Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wife Swap Long-Fowler family

Oh, boy is the 'net howling today after that disastrous pairing of Stephen Fowler and Gayla Long in ABC's Wife Swap. Stephen Fowler's insistence that his education, accent, and standing in the world gives him license to demean and abuse the woman from Missouri was shameful. I believe it was unnecessary for ABC to continue with that pairing, since he refused to participate in the Rules, and reneged on his obligations to participate fully in the show. He kicked Gayla out and she wound up in a hotel room, for heavens' sakes. What does it take for ABC to decide to end something? They canceled Boston Legal quick enough. But they didn't release Gayla Long from her abuse inside that house of horrors with Stephen Fowler. What a long and lonely night in the hotel room that must have been for her.

Mr Fowler had called her names, insulted her for the fun of it, (and in the so doing insulted all his wife's clients), taught his kids to do the same which to me, is child abuse, and refused to participate in the obligations of the show on the basis that he was above her and her ideas were beneath him.

That is not how we treat people. That is not how we fulfill our business obligations. Why ABC continued subjecting Gayla to the classless boor is beyond me.

Now. Taking a breath. My family was blessed enough to have money and emphasized education, world views and culture to the same extent that Stephen Fowler did. However, they also taught me to be thankful for the material comfort we had, to listen to other points of view, and never ever think myself above another person. Certainly they set the example that you are courteous to all people in public and treat them respectfully. I do not know why or how Mr Fowler ended up so heartless, but to showcase that level of meanness on a national television show was just too crass for words, especially since Mrs. Long was such a classy person and stayed true to Christian values in the face of hard, deep, and constant abuse on national television no less.

ABC: do not let your show participants be abused for the sake of ratings. I enjoy Wife Swap for the sake of seeing how others cope when living outside their element and seeing what they could and do learn, but abuse should never be part of the mix.

So that is my rant. This is another person's rant and they said it much better than I could:
Wow. At present, I am two-thirds of the way into this evening's episode of Wife Swap. I am so aghast at the actions of Steven Fowler that I had to write in. I actually took the time to grab my laptop, power it up and sign up for an account on ABC.com, merely in hopes of Mr. Fowler reading this message. So Mr. Fowler- You should be absolutely ashamed of yourself. Before you label me with one of your stereotypes and dismiss me as some wannabe Internet opinionist, let me give you my background. I was educated at Le Rosey through my A -levels, did my undergrad at Harvard and my post-grad at Columbia.

While I am proud of my education, it does not define who I am, nor do I deem it as a measure of my self-worth, in any way. Education is a wonderful thing and the fact that you place such emphasis on it is admirable. The fact that you use it to judge others and to assume some kind of superiority over them is pathetic. As an educated person I would hope that you would be beyond acting in such a callous and classless manner - this is clearly not the case. You were immensely rude and obnoxious to the other family and should be ashamed of yourself. Absolutely ashamed.

What's even more pathetic is how you continually spewed academic euphemism, sesquipedalianism or some polysyllabic bit of arcane jargon just to make the wife from the other family feel beneath you (see how it comes off?). With the grace of god and a bit of luck, I have been extremely successful and I would never, ever try to intentionally make someone feel like they are beneath me. That is sadistic and beyond reprehensible. I don't judge people to begin with; I do, however, look to their heart and actions in drawing my conclusions about them - not their education (or lack of it) or wallet. I learn from different people EVERY DAY - rich, poor, educated or not. I just try to be a good human being.

The priorities you preach to be important (education, environmentalism, etc.) are indeed so; however these are all tools for self-improvement. It seems you would rather use them in the context of measuring your own self-worth or more disgustingly the lack of worth in others. I usually attribute some of the characterizations I see on reality shows to editing, but not in your case. You just came off as an incredibly small-minded, petulant, narcissistic jerk. I hope you watch yourself on camera and are able to learn from it. Class is an intrinsic quality; it is not mutually exclusive to wealth or education. You, sir, proved that this evening. I hope, for the sake of your children, that you grow from this experience.

31 comments:

Lone Wolf said...

I actually watched that episode too, and I agree with the sentiments expressed above 100%. Very well stated too I would add. That Stephen Fowler was one grade A soul-less asshole, and perpetuates the stereotype of the arrogant holier-than-thou European.

While many Americans may be "uneducated rednecks" who are deceived on many issues such as support for the neo-con agenda, they are essentially good patriotic Christian people, who still have hearts and compassion....unlike many Europeans (and American ultra-liberals) who have been heavily indoctrinated in anti-Christian secular humanism and atheism.

