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From Filippo Marinetti to Elon Musk
PRESENTED BY A THIRSTY TURTLE AND A CEDAR WAXWING
No-longer-the-richest-man-on-Earth Elon Musk spent the weekend stage-managing the QAnon-ification of Twitter, directing attacks against former Twitter Trust & Safety chief Yoel Roth that accused him of being a pedophile. Roth has since left his home because of violent threats. Amid other amplification of contemporary far-right conspiracy theories and tropes, Musk also mocked non-binary pronouns and called for the prosecution of Dr. Anthony Fauci.1 To be clear, Musk’s actions as the owner of Twitter are in line with his professed politics of recent years. Musk questioned the risk of COVID from the start of the pandemic, instead warning of a “mind virus” in 2020, which by 2021 he combined with his attacks on “woketopia” to attack a “woke mind virus,” evoking Nazi characterizations of Jews as vermin.
Some people have wondered why a man famed for his optimistic technofuturism—with a fortune built on companies building electric vehicles, rocket ships, solar panels, and neurotechnology—is now embracing a conspiratorial, far-right politics. Or even, how could Musk have these seemingly incompatible politics simultaneously?
The easily befuddled Jeremy W. Peters wrote for the New York Times that Musk “continues to defy easy political categorization” and seems “motivated by personal pique, not political philosophy.”
Similarly at sea, Liz Lopatto, author of the This Week in Elon column, argues, “I don’t think he really has political beliefs, only personal interests.”
It is as if they do not understand that politics is the struggle for power.
In fact, as I learned from White Skin, Black Fuel: On the Danger of Fossil Fascism by Andreas Malm and the Zetkin Collective, fascism and technofuturism are not at all incompatible. To be more precise, in pre-war Italy, Benito Mussolini’s Fascism was preceded by and builds upon Filippo Marinetti’s Futurism. The Futurist Manifesto, written by Marinetti in 1908, begins:
We intend to glorify the love of danger, the custom of energy, the strength of daring.
The essential elements of our poetry will be courage, audacity and revolt.
Literature having up to now glorified thoughtful immobility, ecstasy and slumber, we wish to exalt the aggressive movement, the feverish insomnia, running, the perilous leap, the cuff and the blow.
We declare that the splendour of the world has been enriched with a new form of beauty, the beauty of speed. A race-automobile adorned with great pipes like serpents with explosive breath... a race-automobile which seems to rush over exploding powder is more beautiful than the Victory of Samothrace.
We will sing the praises of man holding the fly-wheel of which the ideal steering-post traverses the earth impelled itself around the circuit of its own orbit.
The poet must spend himself with warmth brilliancy and prodigality to augment the fervour of the primordial elements.
There is no more beauty except in struggle. No master-piece without the stamp of aggressiveness. Poetry should be a violent assault against unknown forces to summon them to lie down at the feet of man.
We are on the extreme promontory of ages! Why look back since we must break down the mysterious doors of Impossibility? Time and Space died yesterday. We already live in the Absolute for we have already created the omnipresent eternal speed.
We will glorify war — the only true hygiene of the world — militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of anarchist, the beautiful Ideas which kill, and the scorn of woman.
We will destroy museums, libraries and fight against moralism, feminism and all utilitarian cowardice.
We will sing the great masses agitated by work pleasure or revolt; we will sing the multicoloured and polyphonic surf of revolutions in modern capitals; the nocturnal vibration of arsenals and docks beneath their glaring electric moons; greedy stations devouring smoking serpents; factories hanging from the clouds by the threads of their smoke; bridges like giants gymnasts stepping over sunny rivers sparkling like diabolical cutlery; adventurous steamers scenting the horizon; large breasted locomotives bridled with long tubes, and the slippery flight of aeroplanes whose propeller has flag-like flutterings and applauses of enthusiastic crowds.
Ten years later, Marinetti co-authored the Fascist Manifesto for Mussolini. The first act of the Fasci di Combattimento was to raid the offices of the socialist publication Aventi! and set them on fire, as Musk himself is doing with a bit more restraint to Twitter.
From White Skin, Black Fuel, Martinetti’s writings reveal “a sort of DNA code of Fascism”: “anti-Marxism, anti-feminism, racism, imperialism, the preoccupation with fertility, the promotion of inequality, accolades to violence and a giddy myth of palingenesis.” All this was bound to Martinetti’s sense of virility via the machine, the key Muskian trait.
So yeah, now is a good time to leave Twitter.
This morning, the House Financial Services Committee investigated the FTX collapse, one day after purported effective altruist Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested by Bahamas police and the Securities Exchange Commission charged SBF with criminal fraud.
In less entertaining but arguably more important work, Interior Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau testified before Senate Energy on the implementation of the Infrastructure Law; and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) chaired a hearing on modernizing international development assistance.
A monstrous, fossil-fueled storm is sweeping across the country, bringing blizzards to the north and tornadoes to the south. “This is a ‘we are not kidding’ kind of storm,” warned the South Dakota Department of Public Safety.
The uncertainty of the cloud-global-warming feedback loop is clearing up, but the results are not good.
On Monday, the Biden administration on Monday announced a loan of $2.5 billion to Ultium Cells to help manufacture electric vehicle batteries in Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee; workers at the Ohio plant recently voted to unionize and the rest are expected to follow suit.
Florida lawmakers are meeting in a special session to try to save the state’s property insurance system with another $1 billion fund to shore up the hurricane-battered market. But the seas continue to rise and the storms continue to grow.
The Amazon and Congo rainforests are facing massive threats from oil and gas expansion, a new Earth Insight report warns. “An immediate end to oil and gas expansion and a moratorium on industrial activity in primary and priority forests and ecosystems is essential.”
Welcome to Firmageddon.
Rusty Foster, in his post explaining why it’s time to leave Twitter, claims Jimmy John’s is the funniest sandwich franchise. But regard:
MOOYAH Hungry Howie’s Which Wich Roly Poly Sandwiches
Teriyaki Madness Erbert & Gerbert’s Mr. Goodcents Mr. Pita
Mr. Pickle Ms. Cheevious Steak Escape Boomarang
Maine-ly Sandwiches Thirsty Turtle The Rusty Dog
Quaker Steak and Lube
Hearings on the Hill:
10 AM: Senate Energy and Natural Resources
The Department Of The Interior’s Implementation Of The Infrastructure Investment And Jobs Act
2 PM: House Foreign Affairs
International Development, International Organizations and Global Corporate Social Impact
Modernizing International Development Assistance: Opportunities and Challenges