Contrary to what some regular readers must think, I don’t begrudge celebrities their political opinions.
Heck, given how often I find myself lionizing James Woods for taking conservative stands (and incinerating whatever chance he might be given at a late-career Hollywood resurgence), I would hope most people would realize how hypocritical I would be were I reactively against superstars exercising their God-given right to freedom of expression.
The reason I find celebrity conservatives like Woods to be more incisive is that you have to be somewhat receptive to political examination if you’re going to be a conservative in the entertainment industry. It’s not as if it’s a commonly received opinion, after all, and it’s certainly not going to enhance your career prospects.
On the other hand, in Hollywood, you can go as far down the rabbit hole of left-wingery as your little heart desires and you’re unlikely to face even the mildest pushback from anyone in a position of power.
You can even build a whole career around it: Michael Moore first appeared on the Hollywood scene trashing corporate capitalism in “Roger & Me” and reached his apex of success with “Fahrenheit 9/11,” a film that presented a series of self-contradictory conspiracy theories about the Bush administration’s post-9/11 policies that no thinking individual could really take seriously.
(That it was taken seriously should tell you all you need to know about the entertainment industry.)
So sure, you can construct an entire career around it, but can you resurrect one? On that question, I present to you our case study: Jim Carrey, the man once described as a “rubber-faced fartsmith” by The Onion.
Rubber-faced fartsmithery tends to only get you so far once you pass the age of 30, which means it’s a wonder Carrey ever made it at all in Hollywood; he was 32 when his breakthrough film, “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” was released. He was then inexplicably able to keep that momentum up for another decade or so before acting like a 40-something teenager lost its appeal and his livelihood became a public study in diminishing returns.
Carrey is now starring in the Showtime series “Kidding,” although Americans could be forgiven if they didn’t know Carrey wasn’t pursuing sociopolitical punditry full-time these days. He’s recently been seen on Twitter displaying vulgar artwork involving conservative figures and on several TV shows explaining the charms of socialism to an audience almost entirely made up of people much, much poorer than him.
How informed is Carrey on what he pontificates on? His idea of socialism seems to be constructed out of his native Canada — which is a decidedly mixed economy leaning toward capitalist principles, no matter how many Trudeaus they elect.
His painted crudities seem pitched at the level of an eternal high-schooler.
And on Friday, Carrey was at the Britannia Awards at the British Academy of Arts & Sciences, Los Angeles branch, where he was accepting the Charlie Chaplin Award for Excellence In Comedy, presumably based on his past work. The acceptance speech should tell you all you need to know about how far gone Carrey has gone down those rabbit holes on very scanty evidence.
Carrey began by “joking” about how he was “glad (the award) didn’t come in the mail.” Because, get it, mail bombs? And some have to wonder why this guy’s career has been in free-fall.
“In America, the United Kingdom, and across the globe and we need to be clear: Shamelessness is not, and will never be, a superpower,” Carrey continued.
“It is the mark of a villain. Kidnapping children is not what great nations do. Almost half of America at this moment believes there is a sinister deep state diabolically plotting to what? Give them health care? What is the sinister plan here?”
“We in America are misinformed,” he continued. “Reality shows have warped our idea of what a hero is, or what the truth is. So tonight I would like to dedicate this award to those who remind us of our virtues, who remind us of the truth.
“To Sir Charles Chaplin who battled McCarthyism into exile, to Christopher Steele who tried to pull a thorn out of the paw of an ungrateful beast, to Christine Blasey Ford and to Colin Kaepernick who still stands for the anthem when the anthem stands for him, and to one of my friends, my good friend and one of the great artists of our time, Robert De Niro whose life was threatened this week, and to the many other incredibly decent people who bring joy to the world and have been dedicated to it for decades.”
“How dare they besmirch those people, how dare they,” he added. “We can do better than this. I know this wasn’t funny, but it is not very funny right now.”
And all to uncritical applause. Again, Hollywood wonders why normal people think they’re out of touch.
All right, so let’s work backwards through this farrago of nonsense and all these people who conservatives have dared besmirch.
I have all the sympathy in the world for Robert De Niro, at least as far as his receiving a crude explosive device goes. If you’re going to imply that Trump’s incivility somehow caused this, I’d like to remind you about De Niro’s remarks regarding the president during the 2016 campaign: “I’d like to punch him in the face.” Oh, and then there was his Tony Awards speech earlier this year. Civility exemplified, that De Niro.
Then Colin Kaepernick, who apparently “still stands for the anthem when the anthem stands for him.” What does that even mean?
Inasmuch as the anthem can stand for Kaepernick, it’s stood for his ability to make himself insanely rich playing a game and to express himself politically without fear of reprisal, all courtesy of a Constitution that protects his rights and a military that protects the Constitution, inter alia.
Christine Blasey Ford is a new hero among Democrats, although Carrey doesn’t seem to have expounded on why he was praising her. One can perhaps glean a reason from what he said about Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence official whose assemblage of hearsay was responsible for the FISA warrant and pretty much every Trump/Russia collusion theory, no matter how preposterous it may be.
This partisan, anti-Trump hack is applauded as a man who “tried to pull a thorn out of the paw of an ungrateful beast” by Carrey. Why? Because he provided ammunition against Trump. No other explanation is given or necessary, apparently.
As for Chaplin, he died over 40 years ago, so I think one can let him slide. As for the rest, health care is never free, straw men are not actual political foes, children who were suborned by their parents into breaking immigration law aren’t being “kidnapped” and if shamelessness isn’t a superpower, I guess Jim Carrey isn’t a superhero.
Oh, and there’s no way to take anyone seriously when they’re wearing that suit. Thank you, and good night.
So, about that question regarding whether or not Carrey can resurrect his career via political remarks — take a look at these headlines regarding the speech you just saw.
Deadline: “Jim Carrey Steals Britannia Awards With Blistering Political Comments: ‘We Can Do Better Than This.'” The Irish Independent: “‘Shamelessness is not, and will never be, a superpower’ – Jim Carrey takes aim at Trump in extraordinary awards show speech.” The Hollywood Reporter: “Jim Carrey Slams Trump for ‘Kidnapping Children.'” There was nary a “too soon” to be found about the mail-bombing remark. Wonderful.
Yes, Jim Carrey has every right to speak his political opinions. I wouldn’t even dream of disabusing Carrey of a single one of his delusions. The media may love them, but most people will see them for what they are: A delusional man talking about things well outside his ken.
If I were an ally to Carrey, I would give him the following advice: Get some books, get some perspective and, for the love of Pete, get a new suit.
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