I had every intention of writing about anything other than Steven Slater, but it is impossible to get away from this story in America right now. Cable and network news, talk shows, radio, and blogs- it’s 24/7 take this job and shove it. For a country that is experiencing almost 10% unemployment, it seems odd we are so fixated on a guy that actually quit a good job and will probably go to jail to boot.
Not even looking for the JetBlue slider, I news Googled recovering alcoholic and came up with over 5000 stories on Slater just for today. Sadly, it’s very telling about the way the general public understands addiction- even though drinking is part of the story guess how many of these stories contained the word relapse? One. And even then the author of this Time post seems intent on making excuses for Slater rather than stating the obvious- he was drinking and acted drunk. Considering Slater’s recent struggles, you could be fairly sure the Vegas odds for concussion vs. relapse would be a hundred to one but most stories to date (at least those that don’t have my finely tuned alky sense) don’t even take alcohol into account.
Of course I shouldn’t be surprised that America is celebrating this flamboyant relapse, rarely is alcohol abuse considered a real issue even though it plays a primary role in many instances of truancy, divorce, neglect, lost work, abuse, infidelity, violence, and crime. People get drunk, do stupid things, and we just hope that no one dies… and even then we’ll try to call it an accident. I hope Mr. Slater gets help, but see little chance for any serious treatment of the much larger nation of origin issue we have with alcohol abuse.