Few people have had a wide-ranging — and weird — 2018 as SpaceX and Telsa head Elon Musk. He’s made new friends, hit new milestones, and managed to make a lot of people mad.
Musk has always been a bit of an enigma, but, so far in 2018, he’s become an even bigger, head-scratching figure. Musk has been generating buzz from a new relationship, selling flamethrowers (yes, flamethrowers) just because, trying to help rescue kids trapped in a cave, and sounding an awful lot like President Trump in attacking the media.
It all adds up to a very unique year for a very unique person and the year is only halfway through.
Here, then, is the year in Musk so far.
Just some Boring Flamethrowers
You’d think Musk would have his hands full what with SpaceX, high-speed trains, and talk of tunnels taking up most of his day. But there’s always time for side projects, apparently, like, say, flamethrowers!
No, it wasn’t a joke. Complex terms and conditions and all, it is a very real thing and thousands forked over $500 a pop for their own Musk-approved bringer of fire.
That is quite the entrepreneurial move, Elon, and one hell of a way to start the year.
Tesla’s space oddity
SpaceX had a monumental first successful launch of its Falcon Heavy rocket, a huge step forward for the company as it continues on a variety missions. But the one thing people will likely remember from that launch is the Tesla that Musk sent into space.
The Tesla and its dummy astronaut reportedly disappeared into deep space a few days after launch (as to rumors it crashed to Earth and might have flattened a Nobel Prize winner, well, we’ll get to that in a minute).
But it wasn’t a total waste of a car as it was able to relay some important information that will actually prove useful.
It takes a lot to become the “It” couple from the annual Met Gala, but Musk and new girlfriend Grimes did just that, debuting as a pair for the first time on the red carpet. But nothing with Musk is ever so cut-and-dry.
There was the nerdy joke that brought them together, the memes the relationship spawned, and his own personal Grimes playlist. The musician saw a nice bump in her streaming numbers after the pair stepped out.
But Grimes wasn’t the only new Musk friend we learned about in 2018, as we’ll see in a moment.
Musk’s own “fake news”
Because journalism hasn’t had enough attacks from men in power in 2018, Musk has taken it upon himself to attack the Fourth Estate beyond his usual earning call hijinks.
Musk and Tesla have been battling complaints of unfair labor practices, denying they exist and, when necessary, turning on those who report on the the accusations, namely a series by the Center for Investigative Reporting. And he swears he’s nothing like Trump.
In late May, Musk tweeted about creating a website that “would rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication.” The kicker? He wants to call it Pravda which is already the name of a the newspaper for the Communist Party in — wait for it — Russia.
And on Thursday, Musk tangled with Business Insider reporter Linette Lopez, suggesting Lopez bribed accused Tesla saboteur Martin Tripp for inside information.
His better half, the aforementioned Grimes, stuck up for the embattled Musk, saying he’s never hampered unionization efforts at Tesla. But things are also a little bit awkward because, well, Grimes’ own mother is a journalist.
His new BFF Malala
So a billionaire entrepreneur and a teenage Nobel Peace Prize winner bond on Twitter over something from The Onion. This is not a parody or a rejected Disney pitch but real life.
When The Onion property Clickhole published a satire story about Musk’s space-bound Tesla falling to earth and crushing Malala Yousafzai, Malala took the joke in stride on Twitter.
At least Musk didn’t deride