Jas, The Anti-Fan

It’s Christmastime (Advent if you want to get technical) and for me that always means baking and candy making. This morning I’ve been working on Paleo peppermint patties. So, so, sooooo good! But anyway, while I was making the candy I had time to think. This post is basically me thinking aloud. I just need to think this through and in the past this blog has been a good place to do that.

So, the other night my good friend Snickers’ Mom sent me an email after a discussion we’d had saying that I might soon be the anti-fan blogger. Dear Judiang protested, “But I’m the anti-fan!” Love ya, Judiang. In response I told Judiang that the difference was snark versus legitimate anti-fan feelings.

Judiang told me she thinks I’ve moved into the disillusionment phase of fangirling. That I’ve gotten to the point where Richard Armitage is no longer some godlike creature on a pedestal to me, but a real person. So instead of just rolling with whatever he says or does, it gives me pause when something doesn’t sit quite right with me. I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days and while I get that that is a legitimate stage of this whole crazy fan experience, I don’t think it quite fits where I’m at for a couple of reasons. For one, I’ve never really had him on a pedestal. He’s always just been the smokin’ hot guy who has the sexiest voice I’ve ever heard and is also an amazing actor. I’ve never been delusional about him lacking flaws. Secondly, Judiang pointed out that she thinks RA is trying out a new persona. I won’t say anymore about that in case she wants to blog about it, but I think the new persona has more to do with my “anti-fan” status than disillusionment.

The anti-fan feelings started with my take on a couple of interviews where RA seemed dismissive of book fans to me. (I don’t want to rehash that, especially after another blogger informed me and all of her readers on her blog that she knows the subtext of my thoughts better than I do). I wouldn’t even class this as anti-fan, because while I didn’t care for what I perceived, it wasn’t that big of a deal. I certainly wasn’t angry just somewhat disappointed.

But then I saw the Cinemax interview. I don’t want to lay out what in the Cinemax interview made me angry, yes actually angry, with him because I don’t want to draw attention to something that might hurt a certain segment of fans if their interpretation matches mine. One friend felt as I did about the interview. A few others whose opinions I value thought he was joking.  If that’s the case, the joke was in poor taste…

…kind of like one of those photos that Josh Horowitz tweeted yesterday of himself with Richard. While that specific photo didn’t stir up painful feelings for me, I was seriously unhappy about how it affected at least two people I care greatly about in this fandom. In general, I support Richard’s right to say and do whatever the hell he wants. If he pisses me off that’s my problem not his. I wouldn’t go so far as to call that photo malicious, but certainly incredibly thoughtless and in extremely poor taste. I’m aware that Richard isn’t the first and he won’t be the last to mimic hanging himself with a tie. Another friend pointed out to me that Richard can’t possibly know what will trigger negative feelings from fans. In general I would agree with her. Anything could set anyone off in some way. But, and this is a big but, he’s a smart man. He should know that pretending to hang himself with a tie would be problematic and even hurtful for a lot of people.

I mentioned to Snickers’ Mom last night that part of me thinks RA is trying to emulate Martin Freeman, at least partially. It appears he might be trying to crack jokes and be more lighthearted and it just isn’t working quite right. I really hope that’s the case, because otherwise there have been some other unkind words thrown around about him in private that I won’t repeat here.

For the most part I really enjoyed the PR blitz this go round. But unfortunately the last few days have seen things that have stolen the joy from fangirling over Richard for me. Someone shared a new pic with me that I hadn’t seen yet last night and there were absolutely zero of the euphoric feelings that always come with  seeing a new pic of the man.

I find this all to be quite the dilemma. I’ve always said that I just want him to be free to be himself. I still want that for him and the more I think on this the more I realize it’s true. For his own sake he needs to be the person he wants to be and is. But it saddens me that it might come at the cost of my enjoyment in this fan thing.

Who knows, maybe by the next PR blitz he’ll have worked out the kinks in this new persona, if that’s what it is. But for now, here I am…Jas, the (very, very reluctant) anti-fan.


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18 thoughts on “Jas, The Anti-Fan

  1. Snickers' Mom

    I’m glad you were able to express your feelings and opinion, regardless of how popular it may or may not be. Certain things have been grating on me and I’m glad I’ve been spreading my fangurling around a bit. I am sure part of this is trying to find the image he wants to project and perhaps he is trying to tap into a younger, male audience. I guess today you can be thankful you’re not Al Pacino (check out the SKIP interview), LOL.

    • Thanks, Snick. I feel like it would be disingenuous to ooh and aah over the man when that’s the opposite of how I feel at the moment. So popular or not, this is what I needed to write. I think you are probably right about him trying to tap into a younger audience, especially with the tornado movie coming out next summer.

      Do I really want to watch the SKIP interview?

    • He mentioned a similar Al Pacino quip in the Empire magazine interview as well. His PR people have been slacking.

      • Snickers' Mom

        I didn’t realize/remember that. I guess they have been!

      • Could it have been one of those round table interviews like he did last year? I remember several “exclusive” interviews that were anything but exclusive.

