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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Does Jet Blue flight attendant Steven Slater deserve to be a folk hero?

If the news has become entertainment, then surely there’s something of a pop culture perfect storm brewing over the spectacular exit flight attendant Steven Slater made from a Jet Blue plane on the tarmac at New York’s JFK airport the other day. Slater’s actions encompass so much of what is frustrating these days: the aggravations of air travel, the apparent increasing rudeness of interpersonal interactions in all public places, the dissatisfactions so many people have with their jobs, and the fantasy of quitting those jobs in dramatic ways. So naturally, everything Slater has gone viral on the Internet — he’s got his own page on Known Your Meme, which is an excellent place to start exploring all things Steven Slater.

Does Jet Blue flight attendant Steven Slater deserve to be a folk hero?

Obviously talking about Slater — and engaging in Internet meme activity — operates as a sort of pressure valve for a lot of people, but is that necessarily a good thing? Slater could inspire people to make changes in their own lives (perhaps in less theatrical ways), but is it possible that such a pressure valve can have a negative side, in that it releases pressure that should be relieved in other, more constructive ways? Is celebrating Slater a sort of bread-and-circuses we peasants invent for ourselves, just a distraction from real issues that need real solutions?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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