Yesterday, in the midst of a so-called “feud,” Chrissy Teigen tweeted that “Piers Morgan searches his name every 4.8 seconds.” She’s probably right. At this point, Piers Morgan is pretty much the real-life Beetlejuice, only way more racist and sexist. He seems to pop up whenever he is summoned via backlash, like a court jester of pop culture whose ultimate goal is to profit off of deliberately bad opinions under the guise of “telling it like it is.”
Our latest dispatch from Piers’s inflamed carbuncle of a brain is the defamation of Muhammad Ali, mere days after his death. “Muhammad Ali said far more inflammatory/racist things about white people than Donald Trump ever has about Muslims. #fact,” he tweeted, promoting a Daily Mail column filled with other such comments culled from his algorithm of infuriation.
The outrage was effectively incited, and it rippled its way up to Teigen and her husband, John Legend. “You could test us by announcing your retirement,” Legend responded, to which Teigen replied, “From what? Trolling isn’t a job (I’ve tried).” From there, everything devolved right on schedule, with Morgan having the audacity to insult Teigen’s career, writing, “Maybe I should take up a proper job, like modeling?” The whole exchange left Piers getting a ton of negative attention for being a petty parody of a bigoted commentariat. And that’s exactly what he wanted.
If anyone “won” the back-and-forth, it was Teigen, with her masterful penultimate dig calling him an unequivocal douche through the voice of her newborn child. And yet, Piers Morgan cannot be vanquished so much as momentarily muted until he formulates his next unpopular opinion. It’s only a matter of time until he rises back up into our trending terms by yet again uncreatively flipping political correctness on its head. Where you decapitate him in a shallow battle of wits, another head simply grows in its place. He’s a blowhard hydra, whose life force is the mildly offensive.
“Mildly” is key here. Piers specifically pushes just hard enough to either annoy or upset, but rarely goes to a place where he can get in real trouble. More often, he sounds a dog whistle for progressives, begging those with any sensitivity toward sexism and racism to take the bait. He then proceeds by engaging with almost anyone who claps back, because that spiral of backlash is where he draws all his energy. He gobbles up rote outrage, fueling a brand built on privileged blindness and inverted liberalism, which has only ever succeeded in kind of pissing people off.
He zeroes into the baseline white, male idiocy he expects will elicit a reaction, then pumps it into a garish caricature before letting reactions further his momentum. “Won't be long before feminazis start attacking me as 'sexist,” he wrote after some routine nonsense back in February. Typically, backlash is wrought out of offensive earnestness in need of correction, but Piers’s antics are much more performative than that. When slut-shaming Kim Kardashian, misgendering Janet Mock, or saying Beyonce is anything less than flawless, he fires his lazy garbage into the universe, and then evilly rubs his hands together, eagerly awaiting the attention he thinks he deserves.
There are plenty of people with racist and sexist opinions in this trash world, but Piers’s goal is not to spread his mind-numbing cultural critiques out of genuine belief in his own ideas. It’s clear from his overeager willingness to respond to detractors from all social standings that all he wants to play the parodic villain in whatever way we he can. Sometimes he’ll hook a big fish, like Teigen or Kim Kardashian, though, scroll through his feed, and you’ll see he happily settles for slap fights with accounts under 1000 followers. His bread and butter is not in his “analysis,” but the backlash it incites. We can try to undo his nonsense with incisive commentary, but it’s all in vain. Every time we tweet his name, he grows a bit stronger, using each iota of annoyance and anger to further propel a career which has never been based on anything other than being a bigoted clown in the first place.