My Funny Unexpected Valentine

It’s gearing up to Valentine’s Day and that means a lot of different things, including swoony poetry read by a swoony dude. For my son this year it meant finding cards featuring a monster who is both funny and creepy but saving the truly creepy ones for his closest friends because, c’mon, if you can’t creep your friends out then what good are they (the cards, not the friends)? We looked for just the right cards a few times but none of the zombies or lenticular morphing dinosaurs was quite right. Last night it was down to the wire because his class Valentine party is today and he was sweating getting Avengers cards again. He’s grown up since last year’s fascination with superheroes, after all. Saving the planet is soooo second grade.

So last night we made one last trip to the store and he found The Ones. These ones.

Forgive my fingers and the glare

Forgive my fingers and the glare

Have I mentioned he’s also a fan of all things Hobbit? He’s particularly fond of this dude and all of these went to his closest classmates and his neighborhood BFF.

My son's hero.

My son’s hero.

I noticed that other particular ones went to particular people. His grandfather, for example is getting the Gandalf one while his oldest sister is getting the Bilbo one because she loves poor little Bilbo Hobbit dude.

Poor little Bilbo Hobbit dude, Thorin, and Old Fart Gandalf

Poor little Bilbo Hobbit dude, Thorin, and Old Fart Gandalf

Mommy, I’m sorry to report, did NOT get a Thorin Oakenshield Valentine. Those all went to girls in his class. I’ve apparently trained my son well.

 

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.

Beauty School Drop Out

The final Hobbit premiere is upon us and this time last year I was snickering at Richard Armitage’s horoscope over at Free Will Astrology. Rob Brezsny wrote that Leo’s “levels of personal magic are high” during that week of premieres. If nothing else, Guylty’s pictures from Berlin attest to that.

Thanks, Guylty!

Thanks, Guylty!

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I was supposed to be typing again there, wasn’t I? Sorry. That’s been happening a lot these days and while, yes, I need to increase the gingko it’s not just that. Since he’s been on Twitter I’ve been twitterpated with him all over again and that’s going to present a problem soon if Brezsny is as wackily dead on as he was last year. Like tomorrow soon, at the London premiere. Go here to read the whole Leo horoscope for this week (if you’re new to Brezsny, he will “smack you with a positivity stick,” as zan put it).

I have my doubts that Richard Armitage needs anyone’s help becoming more beautiful. Seriously, Brezsny, this guy? He’s got it handled. I know, I know, it’s all a metaphor, I don’t care. He’s already hilarious, and goofy, and uses his celebrity for the benefit of causes he believes in, and kills when he’s wearing blue (that one was also zan). It’s the rest of us who are going to need help if he starts thinking about this stuff.

Okay, so it looks like the party is going to be on Twitter exclusively this year. Thanks to everyone who’s hosted a chat or live blogged for the premieres the last few years. See you all tomorrow!

EDIT: Servetus is going to be live blogging tomorrow at her blog here.

And More Fandom Collaboration Awesomeness: The Thorin Project Speculative Playlist

The fabulous kelbel and the equally fabulous Guylty are conspiring collaborating on a project that you can find out all about here.  Have I mentioned how much I love these moments when the fandom works together to create amazing coolness? Total sucker for it. Let’s kick them off in rocking style, shall we? If you’re new, I occasionally do bullshit speculative playlists for Mr. A’s characters and this time, again, it’s Thorin.

Thorin’s gonna be bonkers in the next movie, right? The question is exactly how bonkers he’s going to be. Like, will he be barking at the moon?

Just how destructive is his paranoia going to be? And have I mentioned how much I love the Kinks?

Is he going to be a full-on basket case? I have nothing else to say here because this song just rocks.

So, what do you think was on the Dude’s playlist? Comments are open. Be sure to check out that link up there, it’s truly awesome, and have a great Monday!