Posts Tagged With: Fandom

This time it really is goodbye.

I probably don’t really need to do this post, but I want to go out officially. This has been, for the most part, a wonderful ride. I’ve made some great friends and had tons of fun fangirling over a wonderful actor who seems to be a genuinely good person. I’ve learned some new skills as a result of this whole crazy thing, for which I’ll forever be grateful. But it’s time to move on.

I spent the last month or so waiting for the Anglophile Channel’s interview with Richard Armitage to gauge whether or not I was really done. And I am. While I found the interview entertaining, charming and enlightening at times, the squee factor is gone for me. I realize now that a huge part of why I enjoyed the fan aspect was the boost of “feel good” that it’s always provided. With that gone, there is really no reason to carry on with the blog.

I’ve gone through and deleted the more personal posts from the blog so that I feel secure in leaving the rest of it up for a time. And I’ve decided to leave my Twitter account open as well as the contact page here, should anyone want or need to reach me for any reason.

For those of you who might have hoped I’d eventually finish my North and South fanfic, I’m sorry. It’s just not going to happen. And since that is the case, I’ve gone ahead and taken down the chapters I had posted.

It’s been a pleasure. So to say goodbye I made this. It’s probably the worst fanvid I’ve made, but really I just wanted some pretty pictures to go along with the song.

)

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An Explanation

I’ve seen some comments on negativity in the fandom about DoS and so on over the past few days. There have been comments that question why someone who is predisposed to dislike the movie would go and see it in the first place. Another suggested that such a person would only go see the movie under such circumstances in order to have something to complain about.

As someone who was open about my misgivings before seeing the movie and also someone who laid out her complaints afterwards, I feel like I’m a good person to address this topic. Mainly because I think people without some kind of affinity for the book are going to have the kind of thoughts listed above because they don’t, and perhaps can’t, see things from the perspective of a book fan.

With specific reference to Tolkien and The Hobbit many of us book fans have been waiting at minimum, a decade to see this book brought to life on the big screen. We’ve loved the story for so long and have been anxious to see it fleshed out. After a decade or more of waiting, you don’t just up and say, “Oh, the reviews give me misgivings. Damn, I guess I won’t go see this movie I’ve been waiting forever to see.” While I can’t speak for all Tolkien fans, the ones I know well would say such a thought was unconscionable. Even if you walk out of the movie unhappy with some or even most of the movie, there will be parts that made it worth going. Not to mention that if you don’t see it, you’ll never know if you could have liked it.

I think there’s also a distinction that needs to be made between being predisposed to dislike a movie and having misgivings. Again, I was pretty blunt with my assessment that based on reviews it sounded like PJ had really messed up the story. I can see where that would leave me personally open to criticism of being predisposed to dislike the movie. But let me be clear about something, when we walk into the theater to see the film, Tolkien fans–at least those I know well–don’t go in wanting to hate the movie. We go in hoping that the reviews have somehow misled us and that we’re going to love what’s been done. Because seriously, who in their right mind wants to dislike a movie based on a book they love? The thing we desperately want, that we crave is to walk out of that theater feeling the magic we felt when we read the book for the first time.

It’s always been more or less clear to me that fandom is something outsiders can’t understand. I didn’t really realize until this past week how incomplete that view was. It isn’t just fandom in general. I’m coming to understand that those outside of your very specific fandom(s) lack understanding as well. The view isn’t the same if your vantage point is different.

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What exactly is it that we do when we look at Richard Armitage?

After a conversation with a friend last night this post began to percolate in my mind. The more I think about what exactly it is we do when we look at Richard Armitage, the more I come to believe that there are primarily two schools of thought:

Objectification versus Appreciation

Objectify: to treat as an object or cause to have objective reality.

There are those who believe that when we look at fan videos or photographs of Richard, we are objectifying him by reducing him to a two dimensional being. That by looking at him in a context that doesn’t include his acting or his personality, we are somehow dehumanizing him.

On the other hand we have those who see what we do as appreciating his beauty.

Appreciate:

a: to grasp the nature, worth, quality, or significance of<appreciate the difference between right and wrong>

b: to value or admire highly <appreciates our work>

c: to judge with heightened perception or understanding : be fully aware of <must see it to appreciate it>

d: to recognize with gratitude <certainly appreciates your kindness>

As with most things, I don’t think this issue is black and white. There is probably a spectrum between the two categories. However, I tend to believe that most fans fall into the “appreciation” category.

For instance, when we look at a photo, gif or even when we take extra notice during a scene in which Mr. Armitage takes off his shirt, I would say that we are in fact grasping the nature, quality and significance of all of the hard work it took on his part to get his body into such shape.

