Because of Mark Twain, Somehow
October 17, 2018 7:44 PM   Subscribe

The Soylent Corporation maestro is under attack for making Soylent Green out of people. But we need people who take risks. We need people who try. We need people to eat. In Defense of Soylent Green Inventor Henry C. Santini (after the Popular Mechanics defense of Elon Musk)
posted by Artw (27 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
Elon Musk is cursed in that it is he who is Kanye-like, not Kanye who is Musk-like.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:55 PM on October 17, 2018 [3 favorites]


Some good chuckles to be had here, thanks Artw.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:25 PM on October 17, 2018


Palmer Luckey thinks he’s Batman? Well then I’m turned around. I definitely don’t think his basement needs investigating now.
posted by dumbland at 9:03 PM on October 17, 2018


reading the two of them in tandem -- bouncing from original "serious" paragraph to satirical paragraph. I think I have to go with the "serious" one, the original, the beyond parody whutness of it.

But admit it, among your everyday pleasures is the possibility that you might pick up an item in the news feed on your smartphone concerning Elon Musk’s next great idea.

No. That's not even one of my everymonth pleasures. But I laughed. So thanks for that pleasure.
posted by philip-random at 10:08 PM on October 17, 2018 [6 favorites]


I followed the Popular Mechanics link and noticed the byline was "Popular Mechanics Editors," so I thought to myself "ah ha! This is gonna be so awful and slobbery and self-satirizing that nobody wanted their name put to it."

Then I noticed the bylines were inline so I thought to myself, "ah ha! This is like that episode of Quincy where everyone in the town shot that one dude so nobody could be convicted."

I mean, they weren't shooting Elon Musk, they were shooting good taste and any sense of proportion.
posted by mph at 10:35 PM on October 17, 2018 [13 favorites]




Comparing Musk as a businessman to Mark Twain is really something, as he was notoriously crackpot in his investment strategies. Including :

Twain, being Twain, though, couldn’t resist investing again, once his bank account was restored. He poured thousands of dollars into backing a protein powder called Plasmon, which he claimed delivered 16 times the nutritional value of steak at a cost of a penny a day; it could “end the famine in India.”
posted by bendybendy at 4:44 AM on October 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure if the comparison is valid. I mean, Soylent Green actually made it into full production, and it did what it was supposed to do, i.e. feed people. (Well, it fed people people, but you know.) Can Tesla 3 say the same?
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:56 AM on October 18, 2018


Most of what Elon does is just rich man bullshit but I have to say I am still gobsmacked about the pedo accusation attack on the rescue diver and subsequent triple down. That was some pretty epic WTFuckery that has me thinking he is moments away from a collapse into full super villainy.

Which is why I think nobody should ever have super-wealth.
posted by srboisvert at 5:46 AM on October 18, 2018 [6 favorites]


In the novel Soylent is, unsurprisingly, made of soybeans and lentils.

And the population of fictional hellscape New York is lower than NYC's current population.

I get this is a Musk stan parody, but meh, it doesn't work for me.
posted by GuyZero at 7:30 AM on October 18, 2018


Can Tesla 3 say the same?

I probably see a dozen every morning if I drive to work.
posted by GuyZero at 7:30 AM on October 18, 2018


I probably see a dozen every morning if I drive to work.

I'm guessing that things are different in the Valley than elsewhere. I think that I've seen a grand total of two Teslas of any model in central Illinois, ever.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:02 AM on October 18, 2018


I think that I've seen a grand total of two Teslas of any model in central Illinois, ever.

Teslas have surpassed every other brand for luxury sedan sales in the US. The Model 3 (the new one) is currently the #1 in sales small sedan, selling a few thousand more than the Mercedes C class. The other manufacturers (BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac etc) are mostly selling SUVs, not cars.


Not sure about the total yearly sales of the older Model S, but for many months the Model S is the #1 large luxury car in sales.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:12 AM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


I hate that Elon is in Star Trek canon but I can take solace that we will not reach the stars and he won't have any claim to that event that won't happen anyway.
posted by GoblinHoney at 8:26 AM on October 18, 2018


Teslas, at least in my world, are driven by the sort of person who was going to buy a BMW 5-series but then they put in those nice EV spaces next to the handicapped spots at the front of the parking lot, so...
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:35 AM on October 18, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm guessing that things are different in the Valley than elsewhere. I think that I've seen a grand total of two Teslas of any model in central Illinois, ever.

