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