Starting late yesterday afternoon, the Richard Armitage fandom was alight over tweets/deletes by Richard Armitage. Anecdotally speaking, with a few exceptions, his original tweets (#MuslimBan) were well received. Aside from agreement with his position, fans also honed in on confirmation of his U.S. immigration status, which we assumed, but did not know for sure – at least I didn’t: Permanent Resident Alien, ( who recently stated that he was ready to leave).
And then he deleted the tweet and the extraordinary happened. Some hard core anti-delete fans who had captured and published his tweet as a screenshot, deleted the screens shot. I deleted it. Why? Because whatever else I think about Armitage’s occasionally political messages and opinions, which he may later withdraw, and the impossibility of erasing them for good, this particular tweet included personal information that might have compromised him – admittedly, it’s a long shot – but who knows these days? There could have been other reasons why Armitage deleted a tweet which announced his immigration status and his feelings about it at that moment that have nothing to do with prudence over his future in these uncertain times. But I worried that it was because he thought better of drawing attention to himself, his status and his opinion. I won’t get into whether this furthered his desire for fearlessness.
Starting late yesterday afternoon, this fandom engaged in practices that it has many times – we were more or less live tweeting, blogging, commenting, on immediate fandom current events. Tweet/delete. But this time, there was a difference in that our fanning was a reaction both to insular fandom stuff – @RCArmitage Tweet/delete syndrome and a constitutional /humanitarian, legal crisis in the United States that reverberatied world-wide. That would be Donald Trunp’s #MuslimBan Executive Order.
I can think of only one other time when the real time events within the fandom so overlapped with world events It was another time when Richard Armitage commented on an immediate happening, and that was the Orlando shooting. That time, he tweet deleted two or three times, never quite getting it right. It caused a fandom sh-it storm.
Not so much this time. For one, Armitage’s comments on the Orlando massacre were his reaction to something horrible that happened – but it was over. We were all left to consider the implications, horror and senselessness of the act, to mourn, to protest – but it was over. We were left with an aftermath, including the aftermath of mulling over Richard Armitage’s motivations for his tweets and deletes; his affirmative actions and his final failure to act.
This time the “horrible something that happened” will continue to happen, is still happening, and will happen in other forms. Other, different rights will be under siege. Americans will be ashamed about some other action or inaction taken by the president or his designees. . It’ll all be part of the same problem.
And that’s how yesterday was different, even from the Orlando tweet/delete fiasco, which was when the fandom was communicating in real time about Richard Armitage in the context of immediate current events. That’s why our guy received less flack from the usual corners about his deletions. This time, it was sort of personal, and even those of us who have a very broad view of what is personal for an actor/tweep, I think felt, we ought to respect his position.
Starting late yesterday afternoon, I thought about the fandom and it’s reaction and I continued to think about it throughout the night and today.
Here is a scenario that would be far-fetched if there were normalcy: Some British actor ticks off Donald Trump with criticism. Donald Trump decides that too many acting jobs that could/should go to Americans are going to Brits instead. Selectively, he chooses a few such Brits and starts putting obstacles in their immigration path, i.e. problems with visa approvals, restricting the rights of green card holders, things like that. ( This was before I read that Homeland Security raised the ban on green card holders from the 7 #MuslimBan countries, but this is a different scenario anyway.) Trump,craftily decides not to go for very A-list – no Cumberbatch, Dench, Mirren or Hiddelston ( certainly not McKellen) but rather, he focuses on some B-listers with just enough notoriety and fame, but not too much. Among them – one British actor who criticized him, and if one looks further back, made fun of him, Richard Armitage. Denied a visa, or found in violation of his status or whatever.
Would that action get more or less press and buzz on social media than the coverage of Asghar Farhadi, the Academy Award nominated Muslim/Iranian director who can’t come to the Oscars this year on account of the Muslim Ban?.
I don’t know. Iranian, Asghar Farhadi + Oscar nod + #MuslimBan + Hollywood outrage – but unknown to virtually all Americans vs. Richard Armitage, Brit, not as unknown + maybe a little Hollywood outrage, but with an additional weapon or champion – the fandom that’s broken the internet time and again, or so we say. The Richard Armitage fandom. Some call it The Armitage Army,
It wouldn’t go away quietly.
Far fetched? Yes, I would think.
