Thoughts & Essays

Clearly, the only logical answer here is that Elon Musk is a goddamn supervillain.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk. Photo Copyright 2010 The Henry Ford, via OnInnovation. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Ed Note: This was originally written Oct. 16, 2015, and I’m reposting it now because Musk’s back in the news being weird again.

Elon Musk is practically a walking myth. He’s wildly successful, massively rich, and reasonably good looking, which means he’s three for three on the list of things Americans love to lionize. He founded a bunch of companies we all think are awesome, like Tesla, PayPal and Spacex. He wants to build the Hyperloop, a big high-speed transport train like Japan has, only more amazing because it’s in America. Everybody loves Elon Musk.

Except the Reno Gazette Journal, apparently.

The Tesla Gigafactory is a frickin’ huge Tesla battery factory being built in Nevada. They expect to open the doors in 2016 or 2017. In the meantime, the massive, half-finished, skull-shaped industrial monstrosity looms ominously over the Nevada desert.

Okay, okay. It’s not skull-shaped. Elon’s smart; he knows that would be too obvious. And it’s kind of flat, actually, so it doesn’t really loom. Also, it’s pretty close to Reno, so it’s not exactly hiding in the middle of a desert wasteland. And I don’t know how close to finished it is. Plus it’ll probably be pretty green for a factory, knowing Musk and Tesla, so “industrial monstrosity” doesn’t fit, either.

So, basically, it’s a big factory. Near Reno. Expected to provide a crapton of jobs and economic benefit when it finally gets rolling.

Tesla Gigafactory, Sparks, Nevada
Tesla Gigafactory, Sparks, Nevada on August 8, 2017 (Source, licensing, photographer.)

The Tesla Gigafactory does have one big problem, though – trespassing. The Reno Gazette Journal loves trying to break into this place.

Apparently trespassing at the Gigafactory is a common event and RGJ journalists try to enter the facility repeatedly.

In this particular incident, two of the Reno Gazette Journal’s plucky reporters attempted to break in, got caught trespassing by a couple of Tesla employees, and ran them both down while fleeing the scene.

The two trespassers entered the Gigafactory by climbing through a boundary fence that has “private property” signs clearly visible. They refused to share their identities when approached by a Tesla employee, however, both were wearing Reno Gazette Journal ID badges and turned out to be journalists. They denied trespassing.

A second Tesla employee, this time a safety manager, also approached the journalists and asked them to wait as the Sheriff’s Department had been called. They decided to disregard this request and headed back to the Jeep they had arrived in. The Tesla employees followed. As one was trying to note down the license plate the driver reversed into him. The second employee approached the Jeep as it started to drive away, with the driver deciding to accelerate and hit him.

And all I can say to this is what. the. actual. fuck.

I mean, but no, seriously. What the shit. It’s been three days since I read this story, and my gast is still flabbered. Okay, so, you’ve got a newspaper, which, as far as I can tell is a reputable newspaper full of, one assumes, reasonable journalists. But they’ve got this massive hard on over the Gigafactory, so they keep breaking in to get a look at the place.


What do they know that we don’t?

Assuming everyone there is, indeed, rational – and I can’t find a reason to think that isn’t the case – why do they keep trying to break in? What do they think they’re going to find?

Pic unrelated. We hope.

I’ve spent three days dwelling on this, and I keep returning to the fact that the two reporters ran over the two Tesla employees. The two reporters got caught, fled to their car, and tore ass outta there, backing into one employee and driving straight into the other one like some kind of goddamn action movie scene.

This is what you do when you’re in terror for your life, not trying to get out of an apparently common trespassing charge.

And if you check the Tesla blog’s report of the incident, it’s even worse. Not only did they run down two employees, they drove into one of the employees’ ATVs, too.

I would not be surprised to see Tesla increase its security and provide safety managers with some way to defend themselves as well as detain trespassers in future. Would a tazer be legal? It’s also unclear exactly why the Gigafactory is worth breaking into. All these journalists will see is a massive battery manufacturing facility.

“All these journalists will see is a massive battery manufacturing facility.” Right? Right?

Obviously there must be more to this story. Reputable, employed journalists don’t just go on B&E sprees for no reason. What do they think they’re going to find? Pod people? Extra-dimensional portals? Non-Euclidean horrors from beyond space and time? Sharks with frickin’ lasers on their heads? What?

Conversely, the fuck is going on at that newspaper? Is it run by Alex Jones? Is J. Jonah Jameson cackling manically in the editor’s office demanding more pictures of his nemesis, the Gigafactory?

Here’s the Reno Gazette Journal’s coverage of the Gigafactory, and it all looks pretty sane and rational. Here’s their version of the trespassing incident, which is also pretty bland and normal. This does not look like the ravings of a conspiracy nut, is what I’m getting at, here.

So, what? What the hell? Something’s clearly going on somewhere. Is the newspaper in evil Elon Musk’s pocket, and these two intrepid reporters are bucking the establishment, determined to get the truth out about the gigantic weather controlling machine inside that too-innocent factory, that Musk plans to use to blackmail billions out of the world governments? Is Elon Musk, even now, sitting at a massive desk carved from the entire bottom of an ancient sequoia in an office the size of two football fields, cackling as he rubs his hands together and drinking from the skulls of his enemies?

Are these two reporters just nuts? (I mean, probably, but that’s no fun.) Or is that just what Musk wants us to think?

Look at this story, people. We’ve got a popular billionaire, an apparently-mysterious megafactory, an establishment – the state, granting all kinds of tax breaks and a newspaper obviously covering up a juicy story – firmly in cahoots with the entirely too innocent billionaire and his entirely too innocent megafactory.

The only thing this story is lacking is a superhero, guys.

You know what this means, right? Right now, at this very second, somewhere in Nevada, there is a superhero origin story playing out. Or possibly there’s a group of four younger teens, one big but not too bright guy, one girl who’s big into first aid, one sneaky kid, and one kid into the mystic arts, gathering because someone’s parent has gone missing at the evil factory, who are about to embark on a quest.

Just a heads up – Musk’s probably got three forms, and the third one is the biggest and baddest. Also, he probably knows a really nasty spell called Ultima.

This is clearly the only logical explanation of these events.