I recently critiqued Jim Carrey in the context of his mercury-based vaccine conspiracism which seems connected to 1980’s Soviet propaganda; as well as his positioning relative to the legacy of Hollywood’s Popular Front and right-left conspiracism as I see it as a factor in modern Russian information warfare. Today, I am going to delve specifically into Carrey’s career as an artist since 2011 which I only briefly discussed in the prior essay. I believe the analysis strongly supports my prior observations – but also highlights an interesting recurring theme of Carrey’s presumable mental health related to messianic tendencies (I suggest you do not call him ‘JC’ if you meet him in order to minimize this).
It seems that internet audiences were only recently introduced to Carrey’s art in the context of the short documentary – I Needed Color (which since its release in August 2017 has got over 6 million views at the below Vimeo link). It’s no F for Fake, but it’s worth watching to get a sense for the artistic ‘Passion of the Carrey’.
It is clear that painting is therapeutic for Carrey and that it reflects on his psychology:
“I think artists make models of their inner life, they make something physically come into being that is inspired by their emotions or their needs, or what they feel the audience needs” … “You can tell what I love by the color of the paintings — you can tell my inner life by the darkness in some of them — and you can tell what I want from the brightness in some of them”… “Art has to be service – It’s like you’re servicing your subconscious and at the same time, you’re doing something that someone’s going to relate to hopefully.”
Carrey also elaborates on his deep emotional spiritualism, which he reflects in a dialogue about his paintings of Jesus:
“The energy that surrounds Jesus is electric. I don’t know if Jesus is real; I don’t know if he lived; I don’t know what he means, but the paintings of Jesus are really my desire to convey ‘Christ consciousness’. I wanted you to have the feeling when you looked in his eyes; that he was accepting of who you are. I wanted him to stare at you and be able to heal you from the painting.”
In the end, Carrey says of his art:
“The bottom line is love. We want to show ourselves and be accepted. I want to be alive and the art is the evidence of that.”
That sounds nice, but my question is, does Jim Carrey really love anyone but Jim Carrey? While his messianic focus was intact early in his career, seemingly his compassion for others was not always so robust. In a 1992 appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show (whose host had a year earlier stood out for its support of gay rights ), Carrey turned the situation from grandiose to awkward with an uncomfortable joke about the presumed homosexuality of the Las Vegas magic act Siegfried and Roy:
Jim Carrey: “Being normal isn’t enough for me, I don’t think I’ll be happy until I can turn water into wine; until I can feed this entire audience with a few loaves of bread. My psychiatrist says I have a messiah complex, but I forgive him, for he knows not what he does. [Audience Laughs] I don’t know, I’m just totally – I just want something weird to happen — I want miracles, I want to see miracles and stuff. I think like the closest thing we’ve got to it now – you know, I don’t want to go to Vegas and have to pay like sixty bucks to see a couple of guys in tights make tigers disappear. You know what I mean?”
[Arsenio Hall: “Siegfried and Roy? I love them!”]
Carrey: “Aw, it’s no big deal man. You know how they do that? I’ll give you a hint. They started with gerbils.”
[Hall clearly becomes uncomfortable: “Jim, Jim! Dammit. “]
Carrey: “It’s an addiction! I’m telling you. Next thing you know it will be the Statue of Liberty. ‘Now I will make it reappear [makes farting noise and gesture] Tada!'”
While the above Arsenio Hall segment has the pure semblance of comedy, a theme of ‘messianic delusion’ seems to persist in Jim Carrey’s public persona, which may be telling in terms of psychology. In a 2004 appearance on the CBS weekly television news magazine 60 Minutes, Carrey took reporter Steve Kroft to a meditation spot on his property which Carrey described as “the center of the universe”, a place where he “[hung] out with Buddha and Krishna, and you know, all those guys, Jesus”; and described himself as “a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Christian…whatever you want [him] to be.” He says it “all comes down to the same thing; you’re in a loving place or you’re in an unloving place; if you’re with me right now, you cannot be unhappy. It’s not possible, just try.” (Kroft admitted he was wet and uncomfortable at that moment.)
Appropriately, Kroft’s narration of the segment described Carrey as a man of “faith both personal and mystical” and that Carrey “believes miracles will come true if you just believe in them, and he has his life and his career to prove it; but he does think that people who express strong feelings about spirituality run the risk of being labeled a kook.”
