Elon Musk has a internet price of $220bn – rounded off properly by a bounty of presidency subsidies. But he has not taken cues from any of his billionaire friends. Jeff Bezos hardly ever ever exhibits his face on the web, Invoice Gates defers most of his public statements to his charity and Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t actually have a Twitter account. However Musk has by no means been capable of overcome a necessity for consideration that churns away on the core of his being. He has been provided an unbelievable pedestal by his wealth, and he’s dedicated to make use of it as obnoxiously as attainable.
By now we’ve develop into accustomed to his mix of churlish gamer patois and informal prejudice. Previously week on Twitter, Musk has challenged Vladimir Putin to one-on-one combat, derided the Ukrainian solidarity campaign as a movement for sheeple and alluded to the idea of moving to Mars by 2029.
Solely two weeks in the past, Musk was promising satellite tv for pc web help to these trapped in Kyiv, however because the wind blows, so does the bluster. His moral tentpoles don’t final for lengthy, as a result of he hasn’t given them a lot thought within the first place. Now he believes supporting Ukrainians is a few form of woke trigger célèbre. He’s speculating that Netflix will commission a series starring a “Black Ukraine man” and a “transgender Russian soldier”. In one other put up sheathed in repellent 4Chan iconography, an “NPC” – the meme illustration of a brainwashed, CNN-addled liberal – brandishes the Ukrainian flag, in opposition to a background that incorporates flags of different causes together with transgender delight and the LGBTQ+ rainbow. “I help the present factor,” it reads – suggesting that individuals who really feel horrified on the brutal deaths of hundreds of Ukrainians are solely doing in order some form of political pattern relatively than fundamental human intuition.
There’s an idiom folks repeat about American presidents: that the pressures of the Oval Workplace are likely to reveal the basic character traits of its present occupant – that very same logic applies to Musk. It is a man who has directed a lot of his huge capital to pulpy sci-fi schemes. He hopes to colonize Mars, he needs to construct hundred-mile tunnels deep within the Earth’s crust, he believes that we could also be dwelling in a simulation. It’s a portfolio that might take advantage of inveterate Redditors on the web proud, so is it any shock that when a real humanitarian disaster spreads throughout Ukraine, Musk treats it like a online game? One which finally ends up with Musk in an enormous final-boss martial showdown in opposition to Vladimir Putin.
Musk’s newest agitation coincides with yet one more weird chapter in his private life. Final week, the Canadian musician and Musk’s on-and-off companion, Grimes, revealed that the couple had a second youngster collectively in December. (Her title, after all, is Exa Darkish Sideræl Musk.) Grimes additionally confirmed that the pair had since damaged up, and reviews rapidly leaked that she was in a relationship with the whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
It in all probability isn’t a coincidence that Musk retorted with a transphobic meme on his timeline. His model is a poisonous milieu of private grudges, retrograde politics and old style mean-spiritedness. (Bear in mind when Elon Musk slandered the diver who rescued the 12 boys trapped in a Thai mine as a pedophile, after he dismissed assist from the billionaire?) He posts with the identical motivation because the teenage boys who look to get an increase out of one another within the bowels of essentially the most vengeful boards on the web. The morbid distinction is that Musk has collected sufficient cash to wield real international affect.
Elon Musk is way from the one grotesque wealthy man in our society. Flick thru the rogues gallery of NFL franchise house owners or intercontinental power barons and you’ll uncover loads of bleak tales, for there may be nothing scarier than a person who has the facility to actualize all of their ghastly quirks and tics. (Contemplate: Donald Trump’s golden bathroom, or David Geffen isolating on a superyacht through the darkest days of Covid.) However Musk is the one one who routinely pulls the curtain again, revealing that behind the entire wealthy public loans and seed funding ventures, there’s a CEO who has insulated himself in opposition to actuality. Nonetheless, it’s ominous to observe Musk gleefully double down on his shallow, Q-baiting rhetoric, significantly after People simply witnessed a presidential time period the place a person seized energy by consolidating the offended, paranoid propulsion of the web. It’s all feeling very acquainted.