Patterico's Pontifications


A Look At Privilege: Grown Man Frets Over What His Friends Will Think Of Him Because He Drives A Tesla (UPDATE ADDED)

Filed under: General — Dana @ 12:47 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Frankly, I’d be embarrassed to say any of this out loud. It’s bizarre that an adult is worried about what people will think of him driving a Tesla! (see: Bad Elon Musk), and considers his conundrum worthy of an essay (and the Los Angeles Times (where it originally appeared) considers it important enough to publish). It all seems so…privileged. Apparently, pesky issues like food, clothing, or shelter aren’t a worry for our writer, but rather what his friends will think of him for driving a Muskmobile is what’s keeping him up at night. This just has to be a new definition of privilege:

A few years ago, I bought a used Tesla, not because I’m a car nut but because I had been a hypocrite. For years, I had been outspoken about the dangers of carbon emissions. Yet at the same time, I was driving an old gas-powered heap that got about 25 miles per gallon, and that sounded like a rocket launch every time I turned on the ignition…My environmental activist friends were not impressed by my assiduous urban composting, LED bulb installations and energy-saving appliances. I needed to do more to diminish my carbon footprint. The icebergs were melting, my friends said, and at least one polar bear was wandering around homeless and hungry because of me…Many insisted that Teslas were the best for the environment. Pricey but worth it. So I said goodbye to my gas guzzler and made the leap.

Man, you need to get new friends… It appears that peer pressure brought this adult male to Tesla in the first place. And peer pressure will lead him to ditch the evil car. Did I mention that the writer is not a teenager in the throes of a bone-crushing fear that he will be judged by his adolescent peers?

The author says that after getting comfortable with his Tesla, he began to enjoy it. Until The. Worst. Happened. Well, the worst in his shallow world:

Because of the recent revelation of Elon Musk’s political views — all of which I abhor — I’m starting to worry about what sort of political statement the car is making. Will people see me as a symbol of right-wing environmentalism, a living oxymoron?

When I bought the car, I had no real opinion on Musk’s somewhat clouded political beliefs. Now that Musk has apparently swung to the far right — banning journalists from Twitter while reinstating neo-Nazis — I’m horrified to be associated with his brand whenever I drive anywhere.

I cannot get over that this adult male is stuck in an 8th-grade mentality where his primary concern in life seems to be what people think of him.


Given Musk’s political descent into the dark side, I wonder whether I should sell my Tesla as a form of protest. How would that adversely affect Musk? Not at all, really. The sale of a used Tesla would hardly cause a blip for the company. Even if I were part of a vast movement, and many other politically aware would-be Tesla owners opted for other, newer EVs, would a blow to Tesla stock really change anything about Musk’s politics? There would be collateral damage. How many people would lose their jobs if people stopped buying Teslas?

I don’t know whether to sell, but I do know that I’m just not as comfortable driving it anymore.

Look, pal, then don’t drive it. This isn’t a decision worthy of hand-wringing. I can only shake my head in amazement that a) an adult male is worried that people might be critical of him and unbelievably, his choice of an automobile because of politics; and b) that the cars we drive, even as adults, are considered political statements. MAGA males favor pick-up trucks, and greenies like Priuses (and Teslas). Who cares! I can’t imagine having “friends” who would smugly criticize me over what I drive. And I say this as a longtime tree-hugger doing what I can in my little corner of the world to mitigate the negative impacts. I drive an Xterra, and frankly, I have no idea what statement that makes other than decent gas mileage and the room to fit a 125-lb dog…

Unlike Mr. Privilege and the do-gooder-scolds, lots of people are concerned about the planet and can’t afford a used Tesla. They simply have other priorities and other places where they direct their money. A gas-guzzling beater might be all they’ve got to get from Point A to Point B. It’s okay. Maybe they like their old beater. So what. You’re allowed to drive what you want as well as be concerned about the planet. And you’re allowed to self-righteously harp about the environment and be a hypocrite too. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you’re also allowed to tell your judgy friends to mind their business.

UPDATE: RL formerly in Glendale and nk think this is a spoof. At the same time, JVW points out that the writer ticks off all the boxes. Either way, I’ll stand by my commentary about the twit, imagined or not. I don’t think it’s a spoof, but if it is, well done!


The New York Times Is Wrong: Ukraine Is Not Taking A “Hard Line” In Their Efforts To Be Free Of Russia

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:49 am

[guest post by Dana]

The New York Times shamefully indulges in false equivalency while opting not to make the distinction between aggressor and victim:

Can we at least agree that a country that has been unlawfully invaded by a thuggish neighboring nation and defends itself while trying to expel said enemy is not taking a “hard line” but is righteously fighting for survival and the right to exist as an independent nation? Can we agree that the onus for ending the war rests on the invaders and not on the victims? Given that Russia doesn’t believe in Ukraine’s right to exist as an independent, self-governing nation, it is doubtful that any meaningful negotiations can even take place. Ukraine has every reason to doubt anything Russia says about ending the war. This is not taking a hard line. This is simply a logical conclusion based on listening to Putin’s own words, observing his real-life actions, and for Ukraine, experiencing some horrific consequences. Thus the need for Ukraine’s conditions for negotiations. As an unlawful invader, it is up to Russia, at the very least, to demonstrate a good-faith effort toward ending the war. And the only thing that might convince me of their sincerity would be a complete and total withdrawal from Ukraine. And I mean all of Ukraine. That might be a starting point. Short of that, why believe anything they say?

In a nutshell:

It’s absurd. The Russian position is to invade Ukraine and kill Ukrainians. The Ukrainian position is not to be invaded and not to be murdered by Russia. Russia can create peace in an instant; Ukraine must fight for it.

Meanwhile, Russia has launched a barrage of missiles at Ukraine, with officials saying that Lviv, Kyiv, and Odesa have been hardest hit:

According to preliminary data, Ukraine’s Air Force said that Russian forces had launched 69 cruise missiles and that it had downed 54 of those, along with Ukraine’s Defense Forces. The Air Force said that it had also repelled attacks from Iranian-made Shahed drones, which are designed to explode on contact with their targets.

Earlier on Thursday, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, said in a post on Twitter that Russia had launched more than 120 missiles in the attack, without giving more details. He said the focus of the onslaught was to “destroy critical infrastructure and kill civilians en masse.”

Unsurprisingly, Putin’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov rejected President Zelensky’s conditions, which includes a condition that Russia withdraws its troops from Ukraine, restore Ukraine’s border with Russia, and establish a tribunal to prosecute “the crime of Russian aggression”:

Ukraine must fulfill Russia’s demands for the “demilitarization and denazification” of Ukrainian-controlled territories, repeating Moscow’s well-worn and false accusation of Nazism against Ukraine, which it has used in an attempt to justify its invasion.

Lavrov also called for “the elimination of threats to Russian security from there, including our new territories” – a reference to four occupied regions of Ukraine which Russia claimed to annex illegally following sham referendums – or else the Russian military would take action, according to TASS.

“There is just one thing left to do: to fulfill them before it’s too late. Otherwise the Russian army will take matters into its own hands,” Lavrov said. “With regard to the duration of the conflict, the ball is now in the court of Washington and its regime,” he added, again referring to Ukraine as a puppet of the US.


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