A few thoughts on Elon Musk

Ever since I left Twitter back in April, and since Elon Musk took over, I’ve been wanting to write something about the numerous reasons to leave the platform, and mix it with my current draft entitled Elon Musk is dangerous. I never managed to get working on this post, because of laziness first, and because every day there is worse news to write about. It is hard to find motivation to write something you just know will be incomplete the very next day, thanks to the ever-going and seemingly limitless “jackassery” of you-know-who.

Fortunately, Casey Newton over at Platformer wrote what I believe is the perfect summary of the situation, at least until a new jackassery event occurs,1 so that I don’t have to attempt writing a worse one myself. In his article, Newton writes why he wants to limit its use of the platform:

Now, awaiting Musk’s latest tweets, I find myself anxious that one of his former employees could be physically assaulted or worse over what the CEO is posting. I don’t know how, in that environment, to make little jokes about Google’s latest failed messaging app, or bad PR pitches, or any of the other bits I have been doing on Twitter forever. I don’t know how to pretend that what is happening is not actually happening. I don’t want to provide, even in the smallest of ways, a respectable backdrop against which hate speech against my fellow LGBTQ people, or Black or Jewish or any other people, can flourish.

I used the word “jackassery” a little like the Huffington Post used to cover Trump in its entertainment section. It feels appropriate and funny enough at first, but once the news become less entertaining and more worrisome, I guess the words used have to be updated too. Maybe I shall use “political agenda” instead, and maybe start using “cult” instead of “fandom.” 2

If tomorrow Musk invents a story and blatantly lies about it, who is going to believe him? Every one of his stans, without question. People who will contradict him will be mocked, threatened, and silenced on Twitter. It’s easy to laugh at Musk, to find pleasure in his failures — I sure am guilty of that — and to roll our eyes at most of his tweets, it is fun to call him “Space Karen,” but the fact is that he is now in a position of power and influence, and the more power he gets, the more dangerous he becomes.

Another highly recommended read; this one from Charlie Warzel writing for the Atlantic, Elon Musk Is a Far-Right Activist:

Currently, Musk’s politics are a subject of debate in the press. On Saturday, The New York Times’ Jeremy W. Peters attempted to offer a nuanced portrait of the Twitter owner’s ideologies, arguing that Musk “continues to defy easy political categorization.” But Peters’ laundry list of Musk’s recent lib-trolling and “woke” scolding—such as Musk’s November recommendation to his millions of followers to vote Republican—undermines the very thesis of the article. The nuance Peters is looking for does not exist: Musk’s actions and associations make a clear case that he is a right-wing reactionary.

It’s only been a few weeks since Musk started to unveil his true nature more proudly and more publicly: nothing really new, but I’m afraid this is only the beginning of the news cycle related to his new and overpriced bully pulpit, and how he uses it (until he ruins it).

  1. Can’t even take a day to write a post apparently: I started to write this on Tuesday, and one day and a half later there are new things to be surprised (or not) about. ↩︎

  2. Sounds familiar↩︎