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Friday, December 9, 2022

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News + PoliticsOpinionThe ultimate troll just bought Twitter. Expect more pain...

The ultimate troll just bought Twitter. Expect more pain for SF

Elon Musk hates BART, taxes, worker protections, marginalized folks, and the free press. Now he has a huge platform.

The tech bros’ favorite cry-baby hero just bought one of San Francisco’s worst companies.

Nearly a year after walking Karen-meme Elon Musk pulled up stakes in SF to follow the tech migration to Austin, TX , he used his ill-gotten gains to buy Twitter, former online home of his pal Donald Trump. After first buying a 9 percent stake, but denied a seat on the board, he put in a bid to just buy the popular social media cesspool outright—no doubt to take credit for all the success it had before he got there.

That’s not surprising to anyone familiar with Muskie’s antics. He didn’t found Tesla either, he just used his South African apartheid inheritance to buy a stake in the company, then filed a frivolous lawsuit to have himself retroactively named as one of its founders. Now that he owns Twitter, I expect founder Jack Dorsey’s name to eventually be erased from the company history.

I also expect both Twitter and Muskie to be an even bigger pain in SF’s neck.

The company’s name was used as part of an asinine SF tax break under late Mayor Ed Lee. That libertarian loophole pretty much made the city a tax haven for every shitty tech company that wanted to skirt union laws and human rights checks through “gig economy” skullduggery. It’s why the streets are choked with Teslas driving by homeless camps. 

Twitter the website is where the tantrum-prone Muskie frequently lashes out at SF and Bay Area services (like his infamous flame war with BART) and openly threatens Tesla employees at the Fremont factory when they speak of unionizing. (The South African oligarch claims to be homeless as his actual homeless employees camp outside the factory.) It’s the website where he frequently agitates his company’s stock value by saying he’ll do something, only to renege at the last minute.

And yes, it’s the same site that waited for Trump to be impeached twice before terminating his account. Muskie loves Twitter the same reason Trump does: It’s a platform light on moderation and proud of the traffic numbers it can show to advertisers. Those numbers come from the very right-wingers, misogynists, and other horrible bigots who pretend they’re being “censored” by the site. Yet, one has to incite an attack on the Capitol before they face any consequences. These whiners and fascists always impotently vow to fight their imaginary oppression by starting their own social network (“with blackjack and hookers!”), but every time they do (Parler, Truth, etc.) they always crash and burn hilariously.

So, why not go to the source?

Muskie’s Twitter feed is full of racism, misogyny, and transphobia almost as much as Trump’s was. But the former not only kept his account, he bought the whole company relatively unchallenged. Though Twitter is rivaled only by Zuckerberg’s social media sewer, allowing the purchase gives an insecure anti-vaxxer unlimited power over one of the world’s largest public forums—for a price that could have bought “roughly 2 billion mRNA COVID vaccine doses for the world”—just as we’ve started Year Three of this nowhere-near-over pandemic. (Even $6.6 billion from Musk could combat world hunger, but no dice.)

Now, we’re gonna see censorship.

When the 9 percent purchase was announced on April 4, this tweet resurfaced a photo of Muskie alongside Ghislaine Maxwell with the text “Gonna enjoy the last few days of being able to post this on Twitter.” (And yes, Muskie was friends with Jeffrey Epstein.) Similar photos—like one of him pre-hair plugs—and sentiments have been abundant on the site since. Aside from the company’s financial value and high visibility, he knows Twitter’s intangible value to journalists, who rely on it for gathering information and contacting sources.

And make no mistake: this guy hates the press. He and his sycophants frequently attack press outlets and reporters (Associated Press, Reveal, SF’s own Violet Blue) when they report the many, many problems of he and his companies. He knows this is his chance to cut off a key resource to many of his most important critics.

Sound far-fetched? Remember when his space rocket-rival/real-life Lex Luthor Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post? Since that 2013 purchase, the paper’s become a pro-oligarch newsletter that lashes out at critics of Israel and suppresses rape stories. And that’s under the influence of the “mild-mannered” Bezos; what do you think’ll happen to Twitter as owned by a snowflake that starts a beef with The Onion?

I’ll tell you exactly what: You’ll get more “back to normal” Covid bullshit from hucksters like Monica Gandhi, Peter Chin-Hong, and whomever-Joe-Rogan-RTs; you’ll get more Republicans saying the Jan. 6 insurrectionists should be let go because “blah blah both sides;” and you’ll get everyone who’s frequently targeted on Twitter (women, LGBTQ+, BIPoC, Muslims, Jews, neurodivergent people, people with disabilities, people who believe in science, and many more) facing even worse harassment on a regular basis.

And make no mistake: we could very well see the return of Trump. Shit like this is why I gave up social media years ago.

Now, Muskie fans reading this might think I’m being hard on someone who overworks and underpays employees as he himself gets richer doing nothing. You might think I’m being unfair to the guy who sees a future in environment-killing Web3 vaporware. You may assume I’m just trying to be glib when I call him “Apartheid Emerald Mine Space Karen” (credit to Jamie Zawinski of the DNA Lounge for that one).

Maybe you’re right. Maybe I shouldn’t try to predict the future based on what he’s done over and over and over again. Maybe two years of masking and social distancing have gotten to me and I just need to do like him and get away from SF’s Tesla-clogged streets.

Why don’t I take a trip to LA? I heard I can get there in about an hour on a super-fast train paid for by taxpayers. Where can I find that again?

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Charles Lewis III
Charles Lewis III is a San Francisco-born journalist, theatre artist, and arts critic. You can find dodgy evidence of this at thethinkingmansidiot.wordpress.com

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