Piers Morgan, arbitrator of all things "sexy and feminine," went on the Today Show this morning to spout things like "more women on the red carpet should think about men." And that's just the beginning.
Morgan appeared alongside Today style editor Bobbie Thomas and they couldn't have picked two more different guests. While Thomas has mostly positive things to say about the fashions, Morgan seems to take a particular pleasure in pointing out physical flaws and making stay in the kitchen-style jokes. Right off the bat, the two disagree about Sandra Bullock, who Morgan says isn't "a great natural beauty compared to the others." When Thomas steps in to defend her Bullock, Morgan shuts her down, saying "Well, I'm the fashion expert around here." Cue uncomfortable laughter.
For the next several minutes, Morgan makes it clear that being a "fashion expert" is somehow synonymous with "jackass." He bemoans Charlize Theron's dress on the grounds that it is an example of "women dressing for women." Carey Mulligan is the "perfect woman" because of the "kitchen utensils" covering her Prada dress. The entire segment is kind of uncomfortable to watch, as the guests clash and host Meredith Vieira does minimal damage control.
Morgan's criticism exemplifies two of the biggest problems of red carpet commentary: mean-spirited bitchiness combined with open sexism. Mocking celebrities has become something of a national pastime, but there is a point where the all-in-good-fun critique veers into dangerous territory. For lack of a better word, Morgan's brand of commentary is purely bitchy. There is nothing fun about his appearance; he isn't trying to be particularly quick or witty. He is little more than a poor man's Simon Cowell, but instead of doling out harsh truths, he plays on stale jokes and outdated stereotypes. In lieu of insight, Morgan panders to our basest impulses. And it seems that far too much of the red carpet talk has fallen into this pattern of alternating between vicious take-downs and praise made fainter by the smattering of backhanded compliments. I'm not exactly a believer in the if you cant say anything nice school of thought, because being truly and consistently nice can get rather boring. But maybe "fashion experts" like Morgan should follow this modified rule, borrowed from our own commenting policies: If your statement is neither complimentary, insightful, or redeemed by the sheer brilliance of your wit, maybe you should keep it to yourself.