Elon Musk cemented his status as an American folk hero Wednesday when he said what we’ve all been thinking live on stage.
“Go fuck yourself,” he told Disney’s Bob Iger, as well as every corporate player involved in the effort to destroy Twitter through advertising boycotts.
The Daily Caller’s Mary Rooke argued to our Patriots subscribers that with this comment, Musk showed he has what it takes to become America’s free speech savior — that the only way to stand up to a bully is to let them know you’ll go down in flames as long as it means resisting their tyranny. But to this observer, it seems more like Musk is looking to cut off his nose to spite his face. (RELATED: In Three Words, Elon Musk Showed How To Dismantle The Deep State)
Musk was speaking at The New York Times’ DealBook/Summit with CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin when the host decided to grill him about Twitter’s latest advertising impasse. After a dubious Media Matters report alleged Twitter placed ads for Apple, IBM, Lionsgate, Paramount Global, Sony, and Warner Bros. Discovery alongside antisemitic content, the companies all pulled their advertising from the platform. A visibly annoyed Musk — who already filed a defamation suit against Media Matters over the report — didn’t mince words in his response to Sorkin. (RELATED: ‘Go F*ck Yourself’: Elon Musk Goes Scorched Earth On Ad Boycott)
.@elonmusk to corporations pulling ads from X:
“Don’t advertise. If someone is going to try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go fuck yourself. Go fuck yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is.” pic.twitter.com/GuhIHWjei9
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) November 29, 2023
“Don’t advertise … If somebody is gonna try to blackmail me with advertising, blackmail me with money, go fuck yourself. Go fuck yourself. Is that clear? I hope it is,” Musk said, to a silent audience.
“What this advertising boycott is gonna do, it’s gonna kill the company,” he continued, “and the whole world will know that those advertisers killed the company and we will document it in great detail.”
When Sorkin countered that the companies will accuse him of destroying Twitter by saying “inappropriate things,” Musk responded with, “Let’s see how Earth responds to that.” The implication seems to be that all of humanity will side with him once they see these tyrannical corporate activists for what they really are.
If you know me, you know I’m committed to truth and fairness. Here’s the truth. Not a single authentic user on X saw IBM’s, Comcast’s, or Oracle’s ads next to the content in Media Matters’ article. Only 2 users saw Apple’s ad next to the content, at least one of which was Media…
— Linda Yaccarino (@lindayaX) November 20, 2023
There’s two ways to look at this. On the one hand Musk could, as Mary argues, be implying that he doesn’t need advertisers – not really. He doesn’t care about Twitter being profitable because he has larger, civilizational concerns in mind. He is willing to take the hit financially in the short term because he has bigger and better plans for Twitter in the long-run. “Go fuck yourself,” is the language of someone so self-assured in his abilities that he will continue the good fight in other ways no matter what anyone throws at him– and shift “Earth’s” opinion back toward sanity.
What say you, big brands? https://t.co/GKEzn1fqQb
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2023
In an alternate, and what I consider a more likely view, Musk’s retort reflects an inability to read the room — and by extension the broader culture. The unfortunate reality is people attending a New York Times conference — listening uncomfortably to what they perceive as an unhinged rant — make up the arbiters of opinion as it gets diluted to the masses through popular culture. Largely complacent through COVID authoritarianism, rolling Marxist race riots, and an increasingly weaponized justice system, it would be naive to assume that the silent majority will finally rise up in response to Twitter’s implosion. It will not cause the tide to turn back from tyranny to a new age of liberty. Another great shrug is much more likely, as we become even less free.
In a perfect world, three simple words could, in fact, “dismantle the deep state,” but it will not be that easy. The great value of Musk’s Twitter is that it cuts through the bottleneck stringently enforced by every other social media platform. He gives the silent majority an outlet to publicly exist — to organize, debate, expose lies, and shape public opinion. He is laying the foundation for a bigger, bolder, and more united coalition of normal people to emerge and organize against the censorious powers-that-be. That will take time, and likely will never coalesce around one single event. But such a movement can only keep progressing as long as Twitter continues to exist.
Today @elonmusk gave a wide ranging and candid interview at @dealbook 2023. He also offered an apology, an explanation and an explicit point of view about our position. X is enabling an information independence that’s uncomfortable for some people. We’re a platform that allows… https://t.co/PSmSKRkJSq
— Linda Yaccarino (@lindayaX) November 30, 2023
“Go fuck yourself” is cathartic, but it’s no grand strategy for winning a culture war. He can and should do everything in his power to fight back against activist boycotts, as he appears to be doing with the suit against Media Matters. Although the shift away from the advertising revenue model is risky, if anyone can find innovative new ways to monetize Twitter, it’s Musk. But absent a powerful new revenue stream, the fact remains that in this game of chicken, the deep state will win. He cannot simply let Twitter go under just to prove a point. (RELATED: X CEO Backs Elon Musk In Internal Memo After He Tells Boycotting Advertisers To ‘F**k’ Off)
Elon Musk Promises ‘Thermonuclear Lawsuit’ Against Media Matters Amid Advertiser Exodus On X https://t.co/gUOKaRceaU
— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) November 18, 2023
There’s a romantic notion to Musk’s position — “untergehen” as Nietzsche called it — a willingness “to go under” for something bigger. A great man is someone who will sacrifice himself in an attempt to advance humanity, for a project that will continue to grow and develop even after his own demise. Risking his fortune, reputation, and legacy to purchase Twitter and restore the core liberty of Western civilization, Musk certainly exemplified this character. But if advertisers succeed in killing Twitter, it won’t just be Musk who goes under — it’ll be all of us.