Sunday, February 01, 2009

More Wife Swap reaction: Americans are great

Well it's been two days and the nation is still outraged at the behavior of Stephen Fowler from Friday night's airing if Wife Swap.

I believe he could be the most hated man in the country at this moment. His 15 minutes of fame is certainly not what he had envisioned, despite his purported 158 IQ and near perfect GRE scores. He missed the boat completely on that one.

To review: Families with diverse opinions and backgrounds are paired up and the wives of each family live with the new family for two weeks. The first week, the wives participate fully and scrupulously in the new family's routine, and the second week, they make new rules for the family to live by based on ideas for ways the family could improve. The families do so and at the end the come together and share what they have learned. So far so good.

Usually the husbands who stay behind are challenged and resist the new rules. Some resist loudly and bombastically and others just resist calmly. Some don't resist but gamely try the new ways and ideas. It usually ends up that each family learns something despite their philosophical or socio-economic differences.

Not so this week.

Stephen Fowler treated swapped wife Gayla Long with excoriation, humiliating her at every turn, and was gleefully cruel. His statements were reprehensible and if there are redeeming qualities to this man they were well hidden from view during the hour long reality show.

But that is not my point, I already vented about this earlier. I have two points now.

The first is that Americans from coast to coast are furious. Furious at the slams against our military and our heartland. Furious that ABC allowed needless cruelty to be showcased. Furious that a father such as this is "raising" two precious children. Furious about his statements regarding citizenship and civic duty. As well we should be furious, and Americans are not holding back. I'm hopeful because of the appropriate and immediate reaction of the American public to this kind o behavior. I am glad we are defending a moral line and taking Mr Fowler to task.

Secondly, most liberals are always amazed and shocked when there is a reaction to their egregious behavior. They feel they can say and do whatever they want, but in a vacuum. They tout free speech but claim no responsibility for their hurtful words. They claim freedom of the press but cry foul when someone else uses the same to point out the error of their ways.

Strong negative reactions to their strong negative words and actions always surprises them. It is then I have noticed they throw tantrums and threaten to sue. Or, deride the appropriate and just reactions as "anti-intellectual" or mob mentality. Always, they are surprised that they reap what they sow.

But that is the way of the world. You reap what you sow. Thanks, America, for being so smart and joining the public outcry with such a sane response.

PS: I was invited to be a guest blogger at the Reality Roll Call television review blog, thank you Faith!


Tammy said...

Sorry I missed that episode. Whew...sounds like it was a doozie...

Elizabeth Prata said...

I've had 649 hits today. On just that issue.

The net net is going bananas. ABC's message boards are lighting up, thousands of hits.

Christie said...

I missed that episode as well. I could only find a few clips on YouTube but the guy certainly didn't come off looking very good. As for your comments about liberals, sounds more like you're describing human beings - liberals and conservatives.

SherriC said...

He did not endear himself to America, that's for sure. I am almost embarrassed that I live across the Bay from that little slug. I feel sorry for the little Stepford children..they are going to be as heartless and without a soul as their parents are.

Anonymous said...

I don't usually watch that show but thanks for your coverage of it and congrats on being a guest blogger about it!


Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

I couldn't have said it any better. I happened to see that show and was stunned at how this "man" treated the guest in his house. And his views about America were reprehensible.

jjcul said...

Like many of you, I was outraged by Stephen Fowler's behavior on Wife Swap on 1/30/09. As a result, I have e-mailed anyone who would listen, and blogged as much as I can stand. So here's my question: Clearly we have gotten Stephen and Renee's attention. They are well aware of our complaints and have been forced to pay some heed. Now what? Quite frankly, if our objective was to make the Fowlers as miserable as possible, for as long as possible, well, then I think we're being as bad as him. Personally, I don't think that was the goal of the thousands of people who have responded, like myself, with e-mails to employers, blog entries, and word of mouth. My impression is that all of us who were outraged, reacted in that way because of our sense of empathy for Gayla Long and her family, our sense of pride in our country and our military, and our general disgust and indignation with the arrogant, pompous, holier-than-thou attitude of a real jackass. All of those emotions and reactions were rolled into one tidal wave of response, triggered by Stephen "Butthead" Fowler. Again, my question is, now that we've caught his attention, where do we go from here?
Here's my idea: We make three demands (which can be arrived at by open discussion and a vote) which demands are then posted on this blog ( All other known blogs which have addressed this issue will contain a link to this blog, so that this particular blog will be a sort of "central registry" of input. We can even snail mail a hard copy of the 3 demands to Fowler in case he's not reviewing this blog. Once we communicate our set of 3 demands to Fowler, if he agrees to them, and complies with them, we call a truce. If not, the war of words rages on. My suggestion is that we open the floor to suggestions for 3 demands until Midnight, Friday, Feb 13th (the two week anniversary of the famous show). Then, some designated individual (perhaps the webmaster of this sight, if she/he agrees) reviews the various proposals, and gleans the top three. Those three are then communicated to Fowler. He then has 3 days to reject or accept. Once an accord has been reached, we suspend the "attack". In 30 days, on March 13, we confirm that he has followed through. If yes, it's all over. If not, we strike up the band again. If this procedure seems reasonable (or unreasonable) to the masses out there, please voice your opinions here. Here are MY three proposed demands: (1) Fowler issues a WRITTEN apology addressed to Gayla Long, her family, the U.S. Military, the inhabitants of Missouri, the U.S. as a whole, and his own two kids. (2) Stephen Fowler make a verbal apology to Gayla and her family, in person, which is video taped and distributed. His own family should also be present. (3) He seeks professional counseling to address his attitudes regarding the treatment of others whom he considers "lesser beings."

Feedback on the procedure or the 3 demands?

Elizabeth Prata said...

Hi jjcul,

thanks for your thoughtful comment.

I agree with you, our objective should not be to simply hound the Fowlers. That's harassment and exhibits the same behavior we just decried. What should be the next step then, a good question you asked?

My opinion is that this issue has been a good one for the US. A line had been crossed and the outcry was to let everyone know what we would stand and no further. I think the Fowlers received that message.That was part one.

Part two is to let ABC know that in addition to not standing for behavior such as displayed by both Renee and Stephen, we will ALSO not stand for ABC showcasing it. What we saw Friday night was not entertainment, it was cruelty. So I think letting ABC and their sponsors know that they went too far is the next, and last, step.

Those are the seeds planted. Our part would be concluded. And the rest is up to God.

I will say that we should also pray for the Fowlers, that Jesus would change their heart and let the scales fall from their eyes. We should be compassionate in our anger, and never forget that while we push back against cruelty and abuse, we also forgive it, because that is what Jesus would do

m said...

You had some great points in this piece. I'm sorry you tainted them by stereotyping liberals the same way Fowler stereotypes Middle Americans and many others.

Elizabeth Prata said...

thanks for your compliment. I appreciate your input and that you read the piece.

I do not believe it is a stereotype when it has been my direct experience. Most liberals are shocked that there are consequences to their words and behavior.

Anonymous said...

I know two people who have Bi-polar Disorder. Mr. Fowler is a carbon copy of these two people. The manic inflated ego and vicious put-downs are very typical of their behavior when they are in an uncontrolled manic phase. Rather than just bash the couple, they should be urged to get treatment, for the sake of the children if nothing else. Growing up under the thumb of an undiagnosed Bi-Polar parent is a nightmare.