MuskBros, The Cult of the Tech God and Mainstream Media

There’s something in the water in Silicon Valley. I’m not sure what it is, but it makes people real douches. The Tech God persona isn’t very new. That title belonged to Steve Jobs, before Elon Musk went and happened to the world. To be specific, even Steve Jobs didn’t really command that persona until Apple caught its second wind, which i would consider to be around the time the IPod came out. There was a time when celebrities came from either the recording industry or the film industry. The glitz, glamour, money and debauchery were all reserved for people who were involved with either one of these. There was nothing particularly sexy about technology. Big money always attracted a certain amount of “stardom”, but the tech industry making the kind of money it does now is, i’m sure you agree, a fairly new phenomenon.

“There was a time when celebrities came from either the recording industry or the film industry”

I do think it’s really strange (or maybe it makes perfect sense?) that two of the biggest stars that humanity have managed to create, since the turn of the millenium, are two colossal ass-hats who have created enormous empires by being smart. While the fanbase of both of these individuals isn’t limited to white men, there does seem to be a large portion of the population that do happen to be white and male. Now, i get it, the fanbase of toast is probably white men too, if you’re just polling people on the internet who use social media and are vocal about their views. For the record, i’m a fan of toast too. The point is, there’s something that’s very masculine about the winner-take-all and revolution at all costs attitude that Musk and Jobs are famous for having cultivated.  Being an individual of color, or a women, or a minority of any shape or form, makes you feel a certain indebtedness for those you consider as sharing in your identity, and a pressure to make things a little better for them.

White men have little incentive to feel these identity ties, and it really does make sense, since if your identity isn’t really threatened or subvert constantly, you have no reason to hunker down and make it a lasting part of your world view. Which is what makes it disingenuous when individuals identity as white, male or straight, since it’s essentially identifying with being in a position that allows you to bypass constraints and access power. Erin Biba, an author who writes for the Daily Beast, had a run-in with the MuskBros recently and her piece on the event, is a very interesting account of what happens when journos do try to criticize Musk.

“Which is what makes it disingenuous when individuals identity as white, male or straight, since it’s essentially identifying with being in a position that allows you to bypass constraints and access power”

After that shitstorm, she decided to poke around twitter for more stories like hers, and she found a tremendous amount of them. The attacks that she, and others like her have been subject to, have a very obvious gendered slant to them. You can’t deny that words like “Bitch” and “Cunt” aren’t gendered. It’s not even coded language. Another account of a woman who has been affected by the Tech god, is the daughter of Steve Jobs. She’s got a book out (i think), about some of the finer personality points of Jobs. I haven’t personally read the book, but you should go ahead and read the article regarding her book. Funnily enough, the bizzare incidents highlighted in the books don’t really stem from the “driven” nature of his personality, but instead just paints the picture of a rather petty human being.

So what is it about males that makes them invest the persona of the Tech God with this level of devotion. As mentioned before, i’m going to hazard a guess at the fact that Musk and his ilk have made silicon valley sexy, in some strange way. Nobody really invests their love and devotion in this manner on rock stars, for example. Nobody said anything when the world called Keith Richards an absolute nut job for snorting his dad’s ashes. It might be old and hackneye at this point of time, but the reason that MuskBros exist might really be the same reason that both Modi and Trump exist. It’s the idea of “talking power to power”. It’s the same reason that certain white Australians are horrified that Aboriginal Australians still hunt sea turtles. It becomes a convenient excuse to go after a target. Charlie Boy doesn’t really care about Sea Turtles, don’t let him fool you into thinking he gives a damn. It’s also the reason Modi says that Triple Talaq is even banned in Pakistan, and thus should be banned in India. It’s a media alliance of convenience.

screen shot 2019-01-07 at 11.11.37 am
Source: https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/999357298861486080

..the reason that MuskBros exist might really be the same reason that both Modi and Trump exist. It’s the idea of “talking power to power”

Another interesting caveat to this entire story is the mainstream media and alternative “shadow” news distinction that is increasingly becoming more, dare i say, mainstream? This isn’t a phenomenon that is really distinct to the United States ecosystem, but is reproduced in a pretty standard form all over the world.

What this creates, in my opinion, is not two alternative narratives (this is not a dialectical exercise), but rather a “shadow” economy of news where there might be less “censorship”, but it’s not very often that this lack of censorship is in the interests of humanity.  I use humanity here with a liberal smattering of sarcasm. This takes different forms, in different parts of the world, depending on how opinion is transmitted. For example, India’s version of this is Whatsapp forwards about the Indus Valley and the fighter planes that they built. YouTube plays a much bigger role in most of the Westernized world. Is it just the fact that people like Musk and Trump cannot hear a word of criticism that makes them look at “alternative” sources of news? They repeatedly make the point that Mainstream Media have agendas and quotas to fill. In other words, they have a bottom line and they need to stay afloat. The last i checked, Tesla was a goddamn company. What makes Musk’s rantings the fount of unbiased knowledge and not the stuff of fantasy?

The United States Congress and taxpayer money played an enormous part in funding whatever it is that SpaceX is up to. This isn’t even considering what on earth is going on with Tesla acquiring stake in various other companies that are in the solar energy sector. Musk sold shares in Tesla (which he gets paid in as CEO), a few weeks before the acquisition, presumably to minimize his losses. I don’t know about you, but that sounds a whole lot like an agenda.

Biba in her article, says that this fracas essentially began because she published a tweet about the power that individuals like Musk had since an environment like twitter exists today. Her point was that someone like Musk should consider that he had to bear a certain amount of responsibility, and should not be going out of his way to demean “mainstream media.” This is the point that needs to be made though. The stock market, as warped as it is, does affect that lives and livelihoods of individuals around the world. To be just flat out bizzare and not give a hoot about the consequences is just absolutely privileged behavior  Subsequently, when she tried to source accounts from various others about the doings of MuskBros, she got attacked again. It’s not character assassination to write about the nature of a particular group of people. It’s literally her job. By aligning himself with some crazy sex cult website that literally brands people, Musk created some kind of crazy male frankenstein, and the damn thing had a twitter account.

Extended Content

https://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/opinion-stop-treating-tech-jerks-like-gods/news-story/1f0cfe920aff9fc7b80a15ebefab9040

https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/wealth/apple-founder-steve-jobs-daughter-lisa-brennanjobs-tells-all-in-new-book/news-story/79e31331e1504d8e348109d7abd78e6f

https://www.dailydot.com/via/steve-jobs-elon-musk-lone-genius/

https://www.cnet.com/news/apple-chastised-for-unsafe-working-conditions-in-supplier-factory/

http://theconversation.com/we-dont-need-elon-musk-for-an-innovative-tech-industry-102799

https://observer.com/2016/06/why-im-not-dazzled-by-elon-musk/

https://www.cnbc.com/2016/06/22/chanos-bail-out-of-solarcity-a-corporate-governance-at-its-worst.html

http://cosmiclog.nbcnews.com/_news/2010/12/06/5600599-spacex-gets-set-for-next-giant-leap

https://metro.co.uk/2018/05/29/elon-musks-army-white-male-muskbros-accused-harassing-women-criticise-7586128/

https://www.thedailybeast.com/what-its-like-when-elon-musks-twitter-mob-comes-after-you

https://slate.com/technology/2018/05/elon-musks-crusade-for-media-accountability-lasted-three-whole-days-before-he-recommended-a-news-site-affiliated-with-a-suspected-sex-cult.html

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