When something about a particular image grabs hold of our attention, is it not because we in some way highly admire the beauty of it?

In particular I like the third definition of appreciate, along with it’s example…”must see it to believe it.”  I would relate this to the audiobooks that Richard Armitage has read. Numerous times I’ve seen where fans have said that they would love to see Richard play Lord Damerel in Venetia. The ability to watch and see him as the character would indeed heighten the experience.

And the last definition…”to recognize with gratitude.” I would argue that most of us are in fact grateful for the beauty of Mr. Armitage. Sometimes when I’ve had a bad day, just looking at a picture of him smiling lightens my spirits. It isn’t just the image itself that causes me to smile though, it is the fact that when that particular picture was taken, there was something going on that caused him to smile.

For myself, I find, especially after looking at my examples, that I rarely just look at images of Richard without some other thought besides, “ooh pretty,” and I would imagine that the same is true for most people.

Ultimately, I think the perspective one has is a matter of worldview. Those who look upon what we do as objectification probably hold a worldview in which admiring physical beauty is something shameful, something for which they should feel guilt and remorse. When such people speak in absolutes, I find it frustrating, as though they are trying to force their worldview onto the rest of us. However, when I’m able to step away from the frustration, I find that it makes me sad–sad that instead of being able to appreciate beauty, they take something that should be good and instead turn it into something dirty, something objectionable. It seems a pitiable way to live.

*Definitions are from Merriam-Webster
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The Dreaded Typo

You’re writing, be it a blog post, a 120 character tweet, a Facebook status or whatever. The words are just flowing and you’re on a roll. Finished, you press enter and there are your words out there for all to see. Crap! Instead of you’re you used your! Or as the case was for me last night on Twitter, fair instead of fare.

I don’t know about everyone else, but these typos happen to me all the time. In the case of writing a blog post I don’t just press enter. Generally speaking, I comb through the post three or four times in order to catch typos and even then, the moment I press publish, I’ll spot another. Twitter and even Facebook however are different. Because of the way tweets fly by on Twitter along with the number of people that are sometimes involved in the conversation, I am often typing quite quickly and pressing send without a reread. This leads to an even higher number of typos on my part. And yes, I cringe every time I notice one of them, as I did last night.

Now, I’ve had my writing corrected before online, but that was in relation to my fanfic. A scenario in which I specifically requested that readers offer constructive criticism. But last night, was my first experience with unsolicited correction. During a chat with someone on Twitter a third party popped in to tell me I’d used the wrong word. First of all DUH!!! I knew as soon as I pressed enter, but Twitter doesn’t offer an edit feature. Secondly, REALLY??? Joining someone else’s conversation with the sole intent of correcting them. WTF?

I have a pretty thick skin, so I’m not going to skulk off into the shadows because someone told me I used the wrong word. But what about a student of English who has worked up the courage to comment on a blog or tweet in a language they are still learning? Or what about someone who just isn’t that great with written English, but can still convey their thoughts well? I would hate for unsolicited corrections to influence people’s willingness to be a voice in our fandom.

It’s pretty clear where I stand on this issue, no? I find such corrections to be tacky and rude. Various places where people go to be part of a fandom are not a classroom and people should be able to relax, have fun, and as someone put it to me last night, “not have to walk around on eggshells.” Part of me thinks my reaction to this incident is overkill. However, I also know that I’m not alone in my frustration. I’ve had friends in the fandom complain of similar things happening to them.

So I’m asking you dear readers: When–in the context of fandom–is it appropriate to correct someone else’s writing? Just when solicited? In private? On Twitter? In comments on blog posts?

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Grief and the Fangirl

Over the past week or two I’ve seen a few different posts that address the feelings of loss that some fans are feeling in relation to Richard Armitage and this fandom. More than just loss, grief has been spoken of.

When I read that I thought, surely not.

For me the word grief is attributed to how I felt when my best friend died at 18 years old from cancer. Or four years ago when one of my aunts and my father passed away within a twelve hour time period. In both cases, I felt as if the world had ended, or at least like it should have. I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore. I lamented the fact that my dear friend should have had a lifetime ahead of her. I raged at the fact that if my dad had only taken better care of himself he wouldn’t have had the health problems that led to his death at 59 years old. In some senses I pulled away from my friends because no matter how much they genuinely cared about me and wanted to be there for me, they just couldn’t understand the loss. There was this aching hollow in my heart, that even now I’m not sure will ever heal completely. Sure, life goes on, but those people are never coming back and the void they left can’t be filled.

