Jim Carrey is a movie star who is used to changing his image. His face is stretchy and chameleonic — a tablet screen made of Silly Putty. And ever since The Truman Show, he has slipped back and forth between goofy and serious roles with a remarkable, nothin’-to-it facility. Last Friday, though, Carrey may have altered his image a bit too inadvertently when he went all thumb-happy and now lookee here! gossipy opinionated on his Twitter page. For Carrey, trying to muster up some sympathy for the beleaguered Tiger Woods (“Tiger Woods owes nothing 2 anyone but himself”) wasn’t necessarily a mistake. After all, a lot of the golfer’s fans are eager to see Woods put his transgressions behind him. But when Carrey wrote what could be construed as a critical statement about Woods’ wife, Elin (“No wife is blind enough to miss that much infidelity…Elin had 2 b a willing participant on the ride 4 whatever reason”), it felt like he’d stepped over a line of propriety. He had no excuse, really, except maybe this one: Twitter made me do it!
Twitter, of course, is now being embraced by more and more celebrities as a new-style self-marketing tool, a way of dispensing an image and controlling it at the same time. For some, like Ashton Kutcher, it’s practically an art form. But Jim Carrey was trying to send a red-hot message through an ice-cold medium, which is why it didn’t work. Twitter doesn’t transmit earnestness very well, and Carrey’s comments about Tiger Woods, in their conjectural and slightly intrusive way, came from the My name is Jim, and I’m in a lot of pain! side of Carrey that has always fudged up his star image. This wasn’t Carrey the loose-cannon cutup, who can be bitingly honest and hilarious at the same time. It was Carrey the devoted therapy-head, the man of fractured identity who wears his insecurities on his sleeve. Carrey, of course, may well have been in high therapeutic mode following the breakup of his five-year relationship with Jenny McCarthy. But that intensely publicized split didn’t necessarily make him the ideal candidate to be handing out freelance marital advice.
A day later, trying to soften his comments, Carrey tweeted once again, making it clear that he in no way condoned Tiger Woods’ infidelity. (When you have to clarify that, you’re trying to spin yourself out of a muddy ditch.) And then, to lighten the mood, he added: “So, you guys probably don’t feel like talkin’ about Sandra Bullock, right? I’M KIDDING! JEEEZE! I’m a little on edge. Cut me some slack!” Which would probably have been flat-out funny if you saw Carrey say it in person on a talk show. But over-the-type sarcastic hyperbole has a way of not translating quite so perfectly into electronic tweets. I read that comment and thought: Whoa, he really does sound a little on edge. When you think about it, Jim Carrey may be the last celebrity on earth who should become a Twitter addict. His personality is too large to be accommodated by tweets. A tweet gives you the words, and with Carrey you want to hear the music, see the face, watch the comments unfold on that Silly Putty tablet screen. For the right celebrity, Twitter can be liberating. For the wrong one, it’s like seeing someone get trapped in the telegram they just sent.
So what did you think of Jim Carrey’s comments? And do you now want to hear celebrities tweet their every thought…or not?