The Beginning of the End of Elon Musk

Elon Musk’s “offer” to buy twitter was just another moment of thoughtless, grandiose stupidity. Musk quickly realized that owning and being responsible for twitter was a horrible fucking idea, so he wisely tried to back out. But here Musk encountered something he has never, ever had to deal with: a Delaware Chancery Judge.

Unlike the SEC, the rest of the U.S. government, and the owners/managers of all news media, Delaware Chancery Judges aren’t really scared of unlimited wealth backed up by total bullshit. They deal with it all the time. If it had been any other governmental institution, Elon Musk would have successfully–and very wisely–gotten out of buying twitter.

But the traditional Musk modes of high-powered bullshitting, pressuring, and outright threatening people and institutions don’t work with a Delaware Chancery Judge: the Big Boys are always playing in her sandbox, she knows they’re full of shit, so she follows the law (this does not make her a symbol of principled resistance to power–in these disputes, there are almost always Big Boys on both sides, so following the law simply makes things predictable and “fair” over the long run; it’s just what’s expected*).

Don’t believe whatever else you’ve heard: Musk wanted out of buying twitter, but his lawyers told him the Judge was going to force him to buy it anyway.

So Musk “repackaged” the deal, pretended the idea of going forward was his, and bit the bullet. And now he is fucked. twitter doesn’t make a profit, wasn’t about to make a profit, and the specifics have never been entirely clear on how “real” mega-profits could ever be made (in the dot-com era, this is not unusual: as long as a business has an established base of millions of avid users, Wall Street is willing to wait years before that business shows any meaningful profit).

But the mere fact of Musk’s takeover has destroyed the previously-accepted timeline–i.e., the timeline under which Wall Street, the financial media, and everyone else would let this “successful” company lose money for years. Under the old management, twitter probably had at least five more years before Wall Street et al. would actively desert/destroy its stock value because there was no “real” money being made.

Musk’s twitter will be expected to make money sooner, and it never, ever will. Like so many of his ilk, Elon Musk primarily runs the brand of “Elon Musk” and makes deals: he has never really run a company. Having started out rich & privileged, Musk’s present mega-wealth is based on being at the right place, at the right time, to buy and then sell out (PayPal, if you’re wondering). After the sell-out (i.e., the true cause & origin of his present mega-wealth), Musk bought things and played with his money. Tesla is other peoples’ creation/idea, and, under his management, is just bullshit (i.e., a ridiculously inflated and unjustified stock price) and government subsidies/support. SpaceX is all bullshit and government subsidies/support. The Boring Co., Starlink, and Neuralink are laughable monstrosities that will never make money (and, unlike Tesla and SpaceX, even Musk’s PR Deathstar can’t overwhelm the financial fanzines, e.g., Inc., Entrepreneur, Forbes, Wired, etc., into pretending these sillinesses are successful in any way).

Elon Musk was always doomed to become a joke. But this forced takeover of twitter will make his downfall into a real shitshow of epic proportions. As he gets more desperate, spinning out of control and out of money, Musk will lose control/management/ownership of Tesla and SpaceX.** If not, he’ll take them down with him. In any event, everyone is about to see the real Elon Musk. And it won’t be pretty.

_______________________________

*And now you know why the Delaware Chancery Court is the most important/impactful court for huge corporations in this country: no connected/powerful law firm, lobbyist(s), bought politician(s), media campaign or other big money move gives one side or the other a clear advantage when they battle there (unlike when they deal with all other state, local and national governmental institutions in this country). In other words, one can actually expect an outcome pretty much based on the law and the facts. Which is what doomed Musk into buying twitter.

**My bet is the real investors/members of the boards of Tesla and SpaceX are already meeting behind Musk’s back, planning how to isolate and protect those companies from Musk’s upcoming dumpster fire. Of course, when they make their move, the PR spin may cast it as an agreed-upon “transition” of “day-to-day control” as Musk “concentrates” on twitter or some other such bullshit, but it will be forced on Musk, just like the takeover of twitter was.

Also, Agincourt was bullshit

Speaking of Henry V, the myth of Agincourt is bullshit. Every armchair dilettante historian will always wax poetic about the glories of the English longbow and the virility of King Henry V but such ridiculousness belies the true nature of war … and the world.

