I can’t even…fully wrap my brain around what Elon Musk did yesterday with the car and the Spaceman on the Falcon. This is the great confluence of Technology, Commerce, Pop-Culture, and Symbolism.
You had a dummy dressed in an astronaut’s suit called “Spaceman” in a Tesla car outfitted with shibboleths from The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series & playing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” (Bowie of course portrayed the real-life Tesla in The Prestige); a car that was launched into space on the SpaceX Falcon Heavy towards Mars.
On one level, it’s just a publicity stunt, as all businesspeople have to do to compete and garner attention in this crowded social media landscape.
But on another level, I could not help but feel in a very deep intuitive sense that this was a really big deal—that this was some ritualistic thing Musk was doing (at least on a subconscious level) and it represented some sort of “turning point.”
Despite the very “retro” quagmire America is facing at the moment, we really are in a deep, concentrated transitional period in regards to technology, space travel, etc. Things are going to seem a lot different in only a handful of years. And as the masses are being distracted by the circus at home, they aren’t really being prepared for this profound level of Change.
But Musk seems to be throwing in every futuristic symbol but the AI-controlled kitchen sink to try to drive the idea of this Change into our psyches in one utterly bizarre, pop-culture influenced outer-space stunt.
By the way, here is a publicity still from the 1981 movie Heavy Metal that is pretty much the same image: