Wife Swap embarrassment

Br. Umar posted a YouTube video based on a recent American version of the reality TV show Wife Swap, in which an originally British, but naturalised American, man swapped with a family from Missouri, and made no secret of how miserable he was in the woman’s company and how much contempt he had for her. This programme has sadly given some Americans a jaundiced view of British attitudes towards them, but the fact is that there are a lot of British people like the American family he swapped with, and thankfully very few like him.

I posted a comment to Umar’s blog in response, because it produced his standard rant about liberals and elitism and snobbery, but somehow after he approved it the comment disappeared. What I said was that this man is not at all typical of British people, even middle-class British people, and would not last long in most of the UK outside a few urban enclaves. To be fair, he might have been playing his eccentricity up for the camera, and there is nothing wrong with eating healthily and recycling (as long as that doesn’t mean shipping it out to China, as it often does), and the suggestion of singing the national anthem in the morning would not have gone down well with any British person (or with a lot of people of many other nationalities), but his boasting of his education and his IQ really made him look like an ass. He might well have been miserable, but why on earth did he go on the programme?

There are plenty of unambitious working-class people, a lot of them overweight, in the UK. Stephen Fowler could have done a swap with them, and would have been just as miserable as he was with this woman. In the UK, he’d have called his guest a chav or a pikey (a derogatory word for gypsy). However, he let his real “class” show by appearing on a stupid reality TV programme and letting his wife go and stay with the husband of the Missouri woman he so despised.

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