VFour open cans of decaffeinated Diet Coke. A half empty noble water bottle. A wooden box with a print of Emanuel Leutze’s 1851 painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware” on the inside lid and an antique handgun inside. A modern handgun. Some kind of double metal knob, maybe an amulet. A stack of narrow books. So this is what Elon Musk’s bedside table looks like, as it’s hard to remember now. Because his tweet of the strange still life with the words “My bedside table”my bedside table, not only triggered a veritable meme festival on Twitter among Musk’s nearly 120 million followers, but also spurred a whole series of intense analyzes in the American media: What might this say about the life of the currently richest man in the world, who recently acquired Twitter for $44 billion after months of bickering and has been dominating the headlines with his reign of chaos ever since?
Musk had announced that he wanted to take a stand on “freedom of speech” and reactivated Donald Trump’s account, which had been suspended after the Capitol storm on January 6, 2021. This and the departure of numerous top executives in mid-November had led to prominent Twitter users deactivating or deleting their accounts, including CBS News, fashion company Balenciaga and celebrities such as actor Jim Carrey, TV writer Shonda Rhimes and musician Moby. “Twitter Blue,” a paid model, flopped amid reports that anyone could now impersonate a company or person for $8 and spread disinformation in their name (among the “verified” people was Jesus Christ). In response, Apple, General Motors, and scores of other companies stopped advertising on the platform, and Musk appears ready to go to war with Apple by claiming that the cellphone company “hates free speech.” Finally, he put the gun on the chest of his remaining employees with a deadline by which they were to decide whether they were “extremely hardcore”, i.e. “working long hours at high intensity” and could therefore remain part of the company.
“Lost his normally sharp mind”
Similar to Donald Trump, Musk has gained a lot of attention with his bizarre behavior – even if the tech journalist Kara Swisher, who has known Musk for two decades, recently said in her podcast that Musk either has his wealth or his limitless attention , which is granted to him, has lost his actually sharp mind. In any case, the American media indulged in a bizarre analysis of Elon Musk’s bedside table.
At first, efforts were made to identify the objects depicted precisely. “Musk did not initially respond to a request for confirmation of the various objects in the picture,” reported “Business Insider” disappointed, before nevertheless breaking down what was shown for the reader – for example: Musk already had his diet coke consumption (Diet Coke). drastically reduced fifteen years ago and went decaffeinated, but still a fan who doesn’t care if their life expectancy suffers as a result.
Replica of a George Washington gun
The New York Post identified the antique pistol as a replica of one owned by George Washington and identified the modern gun as a replica from a futuristic video game called Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The “Post” was also able to identify the amulet as a Tibetan meditation instrument called Vajra Dorje; “Insider” researched that it represented “the relief of the misery of sentient beings through the compassion of the bodhisattva”. However, the English “Independent” identified it as the fist weapon of the Hindu god Indra – “maybe Musk plays with it when he gets bored of burning Twitter”. One of the books on the bedside table, Insider wrote, may be George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation, and Musk addressed the numerous visible condensation marks from the Coke cans himself in a follow-up tweet: “The lack of coasters is inexcusable.”
“It’s hardly surprising,” said The Cut, “that Musk’s bedside table, like everything else in his life right now, is pure chaos.” “Crippling loneliness” recognized the “Independent”. The image is “more of a call for society than a power-conscious display of machismo,” “symbolic of a lost lonely man – guns that don’t work, any antique, a Coca-Cola addiction.” “Slate,” on the other hand, found the whole thing “embarrassing” because decaf diet coke was “for wimps” and “not particularly hardcore,” as Musk demands of his employees. Many expressed dismay at the display of weapons.
Other Twitter users took the expression of Musk’s need for recognition less seriously. They posted parodies of the strange still life, which featured things like the gastrointestinal drug Pepto-Bismol, submachine guns, dildos and empty beer cans. But here, too, plenty of malice was spilled over the caffeine-free Cola lights. “The only other person I know who is committed to diet decaffeinated is my grandma,” one wrote. Another user had a piece of advice for Musk: “If you swapped the colas for Budweiser cans, your badass factor would go way up.”