Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Web Meme: BoomTown and the Internet Is on #TeamSlater and His Inflatable-Slide Rage

The story of JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater–who, after being abused by a passenger, did a full “Norma Rae” and huffed off the airplane via an inflatable slide–spread like wildfire across the Internet yesterday, almost immediately after the incident occurred.

It’s too much to hope that someone on the JetBlue (JBLU) flight had a Flip camera and is uploading the incident on YouTube right now, but video is unnecessary after the tale of flight rage got out and details piled upon details.

This is just the kind of silly, but true-to-life, story that everyone loves to share, and share it they did, with #teamslater quickly gaining ground on Twitter, and online comments and news stories exploding.

And why not? Everyone has encountered the entitled jerk who gets up before the plane has stopped, grabs his bag from the overhead compartment and then shoves his way to the front. Slater was simply doing his job by asking this passenger to sit down, and then decided he had had it when the bag struck him and he was cursed at.

We’ve also had our share of surly service from airline personnel, but this incident shed light on exactly why they might be a little more tetchy than we expect at times.

Maybe the cursing back on the intercom system and the dramatic beer-drinking exit was a bit over the top, but so what?

Slater is now, for better or worse, a Web hero.

Just like Norma Rae, seen in the video clip from the movie’s big scene below:

(The image is from Slater’s MySpace page here.)


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work