It saddens me that I don’t have a strong reaction to Jim Carrey’s recent vitriolic campaign against people with Autism and the myth of vaccines as the cause. I’ve written on this before. I’m unable to add any new insights I fear. Vaccines still don’t cause autism. Autism is still a fate better than death. I’m still angry that prejudice against my group is acceptable in society. Nothing has changed or will change sadly.
But, Carrey gives me an angle to discuss an idea I really wanted to discuss anyway. See I’ve been thinking a lot in the last few weeks about the idea of fallen creators. And for my generation, few creators reigned as bright as Jim Carrey between 1994 and 2000. Sure he had blips like The Cable Guy, but some of us still loved that one. (1) Carrey was an icon. Sure he’s fallen hard of late without any real hits aside from the nostalgia driven Dumb and Dumber To but what a great CV overall.
So to hear his vile thoughts on my ilk deeply saddens me. Carrey was such a great presence but I’m done hard with him as a fan. And sadly he’s not the only creator I’ve grown disenchanted with. In some cases it happened due to inevitable moving on with time. I’m not as into most of the authors I loved as a kid. I still like them but I outgrow them.
No, I’m talking about the creators I had a violent break with. In some cases it’s like the comments Carrey made. In some cases it’s the unnerving swarm of stories surrounding people like Woody Allen. (2) Kevin Smith lost me with his podcast where he threw a pity party when Zach and Miri flopped. (3) Get Fuzzy made me furious when I bought a calendar to find it, like all the strips post a certain post, was all repeats. Recently Channel Awesome has burned me by going hard downhill while the ugliness of the site’s management has leaked out. And oh dear the things I could say and have said on M. Night Shyamalan.
Why do these cases incite such rage? An artist makes a bad work or does something stupid. Move along. Except it’s not like that. We invest in art and the makers deeply. It’s why we get frustrated when they let us down. We don’t like knowing that all the excitement an energy we poured in has been for an unworthy cause. It makes us seem like fools for having cheered them on.
That cognitive dissonance inevitably results in the extreme overreactions former fans have. Rather than accepting artists are human, we get angry. Sometimes this is a good idea. Woody Allen deserves all he gets for his rancid misogyny. Sometimes it’s not. George Lucas doesn’t deserve death threats even if the prequels were the biggest letdown of your life. (4)
It’s it’s that latter case that must be avoided. Spending all your time raging about a creator who let you down gets you nowhere. It’s understandable to be mad but ultimately, we have to move on and find new things to enjoy. We gain nothing from continuing to rant about things unworthy of us.
As for Carrey, it’s simple. I’m done with his films. I’ll never waste my time again. And that’s that.
(1) I hard did. It’s a brilliant, ahead of its time satire. An incredible cast, first rate script, and excellent direction.
(2) I know, innocent until proven guilty. But I’m not able to ignore the amount of smoke. That’s how I feel. It’s hard not to see an unnerving pattern in his work too.
(3) I’m truly mixed on this film. It has serious issues and hard laughs. An awkward love story with first rate chemistry at the core. I agree with haters and fans.
(4) If it is the biggest letdown of your life, congratulations. Nothing truly awful has ever happened to you.