I don't know what's more distinctly American — that two intolerable, straight, white nerds can become the richest men in the world, or that they've been in a public dick measuring contest ever since they achieved that status. And while we joke about Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk in memes and on Twitter, it's impossible to ignore how Dickensian their feuding has become, and how much of a moral affront it is to the rest of the world. It feels like we're getting to a point where public mockery and disdain for the two shameless billionaires is just how we collectively cope with the fact that they exist now, but as their wealth, megalomania and lust for infinitely bigger conquests continue to grow — how do we reconcile their consequence-less existence?
Between the cacophonous end to the Trump era, the enduring pandemic, and doomsday-level climate crisis — some days it's just hard to get out of bed for us regular folks. We're tired. To top it off, another study was released this week in the journal Science titled "Intergenerational inequities in exposure to climate extremes," basically outlining that life for anyone under 40 will be harsh and cruel in the not too distant future due to unprecedented heat waves, floods, droughts and crop failures. And less than a day after that confronting climate report was released, news broke that Elon Musk had finally surpassed Jeff Bezos to be the richest man in the world. His response? To announce that he will be sending Bezos a statue of the digit 2 and a silver medal to celebrate.
Musk didn't stop there in his continued insult to humanity. He followed that up by essentially bemoaning the loss of having his pro big business, anti-regulation, money whore BFF Trump in the White House at a Code Conference in Beverly Hills. He's been publicly mocking Biden for weeks, supposedly after his invitation to a recent White House summit on electric vehicles got lost in the mail. While Tesla does make the majority of electric vehicles, struggles with unionizing workers and poor labor conditions persist and was likely why he wasn’t at the table. Conversely, the rest of the automakers present were the “largest employers of the United Auto Workers,” according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in response to the snub. Musk's response was to aggress that Biden is "controlled by unions," because what's spookier to a billionaire than that?
Musk didn't miss an opportunity to dig at Bezos either, stoking their ongoing war to colonize space — their chosen battleground when helping to cure any of the ills of earth is apparently just too tedious for billionaires. Musk mocked, "[Bezos] cannot sue [his] way into orbit, no matter how good [his] lawyers are." You'd like to think that even if billionaires are chaotically evil, exploitative vacuums of greed, that they at least are busy — but it turns out they're not too busy for petty rivalry. While Bezos did sue after Tesla won a $2.9 billion Nasa contract to build the next lunar lander, it only took mere hours after Musk's dig for Bezos to also release a 13-page document attempting to prove that Musk is just as litigious as he is.
It's hard enough to stomach the fact that one of these men got rich off of our potty training as good capitalist cogs who fill our emotional voids with materialist goods (Amazon), and the other got rich off of technology that he will probably recklessly build until it destroys us all (Tesla). But it adds insult to injury to have to watch the two richest men in the world have a continued pissing contest while the world literally burns. Add in that they both are tax evaders and get their jollies by manning joy rides to space — the environmental consequences of which rarely get parsed as we all stare mouths agape. They are trying to build controversial robots and live forever while we toil away in death capitalism. So is it too much to ask for just one teensy weensy favor, perhaps? That favor being that they stop being giant clowns laughing in the face of societal collapse? So far, it seems like their answer is, "No ❤️."