Space cadet Elon Musk and British pop intellectual Russell Brand, like former US president Donald Trump, don’t trust “establishment media”.
All three, circumventing accepted norms, standards, legal checks, balances, facts and sometimes rational thought entirely, communicate directly with supporters and disciples from private, unregulated media platforms while generating fat incomes.
Musk is considered one of the most influential human beings on Planet Earth, Mars and outer space with his little fingers on all sorts of important and influential buttons.
This week YouTube suspended ad revenue from Brand’s personal princedom with its 6.63 million subscribers after Channel 4’s Dispatches and the London Sunday Times raised allegations of sexual assault, rape and emotional abuse by the popular comedian between 2006 and 2013.
Brand has an additional 11.2 million followers on X and has opened up more internet windows to let out the demons in his head on other, newer social media platforms like Rumble and TikTok.
The priapic Brand has never hidden his enslavement to personal sexual gratification and in fact has made a hugely successful and lucrative career out of it as an icon of Brit “bad boy” comedy in the 2000s.
Openly misogynistic and vapid
Brand’s routines back then were openly misogynist and vapid, but audiences killed themselves laughing at the cuttingly articulate comedian. Only humourless feminists and hairy-armpit lesbians spoiled the fun with their complaining.
It was in fact Channel 4 and the BBC, as well as the selfsame Sunday Times, which provided the young upstart Brand and his dick with a leg-up in the country’s established media.
Satirical US magazine The Onion responded to the excavation of long-known Brand abuse charges this week with the headline, “Nation Could Have Sworn Russell Brand Was Already Convicted Sex Offender”.
With politics gloomy, British media – from left to right on the political spectrum – live and breathe for sex scandals and peculiar perversion.
If it is not Sir Jimmy Saville forcing himself on more than 400 children and young and old women alike, then it is Brand or Boris Johnson or Prince Andrew. The BBC and ITV have had their own manufactured “sexgates”, with anchors Phillip Schofield and Huw Edwards in the spotlight a while ago.
Brand denied the allegations and said he had not hidden his years as a sex addict and, in fact, lived them out in full public view. He alleged a conspiracy by “mainstream” media to silence him.
“They want to control these spaces and my voice,” Brand complained.
While Trump might know how to grab pussy like Brand, the former leader of the free world clearly has little understanding of human biology or pregnancy and birth.
Earlier, Trump repeatedly told NBC’s Meet the Press interviewer Kristen Welker that Democrats were proposing “abortion even after birth”.
“The radical people on this are really the Democrats that say after five months, six months, seven months, eight months, nine months, and even after birth, you are allowed to terminate the baby,” the self-proclaimed stable genius said.
Trump confidently repeated the untruth that former Virginia governor Ralph Northam had said “after the baby is born, you will make a determination, and if you want, you will kill that baby”.
The NBC interview was Trump’s first with mainstream media in a while. Since his attempted coup and entanglements with the law, Trump has had to find his own megaphones and his YouTube channel has 2.77 million subscribers. Musk has let him back on X, where Trump has 83 million followers.
It was Trump’s moment to show up “fake media” by appearing on such a “fake media” platform to bring us the truth about abortion. He did not disappoint.
Respected US biographer Walter Isaacson has just published a 670-page biography on homeboy Musk. In there it is revealed that life was bleak and kak, what with the Pretoria school bullies, his sociopath father and even the family dog that went for the poor kid.
“The Musk family kept German Shepherd dogs that were trained to attack anyone running by the house. When he was six, Elon was racing down the driveway and his favourite dog attacked him, taking a massive bite out of his back,” writes Isaacson.
Demons and darkness
For “anyone running by the house”, insert black people in apartheid South Africa.
In the emergency room, writes Isaacson, little Musk pleaded with “them” not to punish the dog.
“In recounting the story, Musk pauses and stares vacantly for a very long time. ‘Then they damn well shot the dog dead’.”
What Musk and Brand share, according to Isaacson and the four women accusing the comedian, is being overcome by “demons” – when their countenances change and their eyes, those windows to the soul, “go black”. Psychotic breaks, in other words.
When patriarchy wounds, it wounds deeply and the scars it leaves turn some little boys into morally misshapen men like Musk, Brand and Trump.
Brand never knew his father, who disappeared when he was six months old, while Musk’s father Errol, a rightwing conspiracist, subjected his son to hours of abuse and insane shouting. Trump idolises his Ku Klux Klan-loving father Fred Trump Sr, who was arrested at a KKK parade in 1927.
Jill Lapore, reviewing Isaacson’s book in The New Yorker, opined that at the core of Musk (and Brand and Trump, it is clear) lies a penchant for cruelty.
Cruelty, as political philosopher Judith Sklar noted, transgresses religious and political boundaries. She warns, however, that “the habits of the faithful do not differ from those of the faithless in brutalities”.
Trump, Musk and Brand should stick to what they do best: shady real estate deals, science, technology, space travel and comedy (if you find him funny). They are far too unstable to be trusted with the power and ethical demands of media.
These men have global reach and influence, amplified in echo chambers swirling with conspiracy theories and fantasy. Trust them at your peril. DM
This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.