Jim Carrey Sort of Missing The Target

Jim Carrey Gun Control

Jim Carrey incisively sticking it to the gun lobby (image via theblaze.com, still from ‘Cold Dead Hand’ on Funny Or Die)

I like Jim Carrey and I admire his brave stance on gun control; I laughed at him for the first time in years when I watched ‘Cold Dead Hand‘. Over. And over. And over again.

So I hate to say this, but I think he’s missing the point here.

I know. I know. The twitterstorm about his refusal to promote Kick-Ass 2, in which he appears, is old hat (Geez, Pete, like epic #timeliness #fail. That is so June 24th, 2013), but bear with me for just a few seconds because this is an attempt at drive-by pith here.

Carrey’s backed out of promoting the film because he ‘cannot support that level of violence,’ which is fine. Anyone can have a change of heart and he probably wanted to appear consistent given the vocal stance he’s taken on Sandy Hook. Typically, howls of hypocrite have come frothing unpleasantly from the mouths of cadres of conservative do gooders looking to sort ’em out on earth like our Puritan forefathers.

I do not know what Jim Carrey’s response will be to these fits of verbal flatulence coming from the wrong ends of the twitter accounts of loudest mouths on fox, but I can’t help but feel like by backing out of promoting the film, he missed a real opportunity to confront this vicious political environment on its own terms by stating the obvious: there is no direct causal relationship between violent media and violent behaviour.

I watched all the Freddy Kruger films and the Friday the 13th franchise. I even saw one of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films in the theatre, but I somehow grew up to be a productive non-violent member of society. So have millions of others. None of these films lead to massacres or murders because they encapsulate and articulate the fears of us all during the 1980s about what lay lurking behind the rapidly decreasing family structure and what happens to our children when we aren’t there to protect them, but by articulating those fears, as awful as those films were, they functioned to help us deal with them. And yet, there are so many gun deaths and so much violent behaviour. I admit, I find some videogames irresponsibly violent, but that does not mean I hold them responsible for gun violence.

But don’t take my word for it. See what Dr Gene Beresin says in Psychology Todaybacked up by studies done by the FBI, the Secret Service and various other medical researchers who conclude that there is ‘no causal relationship between violent games and violent behaviour.’ So no matter how much blame-shifting the NRA does, there is no getting away from the corrosively unhealthy gun culture alive and well in America today.

I still think Jim Carrey is a good guy. I wish he’d made that point.

7 responses

  1. Snoring Dog Studio | Reply

    I’m confused – if you say that there’s no causal relationship, then why is the prevailing gun culture so corrosively unhealthy? I might have missed a point here given the late hour and my brain’s tendency to shut down after 7 pm. Frankly, I haven’t read any of the studies but it seems like it would be enormously difficult to do a study on this issue. So, I question the studies, though I’m on the fence. There are a lot of variables at play: the easy availability of guns plus the violent climate we live in, plus the poor mental health care we offer in the US. Well, my two cents…

    1. Thanks for reading and… Well, exactly. Studies suggest that there is no causal relationship between violent films, TV, and games and violent behavior, but that doesn’t take away from, and in fact suggests that the difference between us and other countries that play the games we play, watch the films we watch and get American TV piped in all the time is the corrosively unhealthy gun culture and the lack of moral guidance (not simply by parents or some nuclear family structure but as a community) that erases that check between fantasy and reality and desensitizes children to the horrors that guns can bring about. In fact, the point of the studies I’ve linked is just the one you’re making, that it is notoriously difficult to make a concrete link between media per se without pointing to other factors.

      1. Snoring Dog Studio

        Thank you, AL – and I agree – there has to be something in US culture – the glorification of guns and gun ownership and winning by force – that plays into the difference. Frankly, we just waste a ton of time trying to conduct studies about media violence and acts of violence, when we need to spend our energy on the other variables involved.

  2. “But don’t take my word for it. See what Dr Gene Beresin says in Psychology Today, backed up by studies done by the FBI, the Secret Service and various other medical researchers who conclude that there is ‘no causal relationship between violent games and violent behaviour.’ So no matter how much blame-shifting the NRA does, there is no getting away from the corrosively unhealthy gun culture alive and well in America today.”

    Before you decide the issue is settled I suggest you take a look at the work of Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, author of “On Killing” where the Army paid him to study killing. He has written some others books following that which specifically look at violent video games.

    Another thought to consider is that for the majority violent movies and games don’t turn kids into Adam Lanza. But add psychoactive drugs like those prescribed for ADHC and a fragile mind in some the story might be a little different.


    1. Thanks for commenting.

      I will check out Grossman. Sounds fascinating. I’m not saying that violent video games don’t play their deleterious part in the development of young people, but I think you’re right in suggesting that other factors are also always involved, that it’s never just violent media.

      I do think the way we think about guns is unhealthy, but I also think that the increasing level of violence that we not only accept but crave in our media is terrifying.

      Add to that a callous approach to mental health and drugs and general apathetic attitude towards one’s fellow human being and you have a toxic mix.

  3. Since you mention the NRA’s blame-shifting tactics, it is important to point out that they are the well-funded front organization for the gun manufacturers. As long as the NRA keeps raising fears about ‘the liberals who are coming for our guns’ they spur sales of guns, thus lining the pockets of the gun lobby which donates huge sums of money to the campaigns of elected officials. One need look no farther than the recently failed Congressional effort to require background checks on gun purchasers in spite of 90% of Americans who support such a law, including over 80% of NRA members. In other words, it is more important to sell guns than it is to determine who is buying them.
    Thank you for posting this timely article. – Mike

    1. Thank you kindly, Mike. I couldn’t agree more. It frightens me how much sway companies like Lockheed-Martin have over lawmakers in the homeland and how much we act like we’re constantly on a war footing. Orwell was a prescient bastard, huh? And the gun checks, good God. The lobbyists do tend to whip up the paranoia, as you quite rightly say. But for an ideologue to, in good conscience, argue that nothing should be done about gun laws and that anything done about gun laws is a violation of a constitutional right beggars belief.

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