Chris Smith’s documentary, “Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton,” captures Jim Carrey’s channeling of the comedian Andy Kaufman in conjunction with the filming of “Man on the Moon.” Carrey as Kaufman is frightening in that Carrey seems to have killed himself off, at least for the duration of filming, so that one worries for his continued sanity – which as Carrey tells it worried him also. As Carrey describes the process, he gave control of himself over to Andy Kaufman, “I decided for the next few days to speak telepathically to people . . . That’s the moment when Andy Kaufman showed up, tapped me on the shoulder, and said, ‘Siddown, I’ll be doing my movie.’ What happened afterwards was out of my control.” Indeed, Carrey seems to have lost control as he stays in character – either the character of Kaufman or the character of Kaufman’s Tony Clifton, the aggressively insulting lounge singer, Kaufman would occasionally become. Continue reading “The Absurd Comedy of Andy Kaufman & Jim Carrey and Christ as a Joke”
Are Christians and Christianity Shameless?
I suppose there are easier ways to make progress in theology, but it took me some twenty years in Japan to recognize the inadequacy of a theology focused on guilt (a concept all but lacking in Japan). There is no equivalent for the concept of “sin” in Japanese, where sin has to do with a guilt plagued conscience. There is crime (tsumi – used to translate “sin”) and shame but these both have to do with a serious corporate transgression. Sin and guilt, as we have conceived them in the west, do not get at the root of Japanese self-identity – which is group oriented and corporate. Where the group serves as the ground of identity, shame and not guilt, best describes the experience of a failed identity. The question is if there are actually two such very different modes of doing identity; one which takes account of relational reality and one in which there is a non-relational essence at the center of personhood? Or is one of these simply a mistaken understanding of the root human condition? Continue reading “Are Christians and Christianity Shameless?”