To this end, in the same segment, Kroft pressed Carrey about his reported bouts with depression and mental illness, to which Carrey admitted having moderate “peaks and valleys” in his mood and having been treated with antidepressants, but that at the time he had sworn off pharmaceuticals, street drugs, and even coffee. Without much modesty but continuing his theme of personal grandeur, Carrey also stated in the interview that he wants “to be the greatest actor who ever lived, frankly.”
Notably, a ‘Messiah complex’ (sometimes called a ‘Christ Complex’ or a ‘Savior Complex’) is defined by Wikipedia as: “a state of mind in which an individual holds a belief that they are destined to become a savior”… and “it is not a clinical term nor diagnosable disorder, however, the symptoms of the disorder closely resemble those found in individuals suffering from grandiose delusions or delusions of grandeur. This form of delusional belief is most often reported in patients suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.”
As described in I Needed Color (2017), Carrey first got into painting about six years before — which would be around 2011. It was then that Carrey came into focus for his attempts at street art, which were focused on the development of a New York City studio which he’d described as “The Church of FFC” or simply FFC, which is an acronym of “Freedom From Concern”.
Carrey was able to attract some attention from the paparazzi for his stencil-based spray paint art outside his studio, which had been painted over due to NYC ordinance; and then related his art to that of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Banksy. In addition, he introduced a new deity of his own creation named “Baba” which he equated with the term for “grandfather”, “father”, or “holy man” which seems to originate from a Persian or Turkish origin (apparently it should not be confused with the Russian “baba” (granny or grandmother)).
“I don’t want to criticize anybody that’s a little bit short-sighted, you know, painting over art. Because, didn’t Basquiat start that way? I’m not comparing myself, but you know, some good things came from that. Banksy — a heck of a lot of modern artists came from street art — you know, they’ve got their rules, and stuff, but it’s a very lighthearted thing. It’s a little bit rebellious at this point, or this new one, but it is lighthearted. It is a character I created named Baba. Baba means ‘grandfather’, Baba means ‘father’, Baba means ‘holy man’; and I created Baba as a mischievous deity. He exists in negative space as you can see and he basically exists to mess with you. To have fun with you. To poke fun at you, to show you yourself and your prejudices and all of your guilt and all your stuff; and even take you to hell if he has to to get you to turn toward the light.”
In February 2013, Carrey’s was still (jokingly?) comparing himself to Banksy.
In 2014, Carrey was prominently featured in the Vanity Fair spread about a party hosted by director Roland Emmerich which featured (Banksy connected) Pussy Riot in their first visit to Hollywood following their release from detention.
In the theme of reincarnating himself from an actor into a street artist, and into a painter, Carrey has most prominently emerged with a platform for his art which focuses on political cartoons which are critical of Donald Trump, relating himself to a mythical Hindu hero:
“I still tweet and draw political cartoons and play the part of Arjuna who has to fight the battle in Bhagavad Gita. It’s not a battle I want to fight, but you’ve got to play a part. “
The day before the 2016 election, Carrey claimed to have started his ‘political cartooning’ of Trump with a piece called There Are Killer Clowns Everywhere which he described to Michael Moore in 2017 as “a prophecy really” (@3:20) , which echoed a statement made in I Needed Color in describing the prophetic power of paintings :
“a year later, [I] realize that the painting was trying to tell me what I needed to know about myself a year before.”
Posted by Michael Moore on Thursday, September 7, 2017
In his meeting with Moore, Carrey also describes his spirituality in a ‘conspiratorial’ sense, leading strangely into a critique of capitalism as Moore nods approvingly (@7:00):
“I am not just this, all is divine and I am that… I truly believe it’s all linked — all the politics and all the hurricanes — and all the stuff is in an energy that is happening on this planet. In every sense, and so it’s all connected in some way… so much of our culture is being held back in the stone age by greed – and everything in our culture seems to have behind it some greed motivation – profit motivation, that keeps us from moving forward.”
This puts Carrey’s 2017 politics in line with his observed probable 1999 politics (as elaborated in the prior blog) and perhaps explains his alignment with Michael Moore, who as previously charted, has strong parallels to anti-fascist and communist propaganda much like Carrey does.
While in the several hours effort to collect the material to write this, I didn’t find specific evidence that Carrey has promoted JFK conspiracy theories, many people probably remember his role as the eponymous Ace Ventura Pet Detective (1994); where he said “I came to confess. I was the second gunman on the grassy knoll,” which certainly expresses a view which was developed in Soviet propaganda and the Hollywood conspiracism of Orson Welles.
