Maybe I'm just talking out of my butt, but judging from the way Jim Carrey is treated in cyberspace, it seems to me that he's a much more significant phenom than even the astronomical grosses of the Ace Ventura series or the $20 million he landed to star in the upcoming Cable Guy might indicate. We all know Carrey as the guy with the elastic face who dances around maniacally and makes barnyard noises. Among the cyberelite, however, he's (select all that apply) an unwitting lightning rod in the war between the sexes; a godlet worthy of Internet shrines and temples; a Bad Thing That Happens to Good People.
In an otherwise serious posting in the alt.atheism discussion group, one participant laments, ''Why do good men die young while the evil prosper? Why is Saddam Hussein still in power? Why does Jim Carrey make so much money?'' Or consider this recent posting on the soc.singles newsgroup: ''I hate most Jim Carrey movies. I find them inane.... The really depressing part is my girlfriend loves Ace Ventura I and II. I worry sometimes, I really do.'' Or, for that matter, check out the ongoing discussions among the denizens of rec.arts.movies and soc.culture.french in which these cybercineasts ponder why Americans eat up Jim Carrey movies, while the French adore Jerry Lewis (''How can you like such a poor guy?'' one baffled Gallic critic asks about Carrey).
If you're beginning to think Carrey's omnipresent on the Net, wait, because we haven't even gotten to some of the sssmokin' websites. Check out Peter Robinson's Temple of Jim Carrey (http:// pages.prodigy.com/jcarrey), Randy Brown's Jim Carrey Web Page (http:// www.halcyon.com/browner), and the page authored by 12-year-old Elijah Petroff (http://www.inforamp.net/~petroff), which includes the production script of Batman Forever and Carrey's E-mail address.
Want to see how deep a major studio can sink in an attempt to pander to the lowest common denominator? Then check out Warner Bros.' official Ace Ventura site (http://pathfinder.com/@@tuza- 5yifkgeaqmis/wb/ace), which offers a ''butt-talking'' contest and an official ''Ace's Operatives certificate, suitable for framing or wrapping fish.'' And wouldn't you know, the certificate shows up on an unofficial Jim Carrey page (http://www-csif.cs.ucdavis. edu/~malaowal/jim.html), in which one Arash Malaowala boasts that he's seen the original Ace Ventura ''30 to 40 times.'' But the prize for the most IQ-challenged site has to go to the Official Unofficial Jim Carrey Site! (http://deathstar.rutgers. edu/people/green/agreen.html). Thanks to the author's imperfect knowledge of Web-page construction, most of this slow-loading page's links refer right back to the site itself so you can spend hours viewing the same pictures over and over. Talk about dumb and dumber.
Discussion groups and fan pages aside, by far the most impressive Jim Carrey document in cyberspace is the official list of frequently asked questions. This amazing collaborative effort by members of the alt.fan.jim-carrey newsgroup (where the FAQ can be found) includes detailed essays on Carrey's movies and TV shows; a penetrating look at the actor's childhood, culled from various magazine and TV interviews (''My mother was a professional sick person. She took a lot of pain pills''); and the answer to the burning question ''Is it true that Ted Turner offered him $50 million and a night with his wife if he would continue to star in New Line Cinema movies?'' (''No, don't be silly,'' say the collaborators.) For the creators of this monument to Jim Carreydom, I can only quote that line from Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls: Spank you. Spank you very much.