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10 absurd quotes from Elon Musk’s softball CNBC interview

The terminally online tech CEO’s public decline continues.

A person's face with graphic design elements is artfully displayed on a cnbc i̇k background.
Image: KnowTechie

On May 16, 2023, following Tesla’s latest shareholder meeting, Elon Musk sat down with CNBC‘s David Faber for an exclusive interview that was simulcast as a Twitter Space.

The automaker’s CEO was grilled with a barrage of incisive questions that would’ve made David Frost proud. Just kidding, the NBC Universal-owned cable news network sent its friendliest Musk stan to do the duties.

Musk claims that he only interviewed at the behest of his friend Ari Emmanuel, the CEO of Endeavor Entertainment.

Endeavor Entertainment recently purchased UFC and will soon complete a deal to merge it with WWE.

It is, of course, worth mentioning that the soon-to-be former X/Twitter CEO named Linda Yaccarino as his successor.

Yaccarino most recently worked at NBC Universal as the chair of global advertising and partnerships.

Let me be clear that I am not accusing Yaccarino of colluding with the CNBC editorial team to give a softball interview that would soften her landing at Twitter. But let’s be honest; the conspiracy chart wouldn’t need that much red string.

But that speculation is immaterial to the content of the interview, which is, to quote Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred after plunging a toilet, “batshit.”

Weird stuff a very rich man said on cable TV

I’ll save you the psychic damage of listening to or reading the conversation that covers everything from the Allen, TX outlet mall mass shooting to George Soros with straight-up white nationalist talking points strewn along the way.

Here, in no particular order, are the most absurd things Elon said to David Faber on CNBC.

On advertising (part 1: Tesla)

Well, I mean, I believe in listening to shareholders and I actually was surprised by the level of enthusiasm for advertising. […] I think they probably have a good point. Well, I mean, I think it’s worth a try and we’ll see how effective it is.

What this likely means: Shareholders are desperate for Elon to right the ship and make Tesla into the revolutionary tech company Musk promised over a decade ago.

He mentions in the interview that the shareholders he spoke to believe he’s operating in something of an echo chamber, or as he says, “preaching to the converted.”

On advertising (part 2: Twitter)

We’ve lost some advertisers on Twitter because Community Notes applies to advertising too. If somebody advertises something that is perhaps a bit inaccurate, then it gets Community Noted, and then they get mad and stop advertising. But we care enough about the truth that we’re willing to give up advertiser give up advertising dollars.

What this likely means: Despite Musk’s claims that Twitter is now operating at break-even, as of March, over half of Twitter’s top advertisers have not returned to the platform.

The best bet here is that he is really, genuinely hoping that Yaccarino’s expertise and connections will get marketers excited about jumping back into the Twitterverse.

Who can blame him? Thanks to Community Notes, I knew better than to buy this Teflon grill bag that allegedly releases toxic materials.

On Tesla’s safety record

Teslas are also the safest cars on the road in so many ways that people actually at Tesla don’t even know.

What this likely means: Elon is well aware of Tesla’s reputation among non-believers.

He goes on to describe a few safety features like firmware updates and overheat protection, but it’s unclear why he thinks that even his own employees at Tesla wouldn’t know about these features.

On how your Tesla can work for you

The value of a fully autonomous car is, we think, perhaps five times more valuable than a non-autonomous car. 

What this likely means: In response to Faber’s follow-up, Musk explains that he thinks FSD Tesla owners will, uh… allow their cars to freely roam the city while they work — picking up rideshare fares and the like.

I don’t know; I don’t even like the idea of having friends get into my car.

Say there’s 168 hours in a week, and probably as a rough guess, an autonomous car will be able to be active instead of for 10 hours a week, probably in our view for about 50. But it’s the same car and it costs the same to build.

On how it felt to take over Twitter

I’d say that the analogy I was using was like being teleported into a plane that’s in a nosedive, headed to the ground with the engines on fire and the controls don’t work. 

What this likely means: As we outlined in our comprehensive timeline of Musk’s Twitter takeover, it’s pretty clear Elon didn’t want to do it. He saddled himself with a bunch of debt because his ex-wife was mad that The Babylon Bee got banned.

It is, of course, worth noting that the company wasn’t “four months from bankruptcy” under its previous ownership.

On how he manages his time running so many companies

Time triage is a real thing. Yeah. In fact, I say the only real currency is time. Time is the only true currency.

What this likely means: We all know that Elon Musk is a big advocate for new and innovative types of currency. Since he is no longer the richest man in the world, he has decided to be bullish on the ancient concept of “time.”

On working from home

I kind of think that the whole notion of work from home is a bit like the fake Marie Antoinette quote, “let them eat cake.” 

What this likely means: I’m just gonna guess that he thinks Marie Antoinette is the hero of said apocryphal anecdote who shared all her delicious cake with the lazy French folk she ruled over.

He goes in later in this reply to describe the kinds of jobs that can’t work from home and wraps it up by saying it’s a “moral issue.”

On why he always gets six hours of sleep a night

I tried less. But my productivity, even though I am awake more hours, I get less done. The brain pain level is bad if I get less than six hours.

What this likely means: Honestly, I only pulled this one because I want to get “brain pain level” into the lexicon. Mine is currently at a seven out of ten.

On George Soros

I said he reminds me of Magneto. This is like, you know, calm down people. Let’s not like make a metaphorical case out of it.  

What this likely means: In advance of Tesla’s quarterly meeting, billionaire investor George Soros’ fund dumped its entire holding of $TSLA stock. 130,000 shares worth.

George Soros, a holocaust survivor, has been something of a globalist bogeyman for antisemitic bad-faith actors for a while now. It is, of course, worth noting that the fictional X-Men villain Magneto’s is often portrayed as a holocaust survivor as well.

Even Brian Krassenstein (remember him?) tried to get Elon to retract his Tweets about the subject:

On white supremacy and the Allen, TX mass shooting

I’m saying that I thought ascribing it to white supremacy was bullshit.  

What this likely means: Elon and his sycophants have been banging on with this talking point since the May 6, 2023 mass shooting at an Allen, TX outlet mall.

For some reason, they don’t believe that the assailant, who police have confirmed had literal nazi tattoos, was a white supremacist.

One of their primary justifications for this, and I’m not joking here, seems to be that they think if he was a real white supremacist, he would have a Twitter or Facebook account.

Checkmate, Libs.

What does it all mean?

The interview in full shows a man who is out of his depth. He switches topics freely and David Faber never even makes the slightest attempt to push back on any of the nonsense Musk says.

In fact, when Musk incorrectly accused award-winning investigative journalism outlet Bellingcat a “psy-op,” Faber simply replied “Right.”

It’s clear that Elon Musk is becoming radicalized by the Blue Check army he has recruited. We are likely witnessing one of the first examples of someone being fully echo-chambered out of their own fortune.

Who will be next in line to clothe the mad emperor?

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Roger Feeley-Lussier is a recovering Social Media Expert who lives in Central Massachusetts.

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