I was excited today to see that Richard Armitage had posted his annual Christmas message to his fans (or well-wishers, as he prefers to call us). It is a really nice tradition, and one that he has maintained since 2004, posting them through various sources and, since 2014, on his own Twitter account. His messages to the fandom have been preserved on richardarmitagenet.com, and his 2017 message is below. (Thanks to Servetus for bringing the message to our attention and for providing a forum for some interesting comments.)
On Twitter, many of Richard Armitage’s “well-wishers” have commended him for the content of his message, and I am happy for them that it has touched them emotionally or otherwise fulfilled their expectations. For me, though, appreciation for the annual gesture aside, this is not really what I was hoping for from my celebrity crush at Christmas.
Well, in truth, I was hoping that he would appear at my door with some mistletoe strategically placed above his head!
Nor would I personally describe this message as “festive cheer”. I fully support RA, however, in using his celebrity platform in the way that makes the most sense for him. I am not, nor do I want to be, in charge of what he writes. But, at more than ten years older than RA, neither am I here to learn how to behave. For me as a fan, I am here to escape from the everyday problems that impact me and the world around me. I am here to appreciate the actor and to try to catch a glimpse of the man behind the acting. (And yes, I do understand that his opinions are part of that and that he has a right to express them.)
Call me shallow, but in a Christmas message, I as a fan would like to hear about how RA has viewed his professional projects over the year. Reading more about his future or hoped for projects and work also would appeal to me. I would be interested in reading about the movies, plays, and books that he has enjoyed most in 2017 and why. The personal touches he throws in about his family and about how he will spend the holiday are nice too.
In the last few years, though, his messages have contained less of those things and more about the general political atmosphere, problems in the world at large, and how to treat others over the internet. And this latest message was written to his fandom as if we were all members of a charitable organization working towards a common goal. In fact, we are all in this fandom because we admire the work of a particular actor — the homogeneousness of our personal standards and goals has not been established.
In reading this year’s Christmas message, I have tried to focus on how appreciative RA is of the support of his fans and their generosity in giving to the charities that he champions. And I have pondered those little glimpses of who the man is behind the actor. Based on his 2017 message:
- In terms of “the more brutal aspects of online activity”, he is “sensitive to all these things [himself], even at 46 years old, [he] still feel[s] it acutely”.
- He considers himself to be “very old fashioned”, in terms of how he conducts himself. This encompasses trying “to be a gentleman, towards everyone. [Trying] to treat everyone as [he] would wish to be treated, with respect and equality.”
- He tries not to take anything for granted and is cognizant that he has been lucky in his life. He knows where he came from and appreciates how hard his parents worked to support himself and his brother.
- His phone is set to receive “pinging” notifications every time a donation is made to his supported charities! He is taking the “time to read everyone’s messages”. For any fan who may be so inclined, this may be a way to actually reach the man himself almost instantaneously.
- At some time in his life, he has been at a point where receiving “a supportive smile” has made a difference in making him feel that he wasn’t alone.
And finally, I appreciate that RA wished us all a Happy Christmas and/or Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. I am happy, too, to hear that he is “full of anticipation, hope, and motivation for a great 2018”.
Remember the days when he used to sign his message, “Richard”? But “RA”, as we affectionately call him, will have to do.