The Moment

8|9|10: New York

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He didn't save lives or stop a terrorist or do anything we usually consider heroic. But Steven Slater--the JetBlue flight attendant who on Aug. 9 cursed out a passenger over the p.a. after an altercation, then deplaned, with a beer, via the emergency slide--is our new folk hero of the skies. Slater's was not the most levelheaded course of action: he freaked out in front of passengers, abused aircraft equipment and was later arrested. But his mad-as-hell rebellion struck a chord: by Aug. 11 more than 28,000 people had joined the Free Steven Slater page on Facebook. Quitting your job dramatically would seem to be the last thing you want to do in the middle of an economic downturn. As new numbers show, those who lose their jobs now tend to stay unemployed for a long, long time. But the flip side is that those still working often have to do more, while wages stagnate. To those stressed-out workers caught in the middle, the fantasy of telling someone off no doubt seems alluring. Some may decide they aren't going to take it anymore. Others will just be glad Slater took the slide for them.