Around the same time he sat next to Ed Harris at the 1999 Oscars in the midst of the Elia Kazan controversy, Carrey had appeared in the Andy Kaufman biopic Man on the Moon, which had been directed by the most certainly anti-fascistic Milos Forman (see my related post on Jimmy Hoffa conspiracism here).
In keeping with the idea that Jim Carrey’s conspiratorial views on vaccines seem to be derived from Soviet communist narratives, that modern Russian information operators used the issue of vaccines to sow discord, and that people who believe in vaccine-based conspiracies are also more likely to believe in other conspiracies (compounded by the problem of news feed algorithms delivering such content and reinforcing/enriching existing conspiratorial beliefs); it is now worth suggesting that Carrey’s personal extreme liberal views on firearms as amplified through his art may also be further evidence of his being ‘caught up’ in divisive issues pushed by the Russian troll farm.
Oh say, can't you see?! pic.twitter.com/SFAgo4MkgS
— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) February 25, 2018
In this vein of stirring up angry feelings around guns, Carrey was notable for ‘desecration of the memory of Charlton Heston’ which notably earned him the ire of right wing conspiracists Alex Jones and Ted Nugent; who both seem to revere Heston as some kind of saint of liberty.
According to Ted Nugent’s anti-fascist stance on gun regulation elaborated in this Alex Jones interview, gun rights advocates like Carrey “would take away all the guns if they could” and “Charlton Heston knew the culture war was coming before any of us did“, and “Charlton Heston isn’t even alive, and he caused Jim Carrey to expose his soullessness. So, don’t underestimate in the culture war, more important than the lie in ‘Bowling for Columbine’ by Michael ‘No Hygiene’ Moore… the list goes on of hypocritical brain-dead subhuman punks…“, and again Nugent related gun rights advocates to “subhuman Nazi brownshirt punks” destined to get their due in some kind of post-Nuremberg tribunal.
If it weren’t so tragic, the contrast of Carrey-Moore and Jones-Nugent comes across like some badly-scripted professional wrestling tag team anti-fascist kayfabe.
Of course, Carrey was also quick to demonstrate his support for Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the National Anthem by showing off his new Nike shoes on the very same Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher program where he said we “have to say yes to socialism!”; highlighting that he’s also a likely consumer / provocateur around Black Lives Matter issues. (Accompanying anti-fascist art and Tweeting ensued, with Carrey praising Nike’s ‘Captialism with a conscious’ [sic].)
— Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) September 5, 2018
Altogether, this retrospective on the art of Jim Carrey not only puts it squarely in the ‘inspired by Russian propagandists’ category (mainly by Trump:Russia context, Blacklist / anti-fascist Popular Front activities in Hollywood history, and Banksy / Pussy Riot connections); but it also highlights a strongly consistent theme of ‘messianic delusion’ in Carrey’s statements about artwork (whether that be comedy or visual arts). (Perhaps this is a good lever to manipulate Carrey as a ‘useful idiot’.)
Also consistent is Carrey’s involvement in divisive ‘conspiratorial’ political issues which masquerade as social justice causes but have roots in Russian, Soviet, and broadly ‘communistic’ sources. That whole dividing Western society thing seems decidedly un-messiah-like, though it is in line with Russian political objectives.
So, I can state with some confidence that Jim Carrey seems a spiritual and financial hypocrite — but it is up to you if you think his art is any good — he’s reinvented it enough times to make me think it won’t spark a mass movement revolutionizing society no matter what form it takes. Heck, Carrey didn’t even illustrate his own ‘magical tool’ ‘cosmic consciousness’ children’s book How Roland Rolls (2013) which was produced in this period; although he did publicly associate the concept with the ‘Church of FFC’.
The Guardian‘s art critic certainly doesn’t care for Carrey’s stuff – though the same article puts the photography of “that pinko [Dennis] Hopper” from the 1960’s in the context of a legitimate artist. Personally, I rank Carrey’s visual arts in the usual class of his most recent direct-to-video acting work; but think if he enjoys it, he should do it. Who cares if anyone else likes it? (I have the same philosophy.) Furthermore, perhaps most importantly – despite me critiquing Carrey’s psychology, we should also have compassion for Carrey’s mental health, and be thankful he probably doesn’t own any firearms.
Trivia: Roman Polanski was originally to direct Carrey’s latest movie flop: Dark Crimes (2018), which currently has 0% on 30+ Rotten Tomatoes reviews and it was produced in association with Ratpac Entertainment, Brett Ratner‘s film company; giving the whole production a rather timely #metoo flavor.