… IT’S A FUN RIDE

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - In Defence Of Elon Musk -

Dear Elon,

Maybe it’s be­cause I write about pop cul­ture and not space, tech, or cy­ber­money – could some­one please ex­plain blockchain to me again? I swear I’ll get it this time! – but it’s been hard to fol­low what’s go­ing on with you. First, you were the ec­cen­tric tech bil­lion­aire I’d been wait­ing for. Rather than do­ing some­thing bor­ing and re­spon­si­ble with your money – say, pur­chas­ing a news­pa­per or politi­cian – you used it to start mak­ing dan­ger­ous toys for adults. Rock­ets. Plug-in cars that drive them­selves. The ‘ hy­per­loop’. Frig­gin’ flamethrow­ers.

Then, in­stead of be­ing Bat­man, you turned into a su­pervil­lain. In­sult­ing on Twit­ter the man who res­cued the Thai soc­cer play­ers from a cave? Cry­ing dur­ing a New York Times in­ter­view, be­cause you had to work on your birth­day once? Se­ri­ously, dude, what the hell? Why aren’t you out torch­ing things with your fire gun?

But the sav­ing grace was your girl­friend. Es­pe­cially be­cause she was the weirdo alt-pop mu­si­cian Grimes. I was like, my Grimes? Dat­ing Elon Musk? (Surely this was her ex­per­i­men­tal art project com­ment­ing on the evils of cap­i­tal­ism, iron­i­cally pa­tro­n­ised by you as a pro­mo­tion for some new 4D cam­era that will wind up with a five-fig­ure price tag and six-year wait list.)

You showed up to­gether at the 2018 Met Gala in New York dressed like rich vam­pires and it was … en­dear­ing. Adorable, even. It was sweet to watch you spooky kids awk­wardly dance in front of stat­ues on Vogue’s In­sta­gram feed. I smiled when I read the text mes­sages leaked by Grimes’s rap­per friend Azealia Banks about how she thought you ma­nip­u­lated the stock price of Tesla to $420 to re­flect your new Grimes-in­duced affin­ity for mar­i­juana.

And now you’ve un­fol­lowed each other on so­cial me­dia. I can only as­sume it’s your fault, so you need to fix this, Elon. Be­cause damned if, re­flected in Grimes’s creepy eyes, you haven’t seemed like the guy who wanted to shoot me across the coun­try at 1 230 km/h again.

The reck­less, swag­ger­ing glee that let you waltz with a goth pop star is the same high-fly­ing ma­nia that gave us Tesla and Spacex and dreams of the hy­per­loop. And right now, we need some im­pos­si­ble things to be­lieve in. So, Elon, shut down your so­cial me­dia ac­counts, turn up the Grimes, and be a hero.

From Anna Peele

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