Button Up, Buttercup

I have a theory about how Philadelphia avoided the huge snow dump that was predicted for it last week. This is by no means a sound meteorological theory (You expected sound? From someone who listens to a groundhog?) but it’s inspired by another near-miss weather event, the time Hurricane Gloria largely avoided New York City in 1985. Then-Mayor Ed Koch said, “We scared the hell out of the hurricane and it went elsewhere,” elsewhere being Long Island and New England. I’m fascinated by the New York Cityishness of that quote and I always think about it when there’s some dire prediction that doesn’t come true. So my theory is this: Snowpacalypse 2015 was averted in Philadelphia because Rocky Balboa and Dwalin are there and Mother Nature didn’t want to piss either of them off. Is Mother Nature a fangurl?

Anyway, it’s still cold in Philadelphia and it’s cold here, too, so I’m thinking about coats and being buttoned up and cozy. Which means that after I ranted last week about Richard Armitage being nekkid, now I’m doing a Richard Armitage Fully Clothed and Possibly Over Dressed pic spam. Because.

Okay, in this one he’s just wearing a…what is that? Blazer? Overcoat? I can’t really tell but Judiang can ’cause that’s her with him after the Pinter/PROUST reading in NYC in January 2014. She said later that he was “a furnace.” Generates his own heat. Uh, I’m stopping there.

Judiang nearly melts next to Richard Armitage. Just don't tell her I said that. ;)

Judiang nearly melts next to Richard Armitage. Just don’t tell her I said that. 😉

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Okay, this is what I’m talking about: a good looking dude in a cuddly sweater handing me a hot cocoa. Perfect. I’ll even overlook the hair gel thing going on there.

Richard Armitage as Craig Parker in CASUALTY in 2001. Screen cap courtesy RANet.com.

Richard Armitage as Craig Parker in CASUALTY in 2001. Screen cap courtesy RANet.com.

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Of course if we’re going to talk about dudes in cuddly sweaters we have to talk about Harry Kennedy, right? Here he is looking a bit perplexed by whatever Geraldine is telling him.

Richard Armitage as Harry Kennedy in VICAR OF DIBLEY. Screen cap courtesy of RANet.com

Richard Armitage as Harry Kennedy in VICAR OF DIBLEY. Screen cap courtesy of RANet.com

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He’s not nearly as perplexed as Kim Thayil, though, who’s wondering how the hell he wound up in another Richard Armitage pic spam. That background looks a little summery for a tuque but he’s a Guitar God so he gets to wear whatever he wants.

Kim Thayil looking skeptical of this whole exercise. I don't know who took it or where it's from but I found it at blabbermouth.net

Kim Thayil is skeptical of this whole exercise. I don’t know who took it or where it’s from but I found it at blabbermouth.net.

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And then there’s Guy of Gisborne. You can’t really ever call Guy cuddly. I have to say that I really felt for Armitage having to wear all of this in the middle of the summer.

Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne. Screen cap courtesy of RANet.com

Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne. Screen cap courtesy of RANet.com

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That was from Season 2, so after they dispensed with the mustard yellow thing he used to wear (in case it got a little chilly in July in Hungary) and before they subjected him to this nonsense. “You know what let’s do? Let’s redesign his unnecessarily leather costume and add a couple layers of padding!”

Richard Armitage as Mean Joe Guy of Gisborne in ROBIN HOOD, Season 3 promotional still. Courtesy of RANet.com.

Richard Armitage as Mean Joe Guy of Gisborne in ROBIN HOOD, Season 3 promotional still. Courtesy of RANet.com.

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Poor Guy was always overdressed, right? Kind of like this.

Richard Armitage as...uh...someone in...uh, some show. Did you say something? Screen cap courtesy of RANet.com.

Richard Armitage as…uh…someone in…uh, some show…on some shady soft porn cable station. Did you say something? Screen cap courtesy of RANet.com.

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Okay, the one thing that he’s missing in all of these shots, except the one with Judiang? A smile. I am indeed one of those cheesy people who believes you’re never fully dressed without a smile and this might be my favorite screen cap of him ever.

Okay, a smirk. Whatever. Richard Armitage as John Porter in STRIKE BACK. Screen cap courtesy RANet.com

Okay, a smirk. Whatever. Richard Armitage as John Porter in STRIKE BACK. Screen cap courtesy RANet.com

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So, what are you doing to keep warm? Or cool, if you are someplace that’s warm right now? I’m gonna go get some hot cocoa now. You all have a great day!

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An Embarrassment of Riches

I’m not sure where they came from but screen caps from the Digital Theatre production of The Crucible hit the fandom sometime over the weekend (no, I generally don’t pay attention, why do you ask?) followed shortly by a predictable dust-up about them. A fan page that posted them to Twitter had to explain themselves on Facebook yesterday because, gasp, the screen caps were of a half nekkid Richard Armitage and didn’t they know that was “objectification” and “disrespectful”?

