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Elon Musk
Mandatory Redistribution Party

Elon Musk: Imperialist doom twiglet

How did the world’s richest troll disintegrate a fortune through the power of their own corrupted personality? It's a morsel of poetic justice to be savoured like a precious twiglet.

Elon Musk has been etched into the immortal annals of cringe. Not only has he broken all historical records for losing the largest amount of money of any single individual – he did so by being embarrassing.

A huge dub (win) for all the magical thinkers out there: Elon Musk put bad vibes into the world and changed reality, a 21st century Ozymandias for credulous crypto bros, techno-utopian ultraliberals and the milquetoast cultural rebellion of economically comfortable imageboard teenagers.

Yet more gratifying than watching someone discover in real time that their personality is stock portfolio poison, Musk provides an object lesson in the connective tissue between absolute power, reactionary politics and being unhappy.

Elon is an expert slitherer. According to one biography he's sacked people for grammatical errors, and for not having done anything "awesome" lately. It also describes him screaming at an employee for skipping work to attend their child’s birth.

For all of his techno-utopian propagandising, one of SpaceX's contracts is with the US military, for whom they provide the ballistics for limb-obliterating payloads. His dreams of luxury space capitalism are pumped with the viscous goo of American imperialism.

With Musk's involvement, Tesla has attempted to destroy the lives of various whistleblowers, regarding safety standards, union busting and perhaps more, if we assume the more general campaign of frightening the wee out of all potential whistleblowers has been successful. Previous harassment campaigns have gone so far as reporting an ex-employee to the police as a mass shooter.

Musk believes himself a geek Machiavelli, an Alastair Campbell for the Elden Ring generation, yet he's somehow blissfully unaware that search engines lay everything bare. Try pinning down the truth about his father's emerald mine run from apartheid South Africa, and with a long enough timespan you can watch it morph from a matter-of-fact dollop of personal history to a trollified conspiracy nugget.

The financialisation of global capital – where fragments of a company become assets to become commodities to be traded in and of themselves – ensures that wealth is subject to speculation. Your ability to turn a profit and the trust of investors that you will turn a profit become interchangeable. Become proficient at engendering trust and there’s always more briefcase clasps to grease.

It's a system that rewards confidence tricks, especially in technology sectors that require specialist literacy often not contained in the brains of those gently stroking a gigantic stack of money wads.

As the Head Sponge of a several companies, Elon Musk is ordained with one principle task: give investors a bigger coin than they gave him seven months ago. Literal crimes do not undermine this trust unless they clog up this coin exchange. But what can gam up the coin pipes is the loss of confidence generated by broadcasting your worst personality traits through a dismal takeover of one of the planet’s largest communication mediums.

Before 2022, Elon was insulated by a vast web of propaganda. Appearing in The Big Bang Theory, he is shown in a homeless kitchen on Thanksgiving, whereas the real Elon Musk does not seemingly give to charity. In 'The Musk Who Fell to Earth', Lisa Simpson describes him as “possibly the greatest living inventor” – even though he isn’t an inventor.

These appearances contain Musk’s likeness, but there is nothing of the individual to be perceived through the myth-making, beyond a nebbish rocket guy uncomfortably mumbling through a media appearance.

Much of Musk’s lost fortune is down to a devaluation in Tesla stock during a general downturn in the automobile market, combined with an increase of competition in electric cars. Yet another factor in Telsa’s downturn is lost faith in Musk himself over his recent decisions. Even during his first month as Head Sponge of Twitter, one of America’s myriad tentacular blackbox business motherbrains noted favourable perceptions of Tesla dropped 6.2%. Having seen how Musk is handling his time in office as head of Twitter, people lost faith in all his ventures.

As someone who watched the politics of hope summarily taken outside and shot, I now indulge in the politics of spite. And discovering that Earth’s richest skeleton has tanked his fortune due to mass exposure to his personality is poetic and gleeful.

What’s more, Elon Musk seems unhappy. Watching the amount of his time and energy that goes into memeing respect from the sickly yellow crust that sits atop the Ricky & Morty to adult Reddit posters continuum as a 51 year old while his adult daughter changes her name to disassociate herself from him is, well... it’s not a portrait of a guy who is Doing Well.

And while 'immense wealth and power to unhappy internet gonk' is not a universal phenomenon or an inevitable progression, that’s all the more reason to savour this morsel of poetic justice like a precious twiglet.

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Sean Morley is the co-host of radical left podcast Mandatory Redistribution Party, choc full of repartee, left lore and interviews. Season 3 of Mandos is coming soon.

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