So, when I read that fans grieve in regards to Richard and the fandom, I thought maybe I had a narrow view of grief and went to look up the definition.

Grief (according to Merriam-Webster):

a : deep and poignant distress caused by or as if by bereavement

b : a cause of such suffering

I suppose I have to conceded that perhaps there are fans that do feel bereaved in deep or poignant ways. I am just having a hard time reconciling my personal experiences with grief to understand the grief of a fangirl? What does that grief look like? Surely it isn’t the bone deep ache that comes with the loss of a loved one. If it is, why? How have fans become so emotionally involved with an actor that they grieve so hard, so deeply? And I guess my real question/concern is this: Is such grief healthy?

I’ll admit that I’m also confused as I just don’t see anything to grieve over. The source of the grief seems to stem directly from the good things that are happening in Richard Armitage’s career and how that effects the fandom. We want him to be successful in his endeavors, don’t we? Like Judiang, I see the lessening of Richard Armitage’s personal relationship with his fans as an inevitability. Like Servetus, I’m very much looking forward to the influx of new fans that are sure to come, and the potential positive changes that will bring about it the fandom.

If you are grieving, I don’t begrudge you your feelings. I just want a better understanding.

Update: Because this post has been linked elsewhere, I feel the need to address something. This post was not “directed” at Judi. To me that seems to imply I was spoiling for a fight. I had a reaction to the choice of one word that prompted a lot of thought on my part and led me to this post. Judi, if you thought I was “directing” this post at you, I apologize for that.

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Why I Love “Our Community”

Nathan Fillion as Captain Malcolm Reynolds in Firefly.

I’ve mentioned on here before that I’m a fan of Firefly. You know, that little show that lasted only one season, but had such a strong fan base that they ended up making a movie as well. It isn’t just Firefly that I love, but also Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog and Castle. Simply, Nathan Fillion is in a lot of things that appeal to me. He also seems like a decent person from what I’ve seen and read, which makes enjoying his work all the more fulfilling.

Anyway, I was reading my latest copy of Entertainment Weekly last night and came across Nathan Fillion’s Comic-Con diary. It was fun to read about how much fun he was having and the appreciation he has for the fans. But the end of the diary entry is what really struck a chord with me. Here is what he had to say:

It’s the freedom to geek out in wild abandon, to enjoy freely and without judgment. It’s the best part of fandom. It’s the best part of excitement and dedication. It’s generosity of spirit.

Now, he may have been speaking about Comic-Con specifically, but what he said is how I feel about the RA community. The people in our real lives don’t understand our fangirling tendencies toward Richard Armitage. Isn’t that why we seek out the forums, blogs, Tumblrs and chatrooms in the first place? We’re looking for a place to belong, a place where others understand. We search for a place where we can “geek out with wild abandon, to enjoy freely and without judgment.” There is a tremendous amount of “generosity of spirit” within this community as well.

Thank you Mr. Fillion for giving me the words, because these attributes of fandom are the reason I love “our community.”

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Common Courtesy

In the past I’ve been a fan of various actors. My fan experience however, only went so far as seeing movies or television shows in which the actor starred, reading the occasional interview and watching if they were going to be making a red carpet appearance.

All of that changed when I became a fan of RA. Google and I became close pals, I went out of my way to read or watch all of the interviews that were available, and I started lurking on blogs. The blogs provided me with a sense of belonging, even though I never commented. I thought to myself, “Hey, there are other people as interested in this guy as I am!”

Eventually, I started my own blog. It started out as a place to post about various issues, but morphed into being mostly about my favorite actor. Over all this experience has been wonderful. I’m made some friends and begun to spread my wings creatively.

But the last few days have made me question whether or not I really want to be a part of such a community. Maybe I’ve led a relatively sheltered life, but I genuinely didn’t expect some of the hateful things I’ve seen of late. I just wonder when we cross the line from simply expressing our opinions to being at least borderline bullies.

Don’t mistake me, I think each and every person is entitled to their opinion. And I welcome hearing said opinions. It would be ludicrous to think that we would all be of the same mind on controversial subjects. However, maybe it was the way I was raised, but I expected better. I expected divergent opinions to be expressed with a modicum of common courtesy and respect. Perhaps my vision is skewed, but some of the comments I’ve read are so vehement or so very specifically directed that to this blogger at least, they come across as personal attacks.

I’m still thinking all of this through, but I don’t think I’ll ever be participating in a fandom wide event again. There are people I know and respect, and I think they may be enough for me.

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