The Fears of a Clown

The Existential Clown by James Parker
The Atlantic, December 2008

"Jim Carrey will loom large in our shattered posterity, I believe, because his filmography amounts to a uniquely sustained engagement with the problem of the self. ... How about an insurance salesman who discovers that his whole life is an elaborate fiction created by a malign TV producer?! Or--yeah!--a mendacious lawyer compelled to tell the truth for 24 hours?!"

Jennie Rothenberg Gritz is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she edits digital features.

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