Forget Frazier and Ali. The “Rumble in the Jungle” was just a sweaty love-in compared to the sparks that flew when the two ‘titans’ of the gun debate, Piers Morgan and Alex Jones, locked horns in a verbal duel on prime time TV (see video tab). The battle between the smug, self-important, insouciant Englishman and the barnstorming, bar-brawling, conspiracy-theorist Texan shock jock was enthralling stuff.
We knew it was going to get down and ugly as Morgan came out with his sneering eyes and minimalist aikido of the carefully prepared 'factoid' and faced Jones with his flagrant paranoia, flapping arms, encyclopedia of conspiracy. Both had their cunning strategies for a crushing victory. Morgan hoped to use his irritating smarm to ignite Jones into a self-conflagrationary fireball of redneck lunacy, but Jones had his own game plan to unsettle the Englishman with his hairdryer-megaphone verbal approach, “in-your-face-limey” attitude, and music hall comedy English accent.
So, who won? Opinion was initially divided. Some commentators felt that Jones had wasted a golden opportunity to showcase his calm, measured professorial side (and seemed to assume that he had one), and that he had instead been goaded like a bull to bray like a jackass. My take, however, is that Jones won hands down.
A polite discussion with a man he is campaigning to deport would have made him look like a phony (which he may well be), so sweeping Morgan’s questions aside and being abrasive made perfect sense. Jones got a lot of good info out, while Morgan ended up repeating the same small handful of phrases. Also it was clear that Jones wasn't really a backwoods wildman completely losing it or he would have sent Morgan sprawling off his high chair or pulled out his blunderbuss.
Finally, Jones landed plenty of clean hits on Morgan personally, reminding us that this “principled campaigner” is really just a sewer journalist who still has questions to answer back home in the UK about faking stories and hacking phones. In fact this is probably the best explanation for Morgan’s desperate attempts to climb aboard a contrived moral crusade in a country he still knows little about: the crusader's desire for the remission of past sins.