Trying to make sense of Jim Carrey’s Twitter feed is a rather exhausting enterprise to begin with; it’s an all but unreadable word salad of New Age platitudes, inscrutable emoticons, and the kind of insular navel-gazing that you can only get from someone who’s been bagging $20 mil a picture for the better part of two decades. And over the past year, he’s thrown gun control advocacy into the mix, with the kind of clueless, impractical advice (“Revise the second amendment”) that’s bound to send those who actually want to get something done on the issue into bouts of eye-rolling. He takes his role as the anti-Charlton Heston so seriously that last month, he made headlines for deciding not to promote Kick-Ass 2 because of the film’s violence. But yesterday, he apologized — not for that move, of course, but for offending assault rifle owners. To repeat: he apologized for offending assault rifle owners.
There is some history here. Last July, shortly after the Aurora massacre, Carrey tweeted this:
As the debate heated up this spring following the Sandy Hook shootings, Carrey’s language got sharper:
The references to “maniacs” and “motherf%ckers” are, it seems to safe to say after a perusal of his feed (and sorry, a perusal is about the best I could do), what Carrey was referencing with his apology tweets yesterday.
Meanwhile, Carrey remains unchanged on his upcoming film. The last we heard about it was this:
So, to be clear: Carrey is bailing on a film hundreds of other people (and, presumably, he) worked hard on and he feels just fine about it — but he can’t live with the fact that several months ago he called assault rifle owners “maniacs” and “motherf%ckers,” so they get an apology. We’re not talking about low-key gun owners here, people who hunt or keep a shotgun around for protection; these are assault rifle “fans,” and Mr. Carrey is sorry if he offended them.
And here’s what’s bananas: assault rifle people are maniacs and motherfuckers! Carrey was right! And that doesn’t happen all that often — after all, the guy’s a notorious anti-immunization activist, and in choosing not to help promote Kick-Ass 2, he’s seemingly aligning himself with the NRA and other pop culture-blaming gun nuts that he’s spent the past year deriding. Listen to Wayne LaPierre, and he’ll tell you that the best way to prevent another Sandy Hook (aside from arming teachers, obviously) is to place tighter restrictions on violent movies and video games, and loosening those on weapons. Or, put another way: they want to clamp down on fake guns and, as George Carlin memorably proclaimed, “they’re gonna keep the fucking real ones!”
Carrey’s quivering-conscience removal from his Kick-Ass 2 promotional duties has smelled fishy from the beginning; such work is usually either part of an actor’s contracted responsibilities for a film, or presumed as an act of good faith. Kick-Ass comic writer Mark Millar offered up a thoughtful analysis of his own confusion over Carrey’s change of heart, and he makes some fine points. But what’s most noteworthy about Carrey’s decision to leave his movie out to dry is that he’s also turning down weeks of opportunities to talk about gun violence while promoting it. If he feels it’s an issue worth discussing (particularly if Millar’s comments about the nature of his character are correct), then he’s passing on a golden opportunity to do so — while still, it seems safe to presume, cashing his paychecks from the project. If anyone deserves an apology from Carrey, it’s the people he worked with on that project, and not the gun nuts who’ve weirdly intimidated him into kissing and making up.