Actor and abstract painter Jim Carrey sketched a caricature of Donald Trump's teleconference with U.S. troops ranting from his private Florida beach club that “the world is a vicious place.” The send-up shows the president wearing his signature smoothly coiffed hairdo and his usual scrunched up furious face as he complains about his wars against the migrants. Such was the holiday greeting from the White House and the drawing captured the hardheartedness of his message.

Comic actor's comedies of a second kind

Carrey has been cartooning his reactions not only to the insensitivities of Trump but also of others who support him since the 2016 election – more than 100, according to a report in the New Yorker magazine in August.

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In one, he spoofed Sen. Lindsey Graham, when he shouted, “This is all crap,” referring to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee that Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, tried to rape her.

Carrey pictured the senator as deranged and told the New Yorker that such take-downs were his civic duty saying, “It's my responsibility to pick up the sword.”.(Hold that thought for a moment).

Originality needs to be part of an art conversation

The actor posted his cartoons online and the one of Sen. Graham received 80,000 hits. The drawing gets my thumbs-up, too. But fellow art critic Jonathan Jones isn't a fan., As he said in The Guardian, “Carrey's art is yet more proof that Hollywood stars should avoid the canvas,” Granted, he was talking about the actor's abstract painting, but ignored his cartooning, as if it wasn't even worth deriding. And it isn't as if he puts cartooning outside the realm of art. After all, he has praised Roy Lichtenstein's cartoons as just that - “an obsession with art itself pervades even his most apparently simple images.” I couldn't disagree more.

Completing the picture

As I see it when it comes to cartooning, Lichtenstein's cartoons are meaningless and Carrey's are not. Consider the Pop artist's cartoon titled “Wham!” which shows a fighter plane's firepower blowing up an enemy plane. The vision of violence isn't even original. He copied it whole straight out of a DC War Comic book. What did he want us to think? No need to ponder the question. As he famously said, his art is “anti-contemplative.”

Taking cartoons seriously

I'd go so far as to say that Carrey's cartoons are more meaningful than his films, despite the accolades for them. I'm thinking of The Mask for which movie critics Siskel and Ebert' gave a two thumbs up and which won the actor a Golden Globe nomination it. But consider what “The Mask” was about – mindless shootouts, bloodletting and sophomoric snickering about sex. Stack it up against his cartoons and see what the movie is not - meaningful.