Friday, May 28, 2021

Muskmas in May

In case you've forgotten the reason for the season, we coined the term as a catchier version of the Musk Day proposed by by Neil Strauss in his openly messianic 2017 profile of Elon Musk in Rolling Stone.

Musk will likely be remembered as one of the most seminal figures of this millennium. Kids on all the terraformed planets of the universe will look forward to Musk Day, when they get the day off to commemorate the birth of the Earthling who single-handedly ushered in the era of space colonization.

The tone of this recent Mark Whittington piece in the Hill (a publication more mainstream and sober, in various senses of the word, than Rolling Stone) is more subdued but the sentiment is the same.

Still, Musk has embodied a combination of vision, wealth, skill and no little luck that has served him well. If (when) Americans return to the moon on a SpaceX lunar Starship, he will become more than a celebrity. Musk will be a world historic figure who school children will study for centuries to come.

In some ways, the Hill piece is actually worse than the Rolling Stone cover story. Since 2017 we've seen Musk manipulate markets, commit various ethics violations and possibly fraud, fuel covid denial, break promises, lie constantly, sic a misogynistic army of fan boys on female critics, accuse someone who hurt his feelings of being a pedophile, bust unions, endanger employees, convince Tesla owners that his level 2 cars were actually level 5 and could safely drive themselves, and so much more.

But it takes a lot to dislodge the myth of a tech messiah. The New York Times is still running fawning interviews while public intellectuals like Josh Barro and Matt Yglesias are genuinely perplexed at why so many people dislike Musk. The myth is losing ground, but it's a slow process.

On a more cheerful note, here's a festive clip of some classic Will Vinton animation.

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