  2. jazzbaby1

    I’m sure I don’t have to tell you guys what that picture triggered in me as I was pretty clear on my own blog. What is worse, though, is the fact that now I feel like I need to back off from the fandom, from you guys as my friends, in order to protect myself. Those pictures are everywhere, on Facebook, on Tumblr, etc. I spent part of my morning unsubscribing from a bunch of places both because of the photos themselves and the general tone of “oh, he’s so edgy.” If that’s the image he’s going for fabulous and more power to him and I’m the last person who’d tell him or you or anyone else to shut up. But there are consequences to your actions and speech, even symbolic speech, is an action.

    • Lots and lots of hugs, Jazzy.

      I intentionally didn’t link to that image and in hindsight I might have done better to have not described it either. I promise, I won’t be bring that one up again. I genuinely don’t think he even gave a thought to how that pic would hit people, but it doesn’t make it any less problematic. I suspect that one might be a learning experience for him. Or maybe it’s more a hope, because I as you say, lots of people are applauding him and calling him edgy. *fights the urge to roll her eyes*

  3. Kathie

    Kind of had a few issues too but I can’t imagine how heavy the crushing weight of the volume of interviews that he has done must be. There is a chance that, at some point, when he was tired and bored, he may have lost his equanimity and said or done a few things that were ill-advised. Personally, I decided to loosen my grip on the close focus on the microscope I had been using to examine his every word and action, and step away from the publicity for a while.

    • I do think that all the interviews would become wearing after a time. I decided after those photos yesterday that it was time to stop watching/reading interviews for a while.

  4. This is a really good post. There really is not anything about Richard that has annoyed me (so far), because I have never put him on a pedestal either. Richard is simply a man who is extraordinarily handsome and sexy to me. That does not mean he is perfect and without flaws. I had to cut back on commenting on certain blogs because if I said anything at all that was even remotely construed as being critical of him, I felt like I was getting my ass kicked. I just didn’t need that. I am a grown woman with the right to express myself.

    Yes, Richard can put his foot in his mouth sometimes, but who has not done that? I have heard him say one thing in an interview and than contradict himself in another. I don’t think any less of him. RA is a human being wading through this life like the rest of us. I honestly cannot understand it when people behave as if he is can never do any wrong. If he does, so what? The world won’t end and Richard will still be handsome, sexy and generally a wonderful person.

    Let me know what time the Paleo peppermint patties will be ready so I can come over. Or better yet, share the recipe.

    • Thanks, Xenia. I had some private conversations yesterday that made me really glad I did this post. I’m not the only one out there who has been feeling critical of him, but people aren’t open about it. I’m sure there are multiple reasons for that, but I suspect it’s at least in part to do that feeling you describe of getting your ass kicked by other fans for daring to say something that isn’t complimentary.

      I feel like, and this isn’t directed at you but it’s just a general observation, that’s there’s a lot of disingenuousness going on right now. Of course Richard is only human. And yeah, he’s going to put his foot in his mouth. But some of the things that rubbed people the wrong way have done so because they appeared insensitive, rude and one incident even cruel. Those are not just my words, but come from others I’ve talked to. In real life I know basically two kinds of people. Those who would respond to rude, cruel and insensitive comments and actions in two ways. 1. They’d at the very minimum say something along the lines of, “Hey, that wasn’t cool” to the offending party or 2. they wouldn’t say anything, but stew over the offenses until they eventually blew up. For my part, I lean more towards being the first type of person. And I don’t see why I should just give him a pass, like so many seem to be suggesting elsewhere.

      Sorry, I seem to have written you a rather long reply and most of it isn’t even for you, just me flushing out my thoughts!

      If you were closer I would share my peppermint patties with you! 😉

  5. I believe it’s totally okay to be anti-fan. It’s a balanced perspective of someone where you see the good and the bad, and you recognize that perspective without putting on rose-colored glasses. And there’s no reason why you should keep your thoughts to yourself. They’re all valid observations and one that I, to, share to a point and believe that if something someone else does or says bothers you, it’s best to get it out in the open instead of stewing about it.

    It’s unfortunate that many people, myself included, don’t feel free to share our views even in blog comments anymore. And when we do, it’s done with so much thought that sometimes I end up just hitting cancel and say, to hell with it. We’re all entitled to our opinions and I see visiting and commenting on blogs akin to visiting someone’s house – if the host considers us as pests regardless of what we do or say and tells us to leave, then that’s one house I’m not visiting again.

    • Hey, MM. Sorry it took me so long to reply. I’ve been out of town with a poor internet connection.

      I’m feeling less anti-fan after having been away from all this while visiting family for Christmas. But I agree, it’s good to have a balanced perspective and I don’t think anyone should have to hide their thoughts if they aren’t totally complimentary. It’s a shame that there are places where people are no longer free or at least feel as though they are no longer free to share their thoughts and feelings anymore. I’m with you on just not visiting those “houses” anymore. There seem to be a whole host of places within the fandom where people are still able to express themselves quite freely. I try to make my blog one of those places, although I know I fall short in this areas sometimes.

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