The purpose of reality television, it seems, is to encourage and revel in human beings' worst nature -- and do it at a fraction of the cost it would take to hire professional writers and actors.
I'll admit that I avoid reality television, just as I avoid treading in pizza vomit. So it was only this morning that I read about Stephen Fowler
, the San Francisco venture capitalist who went on the show Wife Swap
and managed to conform to every horrible stereotype
about elitist, pompous, do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do San Francisco left-wing enviros.
Since Wife Swap
sounds like prime Al-Qaeda recruiting material -- and if I wanted to watch people being horrible to one another, I'd just have to take MUNI down the block to the DMV -- it hasn't been on my TV schedule. But, according to the folks over at Valleywag
, Fowler subjected his temporary "wife," Gayla, to a steady barrage of contemptuous silences punctuated by bursts of astoundingly condescending vitriol. In just the way that the most awful singers are always the loudest at church, it seems the most misanthropic, maladjusted people are the ones clamoring for the spotlight of reality television.
Fowler, to his (minimal) credit, realized how badly he'd come off and offered a public mea culpa
on his wife's Web site. He also resigned from some of the local environmental nonprofit boards
he sat on.
Don't worry Stephen. We San Franciscans are a forgiving lot. Even if your inappropriate behavior has helped to ruin the lives of your fellow city dwellers, all is not lost. Stay out of town for a while. And then run for governor.