Uh…come again?

You do realize that he took his shirt off approximately 101 times during the run of The Crucible, right? And you further realize that HE’S AWARE he took his shirt off approximately 101 times during the run of The Crucible, right? And you further realize that HE WAS AWARE that he was being filmed, right? He was also aware that he was baring his assets during Spooks, Strike Back, and Between the Sheets, AND I’ll bet it didn’t get past him that he was wearing a Speedo in Cold Feet. He’s smart like that, you know.

Richard Armitage is an adult and as an adult he gets to draw boundaries around what he does and doesn’t do professionally. In the past, this has included roles where he drops trou. I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt — the respect, if you will — that if he’s willing to do these roles that on-screen or on-stage nudity doesn’t bother him as much as it does some of us.

Over the summer I got a note from someone I didn’t know who was really upset that Armitage was being “treated like a piece of meat” in a particular Facebook group (not the same one as the one above). Aside from the fact that Armitage wasn’t actually being treated in any way at all because he wasn’t there, this is one of those statements that always makes me roll my eyes because it’s my opinion that it’s just as easy to make a fetish object out of John Thornton as it is Lee Preston. I don’t think that a romantic fantasy is any more moral in itself than a sexual one, it’s still just a thought in your head and still a projection of who you are, not who he is. That specific incident had to do with a screen cap of NotLucas North’s bare butt while he was getting changed in Spooks Season 8 Episode 4 and my defense of the person who posted it. I have this admittedly silly notion that if he’s done a piece of work we should be able to talk about it. My correspondent wrote, “This is a public Facebook page and should be given at least the respect of a PG 13 rating[.]” If she’d have stopped there I’d have totally agreed with her because it was indeed an open Facebook group, there are restrictions on what can be posted to those and part of the contention had to do with the fact that the Administrator of the page at that time wasn’t answering inquiries about what was acceptable and what wasn’t. It was still up to the Administrator and Facebook’s Terms of Service, though, and not my correspondent, or me, or the person who posted the screen cap to begin with. However, then she wrote that “…if it would not be shown on public TV, then it should not be shown in other public places where people like myself could be offended.”

Again, uh…come again?

First of all, it was indeed made by and shown on public television. The BBC is not a shady soft porn cable station. For the record, Spooks was also shown on PBS in the US, again, not a shady soft porn cable station. And how, exactly, are the rest of us supposed to be able to predict what may offend someone else? For example, Richard Armitage had no idea that he’d trigger a really negative response in me when he mimicked hanging himself with his tie during the press tour for The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. It’s not his responsibility to know my triggers and I made it really clear that it wasn’t the responsibility of the fandom to accommodate me, either. It was MY responsibility to remove myself from places that made me uncomfortable. I had my say on blog because that’s my space. Similarly, it’s YOUR responsibility to remove yourself from places that make you uncomfortable, rather than trying to force the entire fandom to adhere to your sensibilities. If you want to create a space where your morality reigns supreme, knock yourself out, but for the love of Mike can you maybe accept just this once that other people in this fandom are not like you?

We don’t all see the same interactions the same way because we filter them through our own experiences. My filter as a 46-year-old woman is slightly different than it was when I was a 20-year-old. During an interview on the first Hobbit press tour, George Stroumboulopoulos showed a fan made video, including footage of Cold Feet. My correspondent wrote that “everytime pictures like these are referenced in interviews, it is clear to everyone that he hates it. He even jumped on an interview host once because he made reference to women wanting to ‘make love to him’ because of his speedo’s scene.” I’m not really certain how it’s clear to “everyone” because it’s certainly not clear to me.

Surprised? Sure. Caught off guard? Absolutely. Hates it? That’s not how I see that reaction. I see that as kidding, kind of like when he told Kathy Lee and Hoda a few days later that he’d brushed his teeth because he thought he was going to have to kiss them, kind of like when he said during the following year’s press tour that he wanted everyone (yes, including you) to get naked, kind of like when he makes dick jokes. From my perspective, my correspondent was more embarrassed than he is and she was trying to make me responsible for her embarrassment at that moment. Twitter notwithstanding, there’s no way to take it up with him, so who gets the brunt of the discomfort? The rest of us.

What I find most disrespectful every single time this conversation happens is this notion that any of us has a better idea of what he should be doing than he does, including taking roles where he’s in various states of undress or less than heroic. Whether he sees these as a means to an end or as being artistically fulfilling in themselves isn’t up to us. He’s walking his own path, carved out by himself and his team. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the nonsense that some of us could somehow do a better job than his agent. The first time I saw it floated that he needed to fire his representation was right before his casting in The Hobbit was announced. Monumental screw up that was, right? Horribly irresponsible waste of his client’s talent, and look where it led? Right to John Proctor taking his shirt off approximately 101 times during the run of The Crucible.