It’s on. Elon Musk has officially filed to kill his own Twitter acquisition, and Twitter is calling his bluff. They’ll see Musk in court. And while it’s only going to get messier from here, one important verdict has already been rendered by Elon Musk himself: he doesn’t have what it takes to run Twitter. And that’s a damning blow to his own central mythology.
We’ll look at the specifics of Musk’s formal SEC filing in a minute, but first it’s important to remember what he’s said about the deal and why he wanted to do it in the first place. It’s not like the world forced the acquisition of a relatively small social network on the world’s richest man. (On the contrary: he forced this on Twitter.) In fact, a reasonable person would conclude he was never serious about it to begin with; Musk’s conduct surrounding the deal has been marked by a lot of obvious troll behavior. And we’re already seeing a lot of Musk stans and Twitter haters divining a 4D-chess narrative that makes his blunder seem intentional. But.
There are some things Musk said in the frenzy of the Twitter takeover that can’t be ignored. That’s because they strike at the heart of what built his original reputation: as a visionary, a bold industrialist, a futurist, and maybe even the guy who would solve climate change and multi-planetary civilization. Sure, lately he works tirelessly to attract a huge base of social reactionaries and various right-wingers who care more about his trolling than the missions of SpaceX or Tesla. But Musk’s real credibility — if he ever had any — was being the face of genuinely huge and ambitious efforts to change the world and make it better.