And then today, this also happened. I’ve mentioned that in my community here in Mexico, we have an annual Jewish Film Festival. I mentioned it here, but never posted this for some reason. I know I mentioned last year’s festival someplace, because I worked on the selection committee, but I can’t find the post. This year, I did some other work for the general committee.
Today was a showing of a film I’d seen before, but not for ages. Today we saw Judgment at Nuremberg.
Starting late yesterday afternoon, the ACLU and other groups ( let’s not forget the other groups, who also champion immigration and other civil rights ) got right to work – hitting the courts around the country in short order for immediate relief. Other lawyers converged on airports, sat on the floor, tweeted their activities and rushed to the aid of refugee and other immigrant detainees in airports across the country – and kept the world apprised with tweets and other social media means. Thousands of citizens made their way to airports and other venues to protest. Social media was on fire. World leaders spoke out.
And when the cases went to the courts, it looks like straight down the line, the judiciary involved made the right, the legal, the constitutional call. How their orders will hold up, whether there will be appeals ( it appears not, so far) and what other lawsuits might be brought to cover immigrants and travelers caught in limbo right now, remains to be seen.
I mention this because of Judgment at Nuremberg. The film is worth finding and seeing right now, today, tonight, tomorrow. The You Tube version below cuts off before the very end, so look for it elsewhere, though the end is not the relevant point here.
Judgment at Nuremberg is about the last war trials to take place in Germany after world War II. These defendants were four judges, one, a world wide particularly respected and renowned jurist and author dedicated to civil and constitutional rights and human freedoms. They were on trial for murder based on their sentencing of Jews and others, ordering sterilization, imprisonment, internment, all presumably under German law, sometimes, not exactly.
The film is incredibly acted, especially by Maximilian Schell, Spencer Tracy and Montgomery Clift, among a cast of other notables. It raises legal and moral questions with respect to these defendants that are still arguable today. What hit me today were the descriptions by witnesses about how Germany changed under the Third Reich – why Hitler was first embraced – in other words – what resonated with me today was everything to do with the beginning of the fascism, its blossoming, Hitler’s ultimate power, and how it was allowed to happen by reasonable, law abiding, even constitutional loving, intelligent people.
The testimony of a former judge who resigned rather than be part of the lunacy ( around 00:34:oo, but especially at about 00:43:00 hit home hard. After testifying as to the rise of Hitler, the changes in the judiciary, including his knowledge or belief of what the defendants were doing, and his decision to resign rather than participate, Judge Weick was cross-examined,
[Judge Weick admits he took the Civil Service Loyalty Oath of 1938, which pledged loyalty to Hitler, the Reich, the German people and his country, as well as its laws. Judge Weick took the oath at least a year before he resigned because “everybody did”]
The German Defense counsel, in response and enraged by the admission that Weick took the oath:
But you are such a perceptive man, you could see what was coming, you could see that National Socialism was leading Germany to disaster. It was clear to anyone “who had eyes and ears,”[quoting Weick’s earlier testimony] didn’t you realize what it would have meant if you and men like you would have refused to swear to the oath? It would have meant that Hitler could never have come to absolute power.
In other words, if the judiciary and others at higher levels had protested, resisted, it wouldn’t have happened.
As others have said, we have to pick and choose our causes, where we will aim our resistance, in the face of Donald Trump and his tight knit circle. We have to pick and choose what actions to resist when it comes to the federal legislature, which cannot be allowed to move forward with its ultra conservative agenda, unbridled.
I’m choosing the constitutional protections for freedom of the press, religion and association. I’m choosing the first amendment first, – I’m choosing TRUTH first – that’s my major – with a minor in the fifth amendment (Due Process) and electives in lots of other issues, including protection of fundamental rights and adherence to ethical standards. That takes a lot in. It leaves a lot out, for others.
That’s where I stand.
Below is the You Tube Version of Judgment of Nuremberg that cuts off after the sentences are issued ( you miss one good scene between Spencer Tracy, the American Chief Judge, and Burt Lancaster, the former German Chief Judge, the Defendant – but I think this scene is in the trailer.
Also below is a link to a more recent, miniseries version, which I’ve never seen.
Finally, there are many legal rights, legal services organizations if you want to donate – right now, here’s a link to the ACLU site. Here are some other legal organizations protecting immigrants, that can use some donations: International Refugee Assistance Project Urban Justice Center , National Immigration Law Center, and also consider organizations devoted to maintaining and protecting a free press and journalists. More names to come.
I know this is a long, and sometimes rambling post, but here’s one more link for you to check out. This affects me directly.