Folk Hero or Jerk?

When Steven Slater went postal on flight 1052 I thought: “Wow, in today’s lousy job economy, this guy must really hate his job to pull a career ending stunt like this.”  Almost immediately he became a folk hero to many, getting thousands of friends on his Facebook page.

Steven Slater became a metaphor for a frustrated workforce.  This is completely understandable.  In times of high unemployment employees are nervous about losing their job.  They ain’t gonna get that raise they were promised.  Might even get a pay cut.  They are overworked, covering for those who were laid off.  If they complain, they may be the next to go.  The boss gives the lame “You’re lucky to have a job!” excuse.

When people lose control, they feel helpless and frustrated and desperate.  And grumpy.  These days a lot of people feel this way.  The good news is that when the economy picks up all this goes away.  Until then we’ll probably see more disgruntled Steven Slaters.

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21 Comments

Filed under dnd

21 responses to “Folk Hero or Jerk?

  1. dooty

    Dnd will be saddened to learn that Stephanie Miller came out today as a gay woman. His long time love is now out of the picture.

    also, Brian wrote a blog about Terror Babies and Anderson Cooper has been all over this. I added a couple of posts to his blog

    http://bgarens.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/terror-babies-wtf/

    Right wing crazies at it again.

  2. dog's eye view

    Take this job and shove it folk hero, circa 1947:

    “How thrilling the ride off the back of a jet and down that inflatable emergency slide must have been for Steven Slater, flight attendant — cold beer in his hand, wind in his hair, the seat of his JetBlue uniform gliding merrily toward the runway. Woo-hoo!

    And yet … the whole caper has nothing on the infamous take-this-job-and-shove-it run of one William Cimillo. A Bronx bus driver fed up with the daily annoyances and nonsense of it all, Mr. Cimillo, 38, climbed behind the wheel of his bus one morning in 1947 and took a 1,300-mile detour.

    “He disappeared for two weeks,” recalled his son … “They picked him up in Hollywood, Fla.”

    NY Times: Leaving a Job with a Bus, Not a Slide

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/11/nyregion/11about.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=bus%20driver%20&st=cse

    And yes, Mr. Cimillo did the reality show circuit of his day:

    “The elder Mr. Cimillo returned home to an indictment for grand larceny, but he got something else, too: a hero’s welcome. The boys at [his employer] Surface Transportation voted to host a dance to raise money for his legal fees. The charges were later dropped.

    “The public was enormously in his corner,” [son] Richard Cimillo said. “He became a celebrity. He was walking around like a movie star. Networks flew him to California. He went on a couple of shows — ‘Can you guess who this is?’ ”

  3. TempeBev

    I can understand the frustration that had built up in Mr. Slater. At first, listening to the media reports, I thought how great his exit was. However, after hearing a few more details, I think Mr. Slater has has his 15 minutes of fame. I don’t think he should be hailed as a “hero” etc. There are many other ways to quit a job without making an ass out of yourself.

    • dnd

      WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama on Friday signed a bill directing $600 million more to securing the U.S.-Mexico border, a modest election-year victory that underscores his failure so far to deliver an overhaul of immigration law.

      http://www.denverpost.com/ci_15768940

      Will this shut Jan Brewer up? Or will she say the prez caved to her pressure?

  4. Little both of both jerk and hero. I’m not sure if he became a hero to the frustrated workforce or the frustrated airline traveler. When I was a kid getting on an airplane was both an adventure and a treat, now it’s a friggin nightmare!

  5. TempeBev

    I agree with Brian – flying on a plane now is a pain in the ass. Hurry up and wait – not much of an adventure or a treat!

  6. dooty

    I used to have to travel for a living sometimes leaving on Sunday evening and coming back Friday or Sat night. Peak hour travel sucks big green wienies. I have not had to be on an airplane in over 4 years now and I could go the rest of my natural life and be content to never have to do that again.

  7. dog's eye view

    Yeah, it’s sad how much the “cattle car on wings” hyperbole has come true.

    I like Virgin America and Jet Blue, though.

    Here’s Washington Post story on a folk heroine I hope will stick it to the banksters.

    WaPo: Elizabeth Warren, likely to head new consumer agency, provokes strong feelings

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/12/AR2010081206356.html

    The first few paragraphs are stupid — probably teaparty bait, but it’s a good story.

    Please, please, please appoint Elizabeth Warren.

    I wonder if Obama has held off doing so yet to use her to excite and motivate his voters closer to the election.

    • dnd

      I agree with Brian, Bev, Doots and Dog. I use to love to fly. Now I hate it.
      I like Frontier, though less now that they’ve merged with Republic.

      Hate United, and if the proposed merger with Continental goes through, we’ll have the world’s largest crappy airline. And less competition.

      Yet another reason to push for high speed rail.

  8. TempeBev

    Rail would be great if you didn’t have to fly to make a connection.

  9. dooty

    To Bev’s point. Rail would be fine if and it is a BIG IF, that you don’t have to go very far. I took a train once from FTW to Boston. Had to go to Chicago change trains with a long layover then to NYC and a layover and then off to Boston. Took about 35 hrs. Plane trip DFW to Bos was about 3.5 hours. I would like to travel by train to an out of the way destination. It is on the East West route of the Santa Fe RR. From FTW I board and travel to San Antonio (roughly 300 miles) then get off and get a cab to take me to the motel spend the night and then cab back in the morning to ride to Alpine. Time involved…24hrs approx. Extra costs are cab 2 ways and motel and dinner and breakfast. The fare is pretty high also. I can drive the 540 miles in about 7 hrs and I have a truck to drive while I am there as there is not a cab one in town. 4 tanks of gas round trip. Pretty easy to see the automobile is pretty important out here in fly over country.

    • dnd

      Doots,
      Those bullet trains go 300 miles an hour, so there’s a lot of routes that make sense. And if they take over from the airlines for hauling mail, the airlines may be forced to let you check your bags 😉

  10. dooty

    there have been a number of groups trying to get “bullet trains” in TX. John Connally was the head of one such group. These have never gotten off the ground. Don’t know why but no one so far has put forward a plan to make “bullet trains” a reality in TX.

    DFW to Austin would be like an hour. That would be great. Just ain’t happened yet.

  11. dooty

    that triangle is the original flight path that Southwest Airlines used as a beginning for its company. Legend says they drew the triangle on a cocktail napkin. I 35 is from DFW to Austin even down to San Antonio then Hwy 290 Austin to Houston and then up I 45 to DFW. I 10 outta San Antonio to Houston and maybe west to El Paso.

  12. dooty

    right now the climate might not be good for high speed rail. The right away issues for one thing might be a problem. I wrote a story about a year ago on imminent domain. It was about Gov Good Hair (Perry) trying to take some land and give it to a Spanish company to build and run and collect the tolls from the road for a good number of years. The farmers were up in arms about this land grab. This has now been killed but I bet the same people are a little skiddish right now.

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