by Tom Luongo
I’ve given Elon Musk a lot of grief in the past over how he’s run Tesla Motors. Suffice it to say I’m not a fan. Deep down I’m supremely distrustful of Musk because he is, at best, a mercurial figure who is difficult to read.
He’s become the richest dude in the world partnering with governments to build some of the biggest hype machines in history. So, his offer to buy all of Twitter and take it private can cynically be seen as just another moment of ego from the 21st century’s best reincarnation of P.T. Barnum.
That said, however, strange things happen, when you acquire the kind of Fuck You Money that Musk has.
And it seems to me if you connect some dots that Musk has been planning this move for a while. Last year he came out in favor of Bitcoin. Then he took a memecoin, DOGE, and turned it into the crypto ‘flavor of the month.’
Musk’s ego is something to remain skeptical of, but it’s also hard not to respect a guy who is completely free at this point, or least free enough that he has zero fucks left to give to the regime that made him what he is.
So, when he cashed out a massive amount of money from Tesla at the peak recently it looked to me that he was getting ready to go from Elon Musk Reality TV star to the Real Elon Musk.
Most people, especially clueless bitches like Elizabeth Warren, don’t understand that most rich people are asset rich, but cash poor. Jeff Bezos may have billions of Amazon stock, but he really can’t sell a lot of it without giving a vote of no-confidence to the company itself.
It runs counter to his fiduciary interest as a board member. This isn’t to say Bezos doesn’t have money. He does, but he also doesn’t have nearly the amount of money you think he has.
So, Musk, freed from Tesla’s financial, shall we say creativity, now has real Fuck You Money. Not stock. Not assets. Cash.
And that cash he’s putting on the line today to force the moment of Twitter’s malfeasance as a public entity to its crisis point.
He has succeeded brilliantly.
He doesn’t even need to actually take control of Twitter. He’s already won.
By forcing Twitter’s board, who doesn’t own any shares in the company, to adopt a Poison Pill strategy, Musk has revealed them to be more interested in maintaining Twitter as a social control response engine rather than as a public company with a responsibility to shareholders.
The fact is, Twitter is a poison pill for society at large, all Musk did was put a price on it.
And I have to give Musk his due here, he’s performed one of the greatest public services in recent memory exposing the lengths to which Davos et.al. are willing to go to maintain their power. Because that’s what mass media to them is, a conduit of their power.
This goes far beyond Twitter’s obvious censorship and editorial bias. Musk is absolutely right that Twitter is broken. But the board and its investors willfully broke it years ago to serve a larger agenda.
The Skinner Box Bot Army
He’s also exposed just how seductive the power Twitter wields is to the people who work there. The histrionics of the employees, treating Musk’s offer like Armageddon itself, tells you they see Twitter as their personal Skinner Box to shock people into submission to their warped and solipsistic worldview.
This is the true face of stakeholder capitalism. It’s the future they have planned for us through ESG, no different really than the tyranny of the Human Resources Officer or the Compliance Officer.
When news of Musk’s bid went viral, the voices of a million Wesley Mauch’s cried out in protest.
After all, they have a revolution, or at least personal revenge fantasies, to carry out to inject poison pills into the public discourse ad nauseum.
Twitter has become a plaything of big money oligarchs using it to fuel a bot army to enrage you and waste your time. Simultaneously using those distractions to pursue a policy of blatant bias while hiding behind a broken regulatory model.
Tucker Carlson pointed out in his recent monologue that Musk has risked far more here than it looks like at first glance. The hatred and vitriol he’s uncovered goes all the way up to the SEC and the DoJ who are now investigating Tesla, further proving that these institutions are about protecting the government from the people rather than the people from thieves.
But it’s also yet another example of just how brittle and unstable these control systems are. Because who owns Twitter shouldn’t be this important. But it is.
Control systems work best when they are invisible.
Like the Doomsday Device from Dr. Strangelove which only works if everyone knows about it, Twitter as social control system only works if everyone doesn’t know it’s being used that way.
Forget the cartoons like Max Boot, Julia Ioffe, Brian Stelter and the rest of the blue-checkmarked Stasi in the media who still think they have power, the real threat to the public discourse is the unaccountability of functionaries who work at these anti-social media companies and the people who empower them.
The Persona’s The Thing
I know it’s all cool and edgy to hate Twitter, but used properly micro-blogging is a powerful tool. On the other hand, I’ve been post-Facebook for over four years and I don’t miss it a bit. I identified it then as fake intimacy and:
… a pale simulacra of real life interactions with people you are supposed to care about.
But, I don’t care about 99% of the people I went to high school with. I went to college 1100 miles from those people and barely looked back. The people I truly value from that part of my life mostly feel about Facebook the way I do.
That’s what makes them people I value.
They value the value of their closely-held opinions and don’t dilute it by publicly sharing their banality. They realize that being friends is more than dropping political stink bombs in someone’s digital living room and saying, “I dare you to not breathe.”
So, here you are on a platform that is supposed to be all about you and the last thing anyone really wants to be on Facebook is … themselves.
But Twitter is different, it’s a brilliant tool for advertising and networking. It’s also the place where the battle for ideas should play out. Twitter isn’t about being you, it’s about preparing a face to meet the faces that you meet, to quote T.S. Eliot. Used as a means to build a public persona who is both you and not you is part of its inherent charm.
Unfortunately, it’s been co-opted by culture warriors whose ideas can’t stand up to public scrutiny for the purpose of turning the public sphere into a 24/7/365 struggle session.
And this where Twitter’s real value lies and what Musk must restore if he wins this fight, in puncturing the veil of moral superiority, virtue signaling and ‘the latest thing’ of its NPC sycophants and spit in the eye of the naked emperor.
I believe Musk understands this perfectly, since he’s created the perfect Twitter persona, the billionaire of the people who can leap tall narratives in a single tweet.
It’s why they fear him and why we should back his play.
Not for his ego, but for ours.
It’s been a year since r/WallStreetBets took us on a wild ride in Game Stop. Now Musk can take his finely crafted persona and turn it into an army ready to take the front lines of the culture war from the chat room to the board room.
There are many ways to beat a poison pill strategy adopted by Twitter’s board. The main one being what Musk’s already done, offer them more than the company is worth. The other is to gather a coalition of investors ready to overthrow the board without triggering the poison pill itself.
And if the board and Twitter’s Skinner Box Commandos would rather burn it to the ground than let it fall into the hands of their enemies, then so be it.
At that point, we can let a thousand flowers bloom in the ashes of Twitter’s dumpster fire.
This is the path to unlock Twitter’s value to society and free it from all editorial constraints and government censors. Force the poisoners of society to take the poison pill themselves and let the truth free.
If Musk is successful he should rebuild the company culture from the ground up and build the tools necessary to allow people to naturally curate content they want, their way and let the best ideas win.
Win or lose, are we all not entertained?
* * *
Do NOT comply.