Elizabeth Prata said...

thanks for commenting Lone Wolf. I agree with you all the way.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I didn't care for the guy's behavior either; but I object to publishing the family's supposed address here. That just endangers the family and their kids. Don't stoop to that level. Respectfully asking the blog owner to delete that part of the post. It is going too far.

Anonymous said...

I am from San Francisco and am totally embarassed by that asshole Stephen Fouler. The lady from Missouri and her family were a classy bunch who learned from their experience on the show.
The asshole from San Francisco is the dumbest piece of crap that I have ever seen. Seems like he should frame his test score results because he does not seem to have any other accomplishment.

yo said...

I disagree that abc should have ended the taping and canceled the episode. The very best justice for Gayla was to expose Mr Fowler for the sociopath he is. Everyone can learn from this exposure. What is not acknowledged cannot be changed.

Mr Fowler thinks he is so smart and educated, and it's social justice to allow him to expose himself for the mean small minded little man he really is.

Elizabeth Prata said...

Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for commenting, and Btw,I agree with you. But we can do without the swearing around here, thanks

LOL, I agree about framing is test scores....anyone who is in their late fortes or early 50s as Mr Fowler is and still clings to test score results needs to get a life

NeoConGrunt said...

I am from Missouri and a Neo-Con as Lone Wolf stated. But I am also very educated I have my Masters in Biology and Forensic science. I did get a "C" in English by luck rather than skill. I grew up on a farm and recieved a Purple Heart from President Bush after I was wounded in action in Iraq. I worked my way through school and had to tolerate the attempts of Illinois professors as they tried to change my views. But in all my dislike of liberals I have only met 2-3 like this man and the same goes for Conservatives.This man is no Lib hes a fascist.
I may eat with my fingers and belch the ABC's while looking at my degree's on the wall, But I would never NOT ever treat a woman like that. Tree hugger liberal hippie or neo con right winger nut. Most of "us" rednecks love life and God and we were raised to treat everyone the same. But a woman above all is treated with respect and our liberals may not like policy but they love our home. I gather he didnt expect Liberal and Conservative alike to join forces in our opinion of him. You may hate our President and you may hate our Policies but when you bash our country and our women we WILL stand together. If others around the world think we are torn here they are right. But only on a few issues and if they think we will rip ourselves apart and perish they are wrong. If we will stand together against one jerk imagine what we can do when it really counts. We will always continue to bicker among ourselves but a warning to all others that see us as weak and not united. We can be dangerous when riled and we will defend ourselves. We can unite faster than a spark can start a fire. Because after all we are Americans.

Anonymous said...

i think this guy should volunteer to make a nationally broadcast apology to the Long family, if for no other reason than to rescue his children form the ridicule that might follow them for the rest of their young lives. he owes men, women, children, Americans, mid-westerners, television owners/watchers, Brits, the military, his employers, his schools, colleges, teachers, his dentist, his wife and family, the Long family and all ethical human beings of the planet an honest, heart felt apology. either that, or put him in a room (with no witnesses for him to show boat for) alone with Mr. Long for ten minutes and see if he can ‘educate’ himself out of a good ol’ boy ass canning. I WOULD BUY TICKETS TO THAT!!! ;)

Calulu said...

I really, really, really wanted to dislike the Longs and love the Fowlers but Stephen a big embarrassment to the British Empire, edjuuwmaacated folks everywhere, the liberal party, environmental and recycling causes, those of us pound-challenged and so not the San Francisco treat. The English equivalent of the Ugly American in every way. I did giggle that he is trumpeting about sustainability and environmental causes yet lives in one of the most environmental UNsustainable areas of the country! Are you kidding me? Any points he may have made on any subject were totally destroyed in the tide of his ugly attitude. The Longs might be able to change their eating habits, sizes, economic status and education but that silly man will never be able to gain any class or manners and they CANNOT be bought!

americanmade said...

he got away with his evil attitude and abuse because he was on camera...when he steps to another mans woman like that again...he will not be so funny anymore..what a pathetic american hating piece of gargabe!

Anonymous said...

I as all of you watched in horror as this horrible example of a human spewed his hatred at America and at Mrs Long. It made me sick to my stomach to actually believe there is someone like this who got on television. I have a cousin (by marraige) who reminds me of this guy, and I have always disliked being around him, he seems like a saint compared to this guy! I too enjoy watching the two extreme families learn something from each other by the end of the show, and it sometimes gets very entertaining getting there, but he was not entertaining, just discusting. Neo-con grunt, THANK YOU so much for your service to this great country, I appreciate all the military so much, and I was appalled by the attitudes of both of these (the Fowlers) people regarding America. If they don't like it here, then I think they should find a new home. Anyway, very good blog and I agree with everything you said 100% also...there is so much chatter out on the internet....I hope that maybe all this will crack that thick skull of his and change his attitude - if not for anything else but the health of his children. Unfortunately I don't think it will. God Bless them.