I've seen exactly one, owned by some ultra-rich guy who'd just bought a significant chunk of waterfront property hereabouts (Pacific Northwest). My immediate thought was, there goes the neighborhood. I later discovered he was brother-in-law to a neighbor who's a nice enough guy but so absurdly wealthy that he doesn't seem to think twice about flying first class to London for an art opening. What was it F Scott Fitzgerald said about the rich?
posted by philip-random at 8:37 AM on October 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


And here I thought we were going to compare Musk to fellow engineer's disease sufferer Rob Rhinehart.

I can always get behind that, FWIW.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:41 AM on October 18, 2018


I know one guy with one. Hedge fund retiree. Back when I was working with him, it still seemed like a cool thing.

But admit it, among your everyday pleasures is the possibility that you might pick up an item in the news feed on your smartphone concerning Elon Musk’s next great idea.

This might be more the case if I hadn't read all of Musk's ideas in science fiction when I was growing up.
posted by praemunire at 8:43 AM on October 18, 2018 [3 favorites]


Also, I do see Teslas fairly often in DC, usually with MD plates. But Bethesda and Chevy Chase are right up there with the valley in terms of semi-conspicuous consumption.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:44 AM on October 18, 2018


Can Tesla 3 say the same?
Not the promised $35k model, no. Production of the higher end stuff seems to be finally getting there though, and somewhat ahead of their early schedule for the car (though well behind Musk's stupid updated schedule after they got umpty hundred-thousand preorders).

Teslas, at least in my world, are driven by the sort of person who was going to buy a BMW 5-series
That would be a net good, one fewer cancer-spewing internal combustion engines on the road, but the most traded-in car for a 3 is a Prius. Which is a somewhat poorer CO2 trade.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 8:55 AM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


Teslas have surpassed every other brand for luxury sedan sales in the US. The Model 3 (the new one) is currently the #1 in sales small sedan, selling a few thousand more than the Mercedes C class. The other manufacturers (BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac etc) are mostly selling SUVs, not cars.

Not sure about the total yearly sales of the older Model S, but for many months the Model S is the #1 large luxury car in sales.


The Model S is the #1 electric car made by a dude dating a Juno award winner, too. If you make the pond small enough, anybody can be the biggest fish. As the quote says, Tesla is now the leader in a tiny and dwindling market segment. Year to date, they are the 21st largest brand in US sales, representing less than 1% of new car sales.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:58 AM on October 18, 2018 [2 favorites]


I don't know enough about the Tesla models to tell one from the other, but, goddamned if I don't see at least one every day in Denver. And many other luxury cars too, just sayin'.
posted by evilDoug at 9:06 AM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


If you make the pond small enough, anybody can be the biggest fish

If you misrepresent someone's goals, then anyone can be made to look like a loser.

Tesla isn't trying to compete with the Honda Civic or the Ford F150. They're very explicitly competing in a smaller pond, where they're doing really well.

I'm not sure why the success of Tesla has to be misrepresented to justify that Musk is a bit of a tool. There are lots of successful tools out there. We all contain multitudes, Musk's include visionary auto entrepreneur and internet tool.
posted by GuyZero at 9:07 AM on October 18, 2018 [5 favorites]


the most traded-in car for a 3 is a Prius. Which is a somewhat poorer CO2 trade.

Still a positive CO2 trade. And honestly, both are cars for price-sensitive buyers (not the most cost-sensitive, but neither are price-is-no-concern luxury cars). Model S and X are 100% displacing BMW sales.
posted by GuyZero at 9:08 AM on October 18, 2018


If you make the pond small enough, anybody can be the biggest fish.

The pond is not that small. The competitors are brands like Porsche, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Lexus, Cadillac, etc - as in every car model they make and sell in the US. I just checked- for 2017 the Model S doubled up the Mercedes E class with the most sales for large luxury car.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:32 AM on October 18, 2018


Still a positive CO2 trade
Probably. Assuming the battery stays in use long enough to pay back its somewhat higher embedded energy cost. Seems like they're finally adding all the promised renewable generation to the gigafactory, so the carbon cost of that energy should fall a little. It's hard to avoid in all the mining though.
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 12:19 PM on October 18, 2018 [1 favorite]


Elon does kinda look like a guy I wouldn't be surprised to find out had human meat in his freezer tho. So I kinda get where they got their inspiration from.
posted by some loser at 2:06 PM on October 18, 2018


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