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JetBlue’s Steven Slater Will Get A Reality TV Show, And It Will End Up Being Just Another Job

August 18, 2010

Add beer and a slide, and it could have been TWO posthumous Oscars!

Whether it be from Tomlin yesterday morning or the rest of the internet, you have been informed of Steven Slater’s story: fed-up and frustrated JetBlue flight attendant allegedly tries to deal with non-compliant passenger, decides that it’s not worth it anymore, cusses out entire plane, lifts a couple beers, and checks out by inflatable slide.  Good on ya, mate, since we’re told by commentators that you have become a folk hero for doing what we’ve all wanted to but never had the guts to.

I personally think that’s simplifying it a bit, but people with money riding on it don’t think so.  Slater’s publicist Howard Bragman (of course he has a publicist!) said, “I’ll tell you honestly, when this story first broke just a little over a week ago, I was surprised it had the legs it did.  But then I really thought about it, and I think I understand why.  It touched on a certain nerve in society.”  Who could disagree with that vague, universally applicable Barnum statement?  Denny Kelley, an aviation investigator, clarifies that flight attendants have to deal with a lot of “stuff,” which according to the article includes, “passengers becoming inebriated and nasty, irritable over delayed flights and missed connections, and often outright hostile and violent. “  He adds, “when adults get to the airport, they leave their adult IDs behind and become children again.  I also think a lot of people are afraid of flying so when they get to the airport, it enters their subconscious and they act like a jerk.”  So in other words, a few details aside, Slater had to deal with crap that everyone who interacts with the public has to tolerate to keep a job.  But on this day, after 20 years on the job, Slater reached his breaking point and said “see ya” in a fashion rivaled only by Dr. Manhattan.

Slater’s going to have it pretty good for a while.  He’ll be paid relatively well for talk shows, interviews, speaking engagements, endorsements, honoraria, etc.  His face will appear on t-shirts and stickers.  Some of his choicer utterances will become cultural catchphrases for six months or so, like “Don’t Tase Me, Bro,” or “Keep Fucking That Chicken.”  His potential reality TV show where he helps people quit their jobs will be fun to watch for about five episodes.  Then the daily grind of acquiescing to producers’ and directors’ demands will get to him.  He’ll start to get really tired of listening to people bitch constantly about their miserable lives and cruddy bosses and what they would do if they could just quit (which of course they can do but won’t) but wouldn’t do even if they did resign in the most abrupt and satisfying manner.  Then Slater will decide that he’s had enough, and call it quits.  Except this time, someone else will have captured the nation’s imagination, and Slater will be right back at square one: having to work for a living.  Maybe we do relate to Steven and even envy him slightly, but as with all such things, his spotlight will fade and he’ll find out, again, that the grass is always greener at the other end of the slide.

  1. August 18, 2010 9:34 pm

    Ok I’m not surprised. Ah America. Just about everyone gets there 15 min of fame.

    Nice post tho.

    Still waiting on my reality show so people can watch me eat and sleep!


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