Is Elon Musk going to turn into the same sort of joke that Trump has become? | Arwa Mahdawi

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Was 2022 the year the Musk myth died?

I hate it when I have to do this but here goes: I was wrong. I was very, very wrong. Back in October, when Elon Musk’s $44bn acquisition of Twitter was finalized, I predicted that the social network would become a lot nastier but ultimately keep chugging along. I assumed Musk had a couple of brain cells and a little self-restraint; I assumed he wasn’t going to drive away Twitter’s advertisers by making erratic business decisions; I assumed he was going to be at least somewhat sensible. After all, he did have $44bn on the line.

I assumed wrong. Watching Musk run Twitter over the last couple of months has been like watching a toddler trying to drive a train – “chaotic” doesn’t even begin to cover it. He’s fired half his staff; realized that some of the staff he fired were actually pretty important or were laid off by mistake and been forced to try and lure them back; told everyone the entire company might go bankrupt; made important business decisions via Twitter polls; suspended reporters who aren’t sufficiently deferential to him and then un-suspended them after backlash; spread conspiracy theories and misinformation; lost 50 of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers. The turmoil at Twitter has even spread to Tesla, cratering its stock price – and Musk’s net worth.

Could anyone really be this incompetent? Musk’s leadership has been so bizarre that it has even given rise to theories that the billionaire is intentionally trying to sabotage Twitter. These theories remind me of the early days of Donald Trump’s presidency when some people assumed that the president of the US couldn’t possibly be so inept; there must be some kind of method behind Trump’s madness. Turns out, no. Trump wasn’t playing “four-dimensional chess”; there was no method just madness.

Is Musk going to turn into the same sort of laughing stock that Trump has become? It’s starting to look that way. Which would be quite the character arc. Musk’s biggest life achievement, after all, isn’t building spaceships or electric cars, it’s building his brand. He’s managed to position himself as a brilliant visionary who has devoted his life to saving human civilization. There is very little evidence to support this image when you look deeper but that hasn’t stopped an enormous number of people (mainly men) from buying into Musk’s bullshit. Even Bill Gates once gushed that “we need a lot of Elon Musks” in order to save the world. It seems he may have changed his mind on that lately; Gates recently described Musk’s management style at Twitter as “seat-of-the-pants type activity.”

. However you’ve got to wonder how much longer they can keep drinking the Kool Aid. It’s getting a lot harder, for example, for Musk to keep pretending that he is a champion of free speech when he’s suspended numerous journalists he doesn’t like. It’s getting harder for him to cling to his credibility when his companies are hemorrhaging money. It’s getting harder for him to portray himself as an important CEO of multiple companies when he appears to spend every waking hour tweeting about pronouns and running Twitter polls. Musk has promised us all he will resign as Twitter CEO soon but he’s going to need to do a lot more than just step down for his reputation to recover from this damage. It may have taken $44bn, but it seems like the myth of Musk might finally be cracking.

Taliban minister defends closing universities to women as global backlash grows

The Taliban closed universities to women on Wednesday “until further notice.” Not because they’re vile misogynists who want to erase women from public life, they informed everyone, but because allowing women to learn is a moral emergency. Acting higher education minister Neda Mohammad Nadeem explained that some women were apparently “studying agriculture and engineering.” Yikes! Can’t be having that can we? The university ban is just the latest assault on women’s right to learn in Afghanistan; the Taliban have already banned girls from school. “The rest of the world cannot now stay silent in the illusory hope that these bans are temporary,” Gordon Brown writes in the Guardian. “It is time to take the Taliban on – and it is the Muslim nations across the world that follow Islamic law to uphold the education of women and girls, and believe it central to Islamic teaching, that are in the best position to lead the charge.”

Leonardo DiCaprio is ‘not dating’ a 23-year-old, sources say

It has been widely observed that 48-year-old Leonardo DiCaprio appears to be incapable of dating anyone over the age of 25. (Which, as we all know, is the age at which women transform from fertile young nymphs to terrifying trolls.) In recent days there has been speculation that Leo’s Law has a new data-point and the actor is dating 23-year-old Victoria Lamas. Hollywood Insiders have now weighed in and refuted the rumours. Stay tuned for more on this very important story.

Since Roe v Wade was overturned more US men are getting vasectomies

“[M]any men have realized that they perhaps have been absent in contraception, particularly in contraceptive decisions,” one doctor who has seen vasectomy appointments surge told NPR.

Is ‘affordance theory’ really the reason that men don’t do their fair share of chores?

Philosophers have come up with the most complicated explanation possible for why women still seem to do most of the cleaning.

The week in paw-triarchy

Two women in Alabama were given suspended jail sentences last week because they fed stray cats. America, let me remind you, is the land of free. But freedom has its limits apparently.

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