Wars are never simply won by technology. And the world is never changed by the sole “great man.” These are convenient lies-simplifications to avoid the reality of our complex chaotic existence. Simplifications to justify the unjustified, unsupportable (over the long term), and immoral accrual of overwhelming socio-economic power in the hands of a tiny group of privileged males because they “earned” it, “deserve” it, and/or “made empires” through their own indomitable will to power. A laughable conceit, if not so destructive to all of humankind.

But I digress.

 Illustration of Agincourt from
Chroniques d’Enguerrand de Monstrelet: en deux livres, avec pi├Ęces justificatives

While the longbow may have played a decisive role during one phase of the battle known as Agincourt (and in some ways during the Hundred Years War), the battle itself would be a historical footnote, like the resounding British victories on Long Island and Manhattan during the Revolutionary War, if not for factors completely unrelated to technology or Henry V’s leadership/martial skills. In other words, Henry V and his relatively small band would have inevitably been forced out of France regardless of Agincourt if the French had their shit together. Which they didn’t.

During this time, the French Civil War (1407-1435) divided what we now know as “France,” primarily between Burgundy and Armagnac. Screw the myth of English longbowmen, Henry faced only Armagnac forces, who were also already technically fighting Burgundian forces–and the Burgundian”French” troops happily sat by as the Armagnacs lost to Harry at Agincourt. At other times, the Burgundians actively provided aid to beleaguered English forces.

You see, if France was united, even if the English forces had somehow won Agincourt against both the Armagnacs and Burgundians, they would have inevitably lost the war/campaign.

Indeed, the moment the French Civil War ended (or, more accurately, when this particular phase of intra-French rivalry ended) and French forces united (Burgundy, Armagnac, etc.), there was no way England could keep any part of France over the long term (Ah, but Calais, … what of Calais? Go back to your armchair).

Despite this cold and stark reality, the (typically male) historian will repeat the childish rhetoric of the “strong” King Henry V who gained France and then his “weak” son King Henry VI who lost it (he was weak-minded, mind you, but that’s not the point). Utter bullshit. No English King could have maintained such a powerful foothold in a united France (=at least Burgundy+Armagnac).

Moreover, even at home, King Henry VI’s “weakness” was also beyond his control, as the internecine fighting between the so-called Yorkists (who at times controlled the town of Lancaster and not York) and the so-called Lancastrians (who at time controlled the city of York but not Lancaster) was also inevitable, although made very lively by an array of fascinating and capable characters (alas, poor Warwick the “kingmaker,” the Percys, the Nevilles, the Beauforts, the Baratheons, …). Moreover, in these “Wars of the Roses,” * the French played an important role in almost every decisive win by either side-another fact usually glossed over in the myth-making history of “Great Men.”

It’s impossible to reconcile a coherent and full understanding of real world facts with the predominant historical myths of “great” man determining the destinies of countries/wars through their own merit and brilliance, and/or “weak” leaders losing their countries/wars through their inherent “weaknesses,” “fatal flaws,” and/or “corrupt ways.” Utter bullshit. And incomprehensible as a belief system to anyone who reads and understands the facts of the historical record (vs. those read “biographies” of …. great men).

Yet this myth of the Great Man is alive and well today, and actively rotting away the foundations of our democracy, our economy, and actively sabotaging any rational attempts at planning for the future of humankind. But I guess it is helping to build our new “Republic,” our Grand Republic of privileged (mostly) white, (mostly) male Great Leaders. Huzzah!

______________________________________

* The name “Wars of the Roses” is an anachronism, as the English for hundreds of years called them simply the “civil wars.” The name “Wars of the Roses” didn’t gain use until the 1800’s, after Sir Walter Scott popularized the name in a novel (based on a pretty cool garden scene, Act 2, Sc. 4, in Shakespeare’s H6p2, which itself was written more than a 100 years after those civil wars). But you can easily prove me wrong by finding the phrase being actively used and understood by any populace anywhere before 1829. Please, go ahead.

Not that the white and red roses weren’t significant, but the truth is H7 magnified their significance in choosing his emblem of “reconciliation,” a combo of the red and white roses, as the Yorkist and Lancastrian forces had a number of symbols, emblems, and sigils over the course of those civil wars, and roses never figured highly among them (particularly as identifiers of own’s forces in battle).

H7’s, the Tudor rose of reconciliation, with Yorkist red somewhat more dominant even though H7 was a Lancastrian (a politically astute choice):

The White Rose of Lancaster (not so important as a visual representation of Lancastrian forces, particularly in battle, before the reconciliation):

The Red Rose of York (never so important as a visual representation of Lancastrian forces, particularly in battle, before the reconciliation):