Anonymous said...

I could barely speak after watching the episode. Fowler showed less than zero class, composure, tact, compassion, and on and on and on....I felt sickened for his children. He boasts an education like it makes him a decent man. He is worthless to our society and offers no contribution to mankind. I suppose I am lowering myself to his extremely uneducated level of communication, however, I saw absolutely no sign of remorse in Mr. Fowler. I feel justified in making my point clear.

Epicurean Jax said...

What's interesting to me is that a lot of these comments on the various blogs are actually decently written. I find that to be strange since most of comments on the blogosphere tend to be bereft of punctuation, let alone spelling and syntax. The people who are appalled are educated and intelligent. They talk about the typos and misspellings on his wife’s site, they talk about the fact that, as supposedly educated as he is, he did not think he would look that bad.

As many, many people have said, though not with these precise words--Sorry, Stephen, but Gayla is smarter than you are.

A lot smarter. She knew that the American people would come after you for your egregious, horrific behavior. Those words were not edited into your mouth.

The Long family has a much higher EQ than Stephen does. Perhaps he should work to educate himself on that level.

I hope that they learn from this. It makes me sad, because I really think they won’t, as evidenced by the follow up.

The Long family learned something from the experience because they are smarter than you are. They were open to the possibilities. The Fowler family went into it with the attitude of “What could THESE people possibly teach us?”

Here’s list of what you should have learned, since it isn’t clear to you:

1—Spend actual time with your kids and talk to them. (This doesn’t mean you watch them at a dance recital or walk in front of them while you hike.) Sorry if it makes you “grumpy” to spend too much time with them.

2—Let your kids be kids, not just what they will spew at a college interview.

3—Don’t ignore your child when they say they hate doing something or don’t want to, AKA the fencing and the piano.

4—Let the kids be themselves, not a reflection on you.

5—Stephen is a bully. There is no way around that.

Renee, it’s clear that your husband says these sorts of things all the time and you tried to coach him not to be so offensive, but you have to realize that he is very offensive. And he’s teaching your kids that all of this is ok, that this level of bullying is ok. You’re being compliant with his way of thinking. Even if you hadn’t seen the episode, you did not stand up for her at the meeting. She had to attack your business for you to respond. From what I’ve read, you have not said anywhere that they edited out anything you SAID at that last meeting. Ignoring your husband’s cruelty is understandable because you have to live with him. But you have kids. You hurt them by doing that and you hurt other people.

I am surprised that the Longs were willing to learn from their experience after Galya was insulted by your husband in front of you. Because you said nothing to directly address it, that might mean that you agree, and that none of what you did was sincere. He just undermined any good work you might have done, both in the world and with the Longs.

I hope that your husband does get counseling and that you both aren’t just paying lip service to an angry public.

Frank said...

On the other hand, it's hard to respect someone if their goal in life is a scholarship in paintballing.

Elizabeth Prata said...

I don't disrespect a person for the goals they have. Only for the way they treat people.

For the young Mr Long, paintball scholarship was a vehicle toward an aspiration: college. Good for him, using paintball as a way to get to college. Once there, though, I don't think his aspirations ended nor was his whole goal in life concluded...he was looking into engineering at the end of the show. Who knows what his goals are in life.

All I know is, every time the camera was on him, he was behaving respectfully as a good citizen of the world...and every time the camera was on Mr Fowler, he was not.

Anonymous said...

Why is a 50 year old man taking the Graduate Record Exam? Is he planning on going to graduate school? I thought he was already the most educated man in the world with his "Masters in Philosophy" from Cambridge. For those that do not know, this is the degree that they give you when you flunk out of the PHD program. Remember what a great British philosopher once said, "God is an American". Stephen is learning what the means now that he has attacked Americans.

Frik Els said...

Fowler is simply an abusive arrogant prick. Nothing more to it. His poor kids.

Anonymous said...

"who have been heavily indoctrinated in anti-Christian secular humanism and atheism"

Hahah, not fair. You can't hate Fowler for being a jerk and then act like one yourself.

I am no more anti-Christian than I am anti-Santa Clause. I am -- like my wife and children are -- an atheist. My children are good people, study hard, and are polite. My wife and I are neighbors you would like. Please don't toss out the atheist hate like Fowler haranguing that poor woman.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

"Masters in Philosophy" from Cambridge. For those that do not know, this is the degree that they give you when you flunk out of the PHD program."

