Elon Musk has ascended to avatar status

We watched Glass Onion this weekend. It’s good, entertaining, a little bit off-kilter compared to most whodunnits, and expresses a contemporary point of view that’s clearly becoming more common. Most of the cast are playing the true detritus of society — influencers, fashion models, vapid sportsball types, etc. — and most of them aren’t very likeable. They’re spending a weekend at an extravagantly appointed Greek island that a ridiculously rich posturing fool, Miles Bron, had purchased, when, of course, murder occurs, and the brilliant detective Benoit Blanc has to figure out who the killer is. The key to the case is when he realized that he had assumed, like everyone else, that Miles Bron was a complicated genius. After all, he’s very very very rich. But the break in the case comes when he realizes that…Miles Bron is an idiot.

As were most of the people at this party. That’s not really a spoiler, because early on you should realize yourself that most of the likely killers are stupid and superficial.

You’ll probably also instantly recognize Miles Bron as a proxy for Elon Musk. Tech billionaire who clearly doesn’t understand anything? Elon Musk. Elon has become an archetype! Lots of people have noted that resemblance, but it’s not quite true (warning: there are actual spoilers at that link).

It all makes Miles Bron the perfect villain for 2022: a tycoon far dumber than he realizes.

Thanks to recent headlines, for many viewers, Bron’s mixture of bluster, hubris and half-baked ideas will likely bring to mind Twitter owner and part-time car enthusiast Elon Musk. But, as Norton has noted, he and writer-director Rian Johnson based Bron on multiple (unnamed) real-life billionaires and tech figures, not one specific person. The movie’s root conflict — Bron’s ouster of Helen’s sister Cassandra (Monáe) from the company they co-founded based on Cassandra’s idea — evokes Mark Zuckerberg’s battles in building Facebook. His proselytizing for a not-ready-for-prime-time technology — in this case, an unstable hydrogen fuel — recalls Elizabeth Holmes. His wardrobe of T-shirts and necklaces suggests Sam Bankman-Fried and other casually attired entrepreneurs.

Like all these figures, Bron is utterly convinced of his own genius. He speaks passionately of being a “disrupter.” He portrays himself as an innovator, even though he stole his co-founder’s ideas. His island is only accessible via a glass dock that looks impressive, but is only accessible at low tide, with the local police referring to it as a “piece of s—.” He brushes aside warnings that his hydrogen fuel is too unstable — heedlessness that literally blows up in his face.

This is a promising cultural shift, that many people are coming around to the realization, like Benoit Blanc, that billionaires are just greedy, wicked, dumbasses. It’s the one good thing Musk has accomplished.


  1. cheerfulcharlie says

    Speaking of dramas involving narcistic, silly millionaires, Daily Wire (think Ben Shapiro) has acquired rights to Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”. Plans are to create a TV series. Peak bad Sci-Fi for our viewing pleasure. Mind, you, this is just getting the rights. No executive producer, script writers, financing and all yet. I just know everybody here just can’t wait.

  2. birgerjohansson says

    Is this the film where wossname the recent James Bond is the detective? I like the pre-Bond films of his, so this is promising.
    Cheerfulcharlie @ 1
    I know God Awful Movies has already covered the three Atlas Shrugged films (made at diminishing budgets) but I hope they will also cover the TV series.
    Having the unholy trio unleash their unholy sense of humor on the mess will keep me happy for most of 2023. Or, if there is yet another world chrisis, allow me to die happy.

  3. says

    I know you didn’t care for it, but Don’t Look Up also had a tech “visionary” character, Peter Isherwell, complete with worshipful fan base and full security clearance inside the White House despite barely being tethered to reality and only marginally competent (“he’s the guy who bought the Gutenberg Bible, and lost it”). A delicious archetype and my favorite part of that movie, although the three-star general who rips off visitors to the White House was also enjoyable.
    I see it’s on Netflix. I’ll have to check it out, and thanks for the tip.

