Cyber-generated folk heroes have become all the rage within the wooly-minded mania of Twitter, Facebook and related gadabout retreats. The more outrageous these “heroes” are, the more conspicuously deviant their exploits, the bigger their chances for fame and success. Steven Slater, far from being a fortunate exception, is unfortunately the rule; he’s the latest and hottest commodity in this age of warped rebelliousness in search of a distorted cause.

In the unlikely event that you were lucky enough not to have heard of Steven Slater, he’s the former JetBlue flight attendant who decided to quit with pizazz last Monday. Shortly after his plane landed at JFK airport, Slater confronted a female passenger who was removing overhead luggage before the plane came to a complete stop; a violation of airline rules.

An altercation ensued and the woman allegedly called him a “mother-fucker” (or something to that effect) which caused Slater to explode. He immediately went to the intercom, cursed out this particular passenger, and then all of the flight’s passengers, then grabbed two beers and, with a smile on his face, exited down the plane’s emergency slide and headed home. Of course, airline officials failed to get the joke and police later arrested the still smiling Slater at his house in Queens, New York.

I may be an old-fashioned fuddy-duddy but, along with JetBlue and other presumably rational individuals, I also failed (really failed) to get the joke. In my (sometimes) humble opinion, Slater isn’t a hero but (in pure, unadulterated Brooklyn-borne phraseology) an asshole. I would be willing to bet my kingdom and my horse that Slater, bored with his job and desiring to be fired, planned to incite an incident from the very beginning; an incident that would be very lucrative in the current marketplace for such incidents.

The New York Observer and Wall Street Journal and other news publications are reporting that this “toast of cyberspace” was displaying rude and boorish behavior long before his famed “last straw” moment…already the stuff (or bullshit) of legend. If Slater was smiling then, he’s smiling more than ever now as his celebrity grows and grows. But he wasn’t as beamish earlier on this famous “swan song” flight (and others, I’d venture to guess) when, according to some passengers, he bumped into people without apologizing, refused to clean up some coffee that had spilled, slammed overhead bins and refrigerator doors, and exhibited other forms of odd behavior on the 90-minute cruise from Pittsburgh to New York.

I “hope” this creep (aka “folk hero”) “enjoys” his 15 minutes of fame very quickly…another creep (aka “folk hero”) will very quickly replace him in the lofty depths of Facebook, Twitter and  beyond. Stay tuned.

UPDATE (8/13/10): And now the fascinating Slater wants  his job back!!!


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