Carrey is a great actor and a great stand up comedian. He makes persuasive arguments through humor in his stand up and his movies (Truman Show). But in writing, the argument just isn’t there; the piece comes off more like a livid Youtube comment.
For those living in the caves of Waziristan, Jim Carrey’s video, “Cold Dead Hand,” is not only breaking Funny or Die records for viewership, it is also driving the Fox News correspondents into a frenzy. It’s catchy, funny and fierce, I confess that I burst out laughing at work, something I can usually avoid. But while the song itself is funny and poignant, when Carrey shifts to print, the message is lost.
The reason is obvious. While “Cold Dead Hands” is funny, it doesn’t really make a coherent argument, other than “Charleston Heston had a small penis.” That’s okay though, because coherent arguments don’t make good songs. I doubt, “If you buy a gun you are statistically more likely to die from gun violence,” or, “It’ll be hard to regulate guns because historical and geographical forces have left the Southern states with a culture of honor” would go viral.
Carrey is a great actor and a great stand up comedian. He makes persuasive arguments through humor in his stand up and his movies (Truman Show). But in writing, the argument just isn’t there; the piece comes off more like a livid Youtube comment:
For those who say I’m a hypocrite because I have an armed bodyguard, lets make one thing clear: No one in my employ is allowed to carry a large magazine and NO ONE IS ASKING ANYONE TO GIVE UP THEIR RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS, though it is in the vested interests of those who profit by gun sales to make it seem so. It’s just the type of arms, the easy access and the means with which to cause massive devastation to good and innocent people that I hope we can limit. It’s the quality of mercy, the tiniest spark of empathy that I know lives in every one of us that I wish to ignite in you.
And to the bullies who will try to marginalize and discredit me by saying, “Shut up, you’re just an actor,” while they brag about what a great president the ACTOR Ronald Reagan was, who threaten me with the demise of my acting career and much worse, I say SO BE IT! How shallow do they think I am? I would trade my money, my fame, my reputation and legacy if there were the slightest chance of preventing the anguish of another Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, or Sandy Hook Elementary School. I ask you, truly, what manner of human being would not?
We get ad homeneim, non sequitur, straw men, appeal to false authority (the Reagan argument seems to undermine Carrey’s case, at least in my opinion) and a lot of hysteria. I certainly agree with Carrey that we should regulate weapons, but this isn’t a cogent case.
But it actually gets worse. Four years ago, for some unknown reason, Huffington Post published this gem from Carrey:
In this growing crisis, we cannot afford to blindly trumpet the agenda of the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) or vaccine makers. Now more than ever, we must resist the urge to close this book before it’s been written. The anecdotal evidence of millions of parents who’ve seen their totally normal kids regress into sickness and mental isolation after a trip to the pediatrician’s office must be seriously considered. The legitimate concern they and many in the scientific community have that environmental toxins, including those found in vaccines, may be causing autism and other disorders (Aspergers, ADD, ADHD), cannot be dissuaded by a show of sympathy and a friendly invitation to look for the ‘real’ cause of autism anywhere but within the lucrative vaccine program.
As far as I can tell, Carrey’s only authority to speak on vaccines is that Me, Myself & Irene is a damn funny movie. Did he secretly acquire a medical degree? If parents actually listen to Carrey’s advice (or that of Mrs. McCarthy, also not a doctor) far more children would die for want of vaccination than have died in all the school shootings ever. There is no evidence that vaccines cause autism and any study finding a link has been thoroughly discredited. The doctor who originally purported to make the connection is barred from practicing medicine in the UK. So why is the Huffington Post publishing Carrey’s entirely uniformed opinion on the subject? I have my suspicions.
Should Carrey be silenced because he’s an actor? Should HuffPost refuse to publish him because he’s a comedian? Certainly not. But they also shouldn’t publish him solely because he’s famous. His arguments should be judged on their merits, and on those, they have to go.
Note: I applaud Mr. Carrey’s Better U Foundation and the work it has done promoting safe and sustainable agriculture. His piece on the subject is informed and persuasive. It’s a shame that his piece on vaccines is siphoning off viewers and Carrey’s time.