Topic: Society

The John Fitzgerald Page Saga: The Insufferable vs. the Unethical

Contrary to the judgement of Gawker (the Scoreboard’s March 2006 Unethical Website of the Month), on-line dater John Fitzgerald Page is not the “The Worst Person in the World” because the e-mail message he sent to a woman who (wisely) rejected him on a dating website revealed him to be stupefyingly pompous, shallow, and silly. Pompous, shallow and silly people can also be kind, generous, responsible, and honest; it’s just that they are no fun to be around while they are being those things. And as long as they stick to simple obnoxiousness rather than actual misconduct, they are definitely more ethical than people who take private correspondence and make it public on the web for revenge, entertainment, or profit.

Page is currently appearing on television news and talk show simultaneously defending himself and re-affirming his status as an epic jerk, so the Scoreboard will waive its usual policy of not publishing what should never have been published in the first place. After she expressed an interest in Page on, a woman received this response from Page:

“I live in a 31-story high-rise condominium, right in the middle of the Buckhead (Atlanta) nightlife district. Do you ever come to this area of town to shop/go out/visit/explore?
I went to an Ivy League school — the University of Pennsylvania — for my undergraduate degree in economics and my graduate degree in management (Wharton School of Business). Where did you go to school?
What activities do you currently participate in to stay in shape? I work out four times a week at LA Fitness. Do you exercise regularly? I am 6 feet tall, 185 pounds — what about yourself? I am truly sorry if that sounds rude, impolite or even downright crass, but I have been deceived before by inaccurate representations so I prefer someone be upfront and honest on initial contact…
I do mergers & acquisitions (corporate finance) for Limited Brands (Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, etc). Enjoy any of our stores/divisions?
Do you have any other recent pictures you care to share? I have many others if you care to see them.”

The note was certainly polite and direct. The woman knew all she needed to know: here was a classic Insecure Materialistic Dork, and the best course for her would be, “Run away!” This is what she did, essentially, by sending Page a “thanks, I think I’ll pass” response. That infuriated him, however, proving that he was as insecure as his self-profile hinted, and he devised this withering and idiotic retort [Scoreboard commentary in brackets]:

“I think you forgot how this works. You hit on me, and therefore have to impress ME and pass MY criteria and standards — not vice versa.

[No, JFP; she doesn’t have to do anything, once you’ve revealed yourself as a preening Gordon Gecko wannabe, and she certainly doesn’t have to try impress someone whose priorities are screwed-up beyond repair.]

“Six pictures of just your head and your inability to answer a simple question lets me know one thing. You are not in shape. I am a trainer on the side, in fact, I am heading to the gym in 26 minutes!

[Did this guy want a date or was he recruiting for a Bowflex commercial? I think this may have been a tragic case of website confusion.]

“So next time you meet a guy of my caliber, instead of trying to turn it around, just get to the gym!

[Someone really needs to explain to poor John that nothing in his previous post indicated anything positive about his “caliber” except perhaps his heart rate and the fact that he knows how to be pompous politely.]

“I will even give you one free training session, so you don’t blow it with the next 8.9 on Hot or Not, Ivy League grad, Mensa member, can bench/squat/leg press over 1200 lbs., has had lunch with the secretary of defense, has an MBA from the top school in the country, lives in a Buckhead high rise, drives a Beemer convertible, has been in 14 major motion pictures, was in Jezebel’s Best dressed, etc. Oh, that is right, there aren’t any more of those!”

[And thank goodness for that! 1) Deceit Alert: Most people are unaware that the University of Pennsylvania is a member of the “Ivy League” which is a collegiate athletic league that also includes the schools most people identify as Ivy League: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Cornell, and Brown. People who graduated from those school tend to be secure enough to actually identify their colleges. People who instead refer to themselves as “Ivy League grads” are usually trying to make others think their alma mater is more prestigious than it is. 2) Mensa! Joining a club based on your I.Q. ( a dubious measurement of intelligence, as Page’s messages show) is like joining a club based on your good cholesterol level. 3) A lot of federal prisoners can press over 1200 lbs too. What’s your point? 4) “Has had lunch with the secretary of defense”????? 5) I admit it: I really thought all the people who believed driving a BMW was a status symbol had been left in the 1980s. 6) Pauly Shore, a dubiously talented performer if there ever was one, has been in more than 14 movies. Either Page really thinks that being an extra in 14 vampire, porno, Japanese monster or teen gross-out films is proof of “caliber,” or he is really, really desperate for accomplishments. (I’m pretty sure that if this guy had been in, say, “The English Patient,” he’d have said so.) Tell us about your 8th Grade science fair project, John!]

You can guess the rest of the story. The stunned recipient of this rant sent copies of it to friends, who sent it to their friends. Soon it was picked up by blogs, sent to, and was all over the net. Page felt ill-treated, and he is right. He’s a jerk, but he had a right to be exposed as a jerk only to the person he sent the smoking-jerk e-mail to, not to the entire civilized world. This isn’t a difficult principle; indeed, it is the Golden Rule, which applies to the jerks in your life as well as everyone else. You wouldn’t want an ill-considered message or your most embarrassing moment revealed to strangers, and it is wrong and mean-spirited to inflict that indignity on othersÂ…even someone as pathetically clueless as John Page.

What would be the ethical response to a message like the one he sent to the woman who spurned him? Empathy. Sympathy. Charity. Compassion. Not “Let’s embarrass him on a global scale!” Now, unfortunately, Page is doing that all by himself on television..

“Anything you ever text, photograph, e-mail, send to somebody, you know, over the phone, if someone decides to expose you to the world, this could be you,” he told The Early Show’s Julie Chen. “If this could happen to an Ivy League grad and someone who has an IQ like mine, this could happen to anyone.”

Oh, shut up, John.

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