This type of booking, it must be said, is and never will be hilarious as the gap between the haves and have-nots is widening at an alarming rate. Why give such a concert to the third richest man in the world? On the one hand, this could be the business mogul’s latest attempt at pop cultural relevance. Ultimately, however, it stinks of Donald Trump having his hair ruffled by Jimmy Fallon on Tonight’s show (not to mention, well, Trump also hosts SNL, which didn’t go very well with the cast).
News of Titan Tesla’s reservation didn’t go well with 2021 SNL Staff. When her guest spot was announced, the cast of the sketch series looked equally puzzled at the choice. Bowen Yang, Aidy Bryant and Andrew Dismukes appeared to express their displeasure with the decision in a handful of now-deleted social media posts. Michael Che, co-host of “Weekend Update”, however appeared on board, telling Seth Meyers this week, without a hint of sarcasm: “He’s the richest man in the world, how could you not to be excited for it? “
About as excited as listening to a five hour cryptocurrency seminar, upside down. No doubt Musk – who, we mentioned, launched his own coin, which no one could have predicted, soared in market value this week – has plenty of futuristic historical achievements that are ripe. for a SNL sending (the red pill or the blue pill, Neo?). The 49-year-old entrepreneur first made a fortune by founding online banking X.com which eventually became PayPal. He also oversees SpaceX, which last week fired four astronauts from the International Space Station. Most notably, he is the CEO and Product Architect of Tesla. And that doesn’t include his other companies, which include (but not limited to) OpenAI, a nonprofit research company that promotes friendly artificial intelligence, and Neuralink, a neurotechnology company focused on the development of technology. ‘brain-computer interfaces.
But not so fast. From the outside, Musk appears to be a forward-thinking innovation leader atop a Silicon Valley pyramid of people claiming to change the world. And yet the way Musk earned his immense wealth is troublesome, with Tesla workers complaining of high injury rates, long hours working with dangerous machinery, and low wages. Not only are its employees paid less than others in the auto industry, but Tesla is the only major US automaker without a union workforce.
In the past, if workers tried to organize, they were penalized and even fired. Last year, a California judge ruled that Musk and other business executives were illegally sabotaging employee efforts to organize by harassing and questioning workers, and even threatening to withdraw their options to buy from. actions. Last month, the National Labor Relations Board said Tesla violated labor laws by firing a union activist, and when Musk himself wrote on Twitter in 2018: “Nothing prevents the Tesla team of our auto factory to vote for a union. Could do it tmrw if they wanted to. But why pay union dues and give up stock options for nothing? “
And that doesn’t mean anything to Musk’s misinformation spread around Covid-19. When the pandemic first emerged in early 2020, Musk called the concerns “stupid” and speculated that there would “probably be close to zero new cases” in the United States by the next. end of April. Then, when that didn’t happen, he tweeted “FREE AMERICA NOW” in response to national stay-at-home orders and called the quarantine measures “fascist” on Tesla’s call for results.
In May, Musk reopened the Tesla plant in Fremont, Calif. – a direct challenge to county orders. “Workers on the production line crammed into cars they built, standing and seated next to each other as they installed components. Employees say the equipment was not wiped down between shifts, ”wrote the Los Angeles Progressive Newsletter, adding:“ Days later, Tesla’s first employees tested positive for Covid-19.
Musk’s problematic nature doesn’t stop with the spread of Covid disinformation and the fight against unions, of course. He gained a thorny reputation as an internet troll, a happy and extremely online annoyance with a history of tweeting first and thinking later. (Remember when he called a diver in the Thai cave rescue operation to save a group of stranded boys a ‘child guy’? Or when he tweeted that Tesla’s share price was too high? , causing investors to lose money immediately?)
I’m not too focused on Musk’s penchant for causing social media chaos. Or even his perplexed relationship with electronic pop artist Grimes and their baby name in alien language. I’m not even trying to question his brilliance, or whether he deserves to be rich.
Of course, being a source of division saves you places. And while it’s pretty obvious that NBC is salivating at the potential rise in ratings, they’d be the first to say it doesn’t have a liberal bias (rumor has it that they almost hired comedian Shane Gillis in 2019 to attract conservative viewers). Prior to Trump, the show also brought in then-New York mayor and the sponge of utter joy, Rudy Giuliani, to host in 1997. They rarely connect. But at least they’ve come a certain way in exposing bad guys in the past, or at least showing what’s hiding in plain sight. In 2005, cyclist Lance Armstrong took over, but mostly spent the night making jokes about being a cheater. (Which, as it turned out later, it was.)
It remains to be seen whether Musk will get his contest or not. But in 2021, when the average worker is burdened with student loans, consumer and medical debt, and ultra-mellow characters like Musk live an existence of no consequence, no matter what lies they tell or who they exploit. , platforms like NBC and SNL have a responsibility to recognize that everything is connected: even topics like global health, inequality and comedy. Ultimately, their choices matter. And Musk’s reservation as a smiley gamemaster to bring lolz to the worst year of our lives, frankly, stinks.