An Open Letter to Angus T. Jones

For a couple of days I have considered starting this and put it aside. There were better people than I speaking up and I still had huge goals to hit in my NaNoWriMo project. This morning, on my drive in to the bagel shop for writing before work it hit me. Like being blindsided by a deer bolting across the road as I head to that first roundabout, it made crystal clear sense as it brought me to a grinding halt. What I had to say about it warranted me taking my own advice and write it down.

Will it make a difference? No. Not only will the young man in question never read this, neither of my readers have the issues I’ll be discussing. And I’m pretty sure one of those two are my wife. But like so often in life, I’m doing this for me. Call it a writing exercise to get me into the mode to get my 6000 words in today, bookended around an eight hour work day. Call it therapy the way a stand up comic will go up on stage and joke about his life as a way to work through it. But call it what it is. A rant. Buckle up folks.

Mr. Jones,

I, like many, have seen your video in which you urge us to not watch the show Two and a Half Men. I’m guessing more people saw this video than were ever intended or expected. I can see this being a boon to you in the consideration that “His Word” might get out to more people that way. We’ll get to that later.

First off let me say that I am glad you found a place where you think you belong. At your young age that is a rarity. There is no value to that statement as I am not as sure about the path you’ve taken your first steps on. At the same time, I understand the surety of youth and the conviction of the “righteous.” That said, finding a place you feel you belong doesn’t grant you the freedom to subject others to the slings and arrows of your outrageous opinions.

You don’t want to be on Two and a Half Men. The Christian you are becoming cannot come to terms with the role you are playing, the job you are doing. There is an answer to that predicament. Quit. Conviction isn’t in the words, its in the action. Yes, ironic that I am saying this in a blog post, otherwise known as words. But the fact that conviction is in the action is what compelled me to write a letter you will most likely never see and that could bring up uncomfortable discussions with friends or family.

Aside from your later apology to the people who work hard on the show you called filth, there is more to the situation that speaks to a lack of integrity. In the event that you did quit, you have ten years worth of wage from that job banked. Even now, in a job this season that you have described as “boring” you get paid for that single scene what it would take me over seven years to make in my job. Do you know what I get for doing that job that each year is worth about 2 minutes of screen time for you? I get the benefit of getting up before dawn so that I can go to a coffee shop and do my art for two hours before going to that job. If I’m lucky I get to stay up until around 10:30 or 11:00 that night further refining my art. Or reading others art.

The reactions of the fans and those around you should be telling. People are worried you’re being exploited. How much has this spiritual adviser’s ministry been advertised in the media thanks to this controversy? How much name recognition has he achieved with this gambit? And what does this righteous man, this mentor, stand for? Take him out of the equation for now though. That situation is yours to deal with. But in that instance I leave you with a piece of advice gleaned from a man I admire. When looking at your life and your place in this encounter answer two questions… Who am I? And what is the Truth? Something tells me the truth in this situation isn’t a pleasant one.

If you decide for yourself, as all young people should learn to, that you stand by the convictions you stated in that “testimonial” that was produced for the web (as it was a clearly edited and produced piece), then consider the money you’ve earned doing the work of “the enemy.” Set up a trust for a charity that could make good use of the money. There are a number of excellent foundations that have started up nationally that are dedicated to ending childhood cancer. Locally in my area we have the Badger Childhood Cancer Network. Nationally there is the Ronan Thompson Foundation.

Realistically we all have to stand by our truth. My truth is that I will likely never have the resources as you have been blessed with to be able to provide for myself with my art. The resources that you have earned through art you denounce as filth. Make no mistake, I consider comedy art. My writing would likely be considered filth by the same standards. But it is my art. And I won’t stop doing it. I sincerely hope you do not stop doing your job. I also wish you all the luck I could hope for in finding your way. Wasting the true blessings you have been given would be a crime.

I leave you with a final piece of advice taken from Neil Gaiman to students leaving art school to head out into an unsure world. Hopefully in your studies (as I have read you wish to break from acting for a college education) this will be of use to you. Make Good Art. “Leg crushed and eaten by a mutated boa constrictor? Make good art. IRS on your trail? Make good art. Cat exploded? Make good art.” Even if that Art is no longer acting. Make good art.

Yes, its unsolicited advice. And you will never see it. But still I somehow feel the need to say it. If for nothing else to convince myself the 12-16 hours I put in most days doing a job for the chance to do art are not in vain. And should we meet, I would shake your hand and thank you for any part you had in making me laugh over the last ten years. Even if it was at the butt end of a fart joke.

Zombie Joe

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