Wow. That's pretty insulting to the many people that have worked insanely hard to get a degree.

Again, acting like Fowler is not going to make your point any better.

La Vida Loca said...

I was raised to believe -with education comes humility. My fore bearers never met the likes of FOULers I guess.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a European, I DO NOT want to be associated with this narrow-minded, arrogant jerk... I don't know how this man was raised but that is not how my parents raised me. I was taught to respect the others. We might not have the same level of education, the same views on the world or even the same priorities but we are all human beings.

So speaking to Lone Wolf, do not make the same mistake as Mr Fowler himself and categorizing all europeans according to this guy's behavior. Many of us are good people despite our differences.

Steve said...

there's no democracy in the Fowler's family.

but just the same, what family can thrive in a liberal democracy?

at the core, family values is fascist in that any anarchy is deemed a failure on the part of both parents, when it is actually at the heart of the American Revolution.

Anarchy means that everyone is sovereign, and no elites practise a neocon democracy behind a facade of flag waving and first past the post politics.

Anarchy means the State does not rule the people; we each rule our own lives as we see fit.

And we refrain from worshipping leaders who wear sheep's clothing.

Whatever the Fowler's worship, it's still money just like any average American dream.

Steve said...

Stephen Fowler demonstrates that highly intelligent people educated in the UK education system sometimes have a less than average EQ and relatively poor social skills.

This leaves me to vote for home schooling, and especially a desire that the local school system keep out of regulating that.

Anonymous said...

IN RESPONSE TO: Anonymous said...

[I didn't care for the guy's behavior either; but I object to publishing the family's supposed address here. That just endangers the family and their kids. Don't stoop to that level. Respectfully asking the blog owner to delete that part of the post. It is going too far.]

While I will agree that making his address/phone number/email easily accessible is not in the best judgment, I add: It is VERY easy to look up anyone on Google and obtain a phone number, email address AND you can even zoom in/around their home!

He has reaped what he has sown...

Anonymous said...

I am a rarity: a person who has lived and worked among highly- educated, liberal people and who gave it all up to move in among blue-collar people. I will swear before the God in heaven that the latter life is infinitely preferable. If you watch the clips, the saddest part is the Fowler's little girl, and I have seen dozens of liberal households with children just like this: heavily indoctrinated, carefully fashioned to put performance above all else in life, missing even the slightest amount of normal childhood experience. I hope that nice woman in Missouri knows how lucky she is that she has been spared the life of Mrs. Fowler. What we saw there at the end of the show was a classic enabler/abuser relationship, and I can attest from experience that many of these so-called "cultured" males are vicious wife-abusers behind closed doors.

Gardenman said...

I'm not sure of Mr. Fowlers residency status, but if he is a resident alien, then perhaps Americans should petition the immigration dept. to deport him as an undesirable alien back to Limey Land.

CatWitch said...

As an American who has lived in the UK for nearly 8 years (England and Scotland), I have to say that Fowler needs to get a grip if he thinks he comes from a land where the natives all speak English flawlessly, everyone has an Oxbridge education, and no one behaves like a hooligan.

Stephen Fowler is what I would call a complete tosser & he has a lot of gall thinking himself well-educated. Gayla has more worth in her little pinky toe than he has in his entire being.

Also, a word for Lone Wolf...where do you get your information about the Europeans? Have you spent a lot of time over here? Lived here or worked here? I do wish people would stop pontificating about places they have very little knowledge about, on both sides of the 'pond'.

Anonymous said...

I finally saw the episode, via the internet, and boy, can I relate. My father-in-law talks to me like that all the time. My husband's family came here from France with nothing in hopes of a better life. They are uneducated. They have a better life now, but they still want to turn America into Europe. I have a master's degree and my father-in -law calls me uneducated. I am conservative, so he calls me antiquated and brainwashed. I get this garbage every time we visit and I have to put on a happy face and plug along. Gayla has more class than Fowler and, like me, she put on a pleasant face and dealt with it. She rose above. Lucky for her, she has a supportive husband, I do not. God bless her and her precious family!

Anonymous said...

Stephen Fowler, like many other people with high IQs, puts intelligence before etiquette. Stephen is not a proper gentleman. He has the worst manners and thinks being intelligent, British, and wealthy gives him the right to be rude and go degrade people. He is the snobbiest person I have ever heard of.

Anonymous said...

I think that both of the Fowlers are disgusting...and by what I seen their children are going to be equally as disgusting.