  4. spinynorman8 says

    It’s like what Ben Carson did to help dispel the notion that neurosurgeons must be geniuses.

  5. says

    I thought it was entertaining and surprisingly layered. Blanc has one of my new favorite movie lines when he says exactly what I was thinking, but even to quote it would be a spoiler.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    Daniel Craig! Now I remember!
    If Bron was much smarter he might qualify as an underling to a Bond villain. One of those underlings whose death could be an occasion for a one-liner.

  7. hemidactylus says

    Ok I bit. Ed Norton playing guitar on the beach reminded me of:

    I recall him in The Italian Job remake and the disturbing American History X. Oh yeah Fight Club, but I’m not supposed to talk about that.

    I guess I too should watch Knives Out echoing Akira in @2.

    I just did a Zikek Pervert’s Guide marathon so it’s good to just watch a movie without the deep subtext analyzed.

  8. hemidactylus says

    Well that ended a bit worse than activists throwing tomato juice at a Van Gogh. Pretty good movie with huge misdirect.

  9. numerobis says

    Jim Balter: Musk is turning Twitter into a small gaslighting platform.

    Twitter has lost most of its revenue because of Musk, it’s violating consent decrees, and it’s violating various contracts. It will take a few months but the US and EU will both be issuing enormous fines.

  10. opposablethumbs says

    @Akira MacKenzie #2, I certainly enjoyed Glass Onion but I think Knives Out is a lot better! (the crime and the deductions (and, well, everything) are much more tightly written and integrated into more consistent characterisation, imo, so that the conclusion emerges intead of being a bit tacked-on). Just my take, obviously – but I reckon anyone who likes GO might enjoy KO even more :-)

  11. weylguy says

    It took me a while to get past the overly pretentious, cartoonishly rich and decadent party guests at the film’s beginning, but their seeming redemption at the end ruined the film for me. To me, they were just as awful as Miles Bron.

  12. Tethys says

    Hey, what’s with the raging Jim Balter being an enormous pissant on every thread? Didn’t get any good toys for Xmas so you’re having a wee tantrum at all people you are so clearly superior to?

  13. John Morales says

    [Tethys, this is the gentler, more laid-back version of Jim, who got OM back in February 2008. Just as I am the gentler, kinder version of myself these days.
    We’ve both mellowed noticeably]

  14. rorschach says

    SC @6,
    “I thought it was entertaining and surprisingly layered.”
    I thought that too. But there were some scenes where I wondered what that was all about. Eg when they land on the island and all of a sudden Craig and a few others are wearing masks (albeit useless cloth masks by the looks of it), and Bron is walking around with some kind of injecting gun and shoots them in the mouth. Was that the actors union’s doing, part of the script, what? But yeah, a fun flick.

  15. Kagehi says

    So, no mention of the comedy gold that, less than 48 hours after reinstating “Tate’s account” – and thankfully, until now I had no idea who the idea was, and still kind of don’t, other than he is apparently an ass, he stained Twitter even more by a) posting a stupid comment about his cars to Greta Thunburg, who then b) fired back with commentary about him compensating for something, then c) he was arrested in Romania for human trafficking, because the dumb fuck posted his tweet with a picture, which included a pizza box from a local Romanian restaurant – thus proven he was there, so the authorities could raid him. lol

    Way to go Elon… Keep adding back in the accounts of creeps and freaks, I am sure we will see plenty more embarrassment from them. ;)

  16. StevoR says

    @ ^ Kagehi : Give PZ Myers time. I hope he gets lots of it and gets to say all he wants to say in it.

    He (PZ) does make a difference & does make the world better for him saying what he says..

    What’s 48 hours in the cosmos of billions of years and millions of years .. ok, a week is a long time in politics and a few hours long time in social media but still.

    Also yes.

  17. StevoR says

    PS. Reckon PZ is probly writing that post now.. maybe? If not, then very likely he will be as soon as he hears of it & has time.