It’s our generation’s Frost/Nixon. Brilliant…
One of the major talking points of last week was an appearance by real-life cartoon billionaire, Elon Musk, on the Joe Rogan Experience. The image of Musk smoking weed went viral, and within hours he became the face of the American mid-life crisis. His “on-air” pot-smoking caught the attention of media outlets, who appeared to vilify him for his recreational actions.
Musk has made a lot of terrible humanitarian decisions and said some fairly awful things, smoking some weed is the very least of his public “crimes”. Tesla shareholders are likely ecstatic that the media spent last week talking about him smoking legal marijuana on a video podcast, and not his unfounded accusations against cave-divers, his dictatorial anti-union stance or his mistreatment of foreign workers in the name of progress.
I watched the full interview between the two, because largely I’m curious about the subjects Musk discusses and despite my opinions on Joe Rogan as a person, his interview style is genuinely one of the best out there.
Rogan lets his guests talk for hours on end and he looks for honest conversation with no agenda beyond letting the guest speak for themselves. He doesn’t ask probing questions, because he’s not a journalist, and he gets the guests he does for such extended periods of time because they know he’s not going to push them on difficult areas.
Think of that what you will, but a by-product of his style is his guests end up saying some things that they would never say to a journalist. If you read between the friendly dynamic between him and his guest, and don’t fall for the opinion that Rogan himself wants you to have of his guest (Alex Jones being a prime example), then his interviews are a fascinating incite into the mind of his subject.
Rogan himself is a people-pleaser, he may not think that, but he absolutely is. He bends over backwards to the ideology of his interviewee (unless discussing marijuana) — and if this is a designed style then it’s borderline genius. However, the way he knowingly discusses topics he doesn’t understand the first thing about, shows that he’s not as smart as he thinks he is.
Unless, of course, that is also by design. He’s a complex figure, who I think has been influenced too much by his “good-friend” Alex Jones, and so is attempting to play a character but falling short of the mark. He’s smart enough to think he’s smart, but not smart enough to realise he’s not.
You shouldn’t form your opinion on someone from the opinions of others, but the comment sections of his YouTube videos are an absolute state. I’ve noticed that Rogan gets a lot of dislikes and negative comments (on older videos) whenever he’s critical of conspiracy theories or far-right ideologies. Being the people-pleaser he is, my concern is that he’s less critical of these stances (in newer videos) in order to increase the happiness of his followers. Thankfully, he’s stood his ground when it comes to flat-earth conspiracies.
That’s just a theory of course — As I say he’s simultaneously a complex yet simplistic figure. Like, how can a person who openly uses psychedelics still have such an ego? The man’s a paradox.
So that’s our Frost — but what about our Nixon?
Elon Musk came across as thoughtful, insightful, terrified, disconnected and fatalistic. He appears to care far less about individual people than the average person, but far more about our species as a whole than anyone I’ve met. It’s why he doesn’t want his workers having any basic rights to unionise, and he doesn’t seem fussed by the alarmingly low wages of his foreign employees. Those are issues that effect the individual. If a worker can’t feed their family, that’s not the concern of Elon R. Musk.
However, he becomes very disheartened and shows genuine emotion when discussing the fate of our species. The first hour of the podcast is spent talking about the dangers of AI and how far companies are going in order to be the leader of the market, all without thinking about the consequences.
I haven’t smoked weed in over three months, but I felt as though I needed something after the weight of his discussion.
Musk talks like a smart child who’s never been told no — he does things when he wants, because he feels like it. So the fact that he’s curbing his own AI usage and advocating that other companies and governments do the same is kind of remarkable. In short, he should be far more evil than he actually is.
I don’t like him as a person, due to our fundamental disagreement on human rights, but if we absolutely have to have billionaires, then I’d rather they were all more like Elon Musk.
That’s so difficult for me to type because I think the world would be happier if he launched himself into the sun, but we do live in a world of rampant, toxic capitalism, where men like Musk race to the top of the wealth tree without remembering to kick some acorns down for the rest of us. We’re in a new-age of the industrial Robber Baron, which if Musk was a little more aware, he’d realise that this is the truly damaging aspect of our species and give his excess wealth to charitable causes.
However — What about the 99% of billionaires who don’t make the headlines? What about the billionaires who aren’t wearing their (robotic) hearts on their sleeves, as musk is.
EVERY billionaire is mistreating their workers, that’s how you become a billionaire in the first place. I’d just rather they were open and honest about it, as Musk is. I’m truly anxious about the billionaires who don’t do three-hour podcast interviews, who don’t go on 2am Twitter rants to reveal exactly who they are as a person. If Musk is the way he is, but he’s out in the open, how are the ones living under rocks behaving?
To summarise — Musk is a shit, but he’s the cleanest and most palatable shit on a pile of even bigger and worse shits. Oh shit.
Today is Tuesday, September 11th and never forget the innocent lives lost in a terrorist attack on this day, but also remember the innocent daughters, sons, sisters, brothers and children killed by the US in retaliation. We’re all messed up.
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