy and productive with many things.
Maybe I’m suffering from too much time on my hands.
Since you made it this far, here’s a treat – a man who doesn’t have enough time on his hands. I’d love to ask him about time management.
Richard Armitage photo by Robert Ashcroft
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