Noted Twit Piers Morgan Knows Exactly One Insult

Inside the failed CNN host's four-year crusade against his critics' Twitter profile pictures.

Monday morning, Metro U.S. film critic (and, full disclosure, friend) Matt Prigge tweeted a random thought/joke about a pseudo-celebrity, as we are all wont to do:

Quickly thereafter – a bit too quickly, considering Prigge didn’t @-tag the subject, meaning someone either has a ruthlessly efficient alert system or was needily Twitter-searching his own name – Mr. Morgan re-tweeted Prigge’s jibe with a barb of his own:

I have no doubt that Mr. Morgan, a personality best explained as Monty Python’s “Upper-Class Twit of the Year Award” sketch made flesh, considered this jab the height of wit, a first-degree burn worthy of high-fives from all 5.58 million of the people who are inexplicably following him. But if you pay even the slightest bit of attention to his fourth-grade-level Twitter feed – and seriously, reward yourself with a warm slice of pie if you’ve managed to avoid it – you’ll notice something vaguely familiar about this taunt. It is, to put it mildly, used goods.

Occasionally he’ll tweak the call/insult/profile pic formulation, while still riffing on the idea that mocking a Twitter avatar is a Voltaire-level rebuke:

The oldest of these tweets dates back to February of 2013. Scroll through his Twitter feed – and then quickly read some Morrison or Hemingway, to restore your brain to its full strength – and you’ll discover it appears to be the only insult he knows, his only counter to those who point out his considerable shortcomings as a broadcaster, commentator, and human being. We have a tendency, particularly here in the states, to give people the intellectual benefit of the doubt if they’re wearing a suit and speaking in something resembling a posh accent, but Morgan’s continued reliance upon the “Your FACE is [repeat insult back]” school of debate makes abundantly clear that Mr. Morgan, at risk of putting too fine a point on it, isn’t terribly bright. His four-plus-year regurgitation of this braindead slam makes him the world’s shittiest insult comic, like Don Rickles coming onstage and spending his set pointing at each member of the audience and shouting “You’re ugly,” ad nauseam. (It’s also been known to backfire, like when he tried to lob it at a user who had a photo of Hannah Arendt as his avatar.)

But at risk of investing too much time in the psychoanalysis of a bag of flaming porch feces, it’s telling that this is, to Mr. Morgan, the ultimate insult. It indicates an unhealthy preoccupation with surfaces and appearances, reflected in his tsk-tsk editorials and tweets over how overtly sexualized female celebrities are allowed to be. So when he targets women with this all-purpose jape, it’s all of a piece with his recent excursions into MRA-land, the “Why isn’t there a men’s march” whining and language-police alarmism that display a supreme discomfort with the idea that women are more than arm candy for smug simpletons like him.

I will say this, in the interest of fairness: when Piers Morgan is faced with the challenge of insulting people on Twitter, he is not presented with the rich buffet of scorn options freely available to those insulting him. The rest of us, after all, can point out his unapologetic Trumpism, his casual racism, his transphobia, his willful ignorance, his “well-actually”-ing of sexual assault survivors. We can bring up that whole “hacking-dead-people’s-phones” thing. We can remind him of the miserable failure of his CNN show, routinely trounced in the ratings by not only Fox’s Megyn Kelly, but MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (Morgan’s worst nightmare: a gay liberal woman).

Or we can play his game, and point you to his own avatar:

Mate, with that profile pic, you should probably just shut the fuck up about profile pics.