Steven Slater Is Not Sully, Nor Do We Want Him to Be
Steven Slater, the flight attendant who went nutso after an altercation with a passenger and launched himself off his JetBlue flight onto the JFK tarmac via emergency escape slide is once again all over the news. Today the New York Post calls him a "Bag Nazi," amNY asks "Hero or Zero?" and the Daily News says he's "Flyin' High." Whatever the veracity of any of those headlines, we're happy to say Slater posted bail yesterday and is out of jail. Oh, and he totally appreciates the support, guys!
Per NBC NY, Slater said, "It seems like something here has resonated with a few people. That's kinda neat!"
Okay, don't get us wrong, we love the Steven Slater story as much as the next guy. And we're so glad the Taiwanese animators got the message that their first attempt to capture the tale was a bit sub-par and issued this extended version:
BUT! We can't help but asking...Do people really, actually think that Slater is a 2010 "common man" version of Sully? I mean, let's think about this. Sully saved the lives of passengers and crew on his plane by landing it in the Hudson after a goose strike killed the engines. His practiced calm in a crisis and skill were evidenced by the fact that NO ONE DIED.
Slater, on the other hand, practiced pretty much the complete opposite of calm in a crisis, unleashing a tirade on his entire cabin after being bonked in the head with luggage and dealing with an asshole customer. If there was calm in a crisis for him, it was managing to snag his luggage and two beers before exiting via escape slide. True, no one died, but that's neither here nor there. Even his lawyer (his lawyer!) admits that his reaction fell more on the side of "snapping" than doing something heroic:
At the arraignment, defense attorney Howard Turman said Slater was under stress because his mother has lung cancer.
So why even bother to compare the two? The only reason Sully and Slater are being put together in any sense is because they both worked on planes, which is like saying that an employee who quit in a disgruntled rage is the new employee who saved the lives of coworkers caught in a burning building -- i.e., no comparison at all.
Let's face it: We adore Sully because we're all to some extent afraid of dying in plane crashes, and because we hope that if something ever does go wrong (and fingers crossed it won't) we have someone like him on our side.
And with Slater, well, we've all been onboard a plane with some rude, entitled, shitty passenger who won't just follow the fucking rules, and we only wish we'd been in that cabin to see the shitstorm firsthand, because that would have been awesome, and we would have Tweeted the crap out of it.
Also, we've all had secret fantasies of quitting our jobs, like really quitting our jobs, with great fanfare -- with doing what we know we'll never do because we're too confined to the realities of our fate and humdrum daily lives and responsibilities -- and then going home afterward to get drunk, screw, and probably get a reality show deal. Because we all, somewhere in the deepest, darkest parts of our minds, no matter how much we doth protest, sort of do want to become suddenly, inexplicably famous...(who can help it in this meta-meta-15-minutes-of-YouTube-fame-world?).
Isn't it easier to do that by having an epically awesome hissy fit than to actually be really good at your job, confront crisis, and come out of it all with a key to the city instead of an arrest warrant with your name on it? In short: Sully did what none of us could have done. Slater did what anyone could do, but probably never will, and that's why we love him. If he actually gets 7 years in prison for this, we're gonna be totally crushed.
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