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Monday, February 9, 2009

Living Embodiment of All Horrible San Francisco Stereotypes Claims Title of Most Despised Reality TV Character

Posted By on Mon, Feb 9, 2009 at 3:30 PM

click to enlarge Stephen Fowler, with wife Renee Stephens, will not be getting Christmas cards from the city's tourism board
  • Stephen Fowler, with wife Renee Stephens, will not be getting Christmas cards from the city's tourism board
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.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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