The Elonphant and the Snake
A visit from the Little Prince
Scientists have now found all of the molecules that make up DNA and RNA in samples of meteorites, which means that the building blocks of life could have arrived here from space. To put that in the form of claymation:
Another life form that arrived from space is Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince, who just came up to me and said “This is my Drawing Number One. Does it frighten you?” and showed me this:
”Why should anyone be frightened by a hat?” I said. “It’s not a hat!” he exclaimed. “Let me draw the inside so you can see it clearly.” Then he showed me his second drawing:
“Obviously it is The Discourse trying to digest the news that Elon Musk is going to buy Twitter. Ugh, grown-ups are such dumbasses.” Then he told me that I must go visit every planet and bring back whatever Discourse they have there.
Alone on a tiny asteroid, Robin Sloan crafted artisanal bullet points. “His substantial success launching reusable spaceships does nothing to prepare him for the challenge of building social spaces,” I could hear him mumble. “The latter calls on every liberal art at once, while the former is just rocket science… Twitter’s only conclusion can be abandonment.” What a bummer! Probably true though. I left him to it.
The next planet I visited was Planet Chotiner, where two serious men sat and discussed nonsense very seriously. “Deep analysis: He likes money,” said Chotiner. “You could say I’m wrong,” replied Matt Levine. “He might have some interesting plan, but I haven’t heard it yet.”
I swung by a comet where a lawyer was reading the merger agreement out loud. The lawyer’s comet was too small for me to land but as I flew by he called out:
Then I arrived at a very large planet called “Planet Consequences.” The first people I met were Bloomberg’s Thyagaraju Adinarayan and Esha Dey, standing at the bottom of a deep pit. “Why are you down in that pit?” I asked them. “We’re looking for Tesla’s stock value,” they yelled up. I could barely hear them because the pit was so deep. “$126 billion of Tesla market cap was lost down here in just one day!” I shook my head and walked away, ignoring their increasingly faint cries for help.
Suddenly I was almost trampled by a giant herd of 30,000 new Mastodon riders. “Agh!” they screamed, “How does this work? Where am I? Where is everyone else? Oh my god this sucks!” I dodged out of their way, relieved I wasn’t swept up in that chaos.
I came to a building full of people who were all tied to their desks with fine golden threads, like precious spiderwebs. They were all desperate to leave, according to Sissi Cao in The Observer, and the golden threads tying them down were so flimsy, they could easily be broken. But no one knew if the threads were valuable, or if so, how valuable they might be. So they all sat at their desks and chattered on the phone all day, talking to recruiters and Insider’s Kali Hays. “Not yet,” they all said, “maybe soon though. But not yet. But maybe soon…” I felt sad, because they all seemed like they’d be much happier down in the Tesla stock value pit.
The last planet I visited was the planet of Takes. There I found three men with Opinions.
“Musk will not implement any significant changes,” said the first man, who was Max Read, “and in fact will strive to keep Twitter the same level of bad, and in the same kinds of ways, as it always has been, because, to Musk, Twitter is not actually bad at all.”
“So how could a new owner of Twitter make it more relevant in the world and finally make it profitable and sustainable as a business?” asked the second, Siva Vaidhyanathan. “None of Musk’s plans seem to address these two failures.” There were a lot of other people around this man but they were all saying basically the same thing so I continued on to the third.
The third man was Vice’s Edward Ongweso Jr, who told me that billionaires already own all of the media and platforms:
“The world's richest man will soon own Twitter. The second-richest man (Jeff Bezos) owns the Washington Post. The third-richest man (Bernard Arnault) owns French publisher Lagardère Group, which owns a host of major news media organizations in Europe. Two of the 10 richest men (Larry Page and Sergey Brin) own Google. Mark Zuckerberg, one of the richest 20 men in the world, owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. If you are looking for another rich übermensch to save you, I’ve got bad news,” he said in a single breath. I admired his stamina but I didn’t stay to hear the bad news. I’d already heard quite enough.
I left the planet of Takes and returned home to tell the Little Prince all that I had learned. “Wow,” he said, “You do this every day, huh? Yikes!” Then he glanced down and for the first time I noticed the venomous snake at his feet.
“Aight Imma head out!” said the Little Prince, and kicked the snake.
“Dude?” said the snake.
The Little Prince kicked it again, harder.
“Listen if you can’t be cool I’m gonna go chill over there instead,” the snake hissed.
Then the Little Prince picked up the snake and ate it, and died.
Today in Crabs:
Today’s Song: Hans Zimmer, avec Camille, “Suis-moi”
~ But if you tab me, then we shall need each other. ~
Hey you should all be subscribed to Tom Scocca’s superb INDIGNITY, which is something I also thought before he called me “affable” yesterday. Much like Tabs it’s difficult to say what it’s “about” but it’s good reading and you will probably like it. I hope you enjoyed today’s extended voice exercise, and I hope this just about does it for Elon/Twitter discourse. Thanks yet again to Tabs Senior Managing Editor for Graphics Alison Headley for the Elonphant, and congrats on her promotion from Senior Contributing Editor for Graphics. Until tomorrow, catch me outside looking at bugs.