Elon Musk desperately desires to be preferred, regardless of his pronouncement Wednesday that he doesn’t thoughts being hated. “Hate away,” he told Andrew Ross Sorkin on the New York Instances DealBook Summit.
The sentiment is, like a lot of Musk’s public persona, a lie designed to maintain the general public’s focus squarely on him.
On the danger of over-pathologizing one of the pathologized public figures on the planet, one factor Musk’s interview made clear is that he seems hooked on consideration. And when adoration isn’t out there, he’ll take condemnation like a shot of methadone.
It’s why he purchased a $44 billion private megaphone. It’s why, on the Wednesday summit, he informed advertisers which might be leaving X (previously Twitter) to “go f**okay your self,” relishing every phrase as he appeared to pat himself on the again for utilizing such spicy language in entrance of a New York Instances reporter.
Watching the interview, even on-line, you’ll be able to really feel the awkward vitality of that second — cringeworthy for some, however seemingly invigorating for Musk.
For higher or worse, Musk and his antics matter due to the facility he wields as an Extraordinarily Wealthy Man and the top of among the most influential corporations on Earth. If we will’t cease pathologizing, it’s as a result of almost each enterprise determination Musk makes has ripple results that matter down the road to common individuals, whether or not they’re shopping for a Tesla in California or fighting a ground war in Jap Europe.
More and more, Musk is positioning himself as a public mental and somebody with a role to play in international affairs like Israel’s conflict on Hamas. He clearly has the facility (learn: cash) to inject himself into the center of any battle, however he lacks the maturity to make use of that energy for a lot apart from grandstanding.
The journey to Israel adopted his endorsement of an explicitly antisemitic tweet that sparked an advertiser exodus on X. He referred to as the publish — which amplified a conspiracy concept widespread amongst White supremacists, that Jewish communities push “hatred towards Whites” — “the precise reality.” (On Wednesday, Musk swore the go to to Israel was not some form of “apology tour,” one other assertion that strains credulity given the timing.)
He’s doing his greatest to fight accusations of antisemitism by stating that he’s not antisemitic. However his previous phrases and actions don’t do a lot to again up that declare.
Musk has a protracted historical past, seen on his X timeline, of liking and in any other case propping up antisemitism, hate speech and conspiracy theories on the platform over which he exerts absolute management and the place he boasts a following of greater than 160 million accounts.
On Wednesday, Musk sought to shrug off his most up-to-date anti-Jewish publish as a “silly” mistake that obtained misinterpreted by the media. However even when that had been true, we’d nonetheless have his Twitter feed, which is suffering from banter with QAnon conspiracy theorists, a lot of whom had been banned from the platform earlier than Musk resurrected their accounts.
Simply days after the antisemitic tweet that sparked an advertiser exodus, Musk moved on to have interaction with the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory, respiratory life right into a 2016 lie that prompted a person to open fireplace in a DC restaurant.
It ought to go with out saying, however you don’t have to carry animosity in your coronary heart to be a bigot. Tolerating bigotry, and giving air to it, in entrance of an viewers of 160 million followers, is all it takes.
Musk clearly has “a reasonably simple case of web mind rot,” because the Atlantic author Charlie Warzel put it in a Threads post. “We all know who this man is by now however he completely isn’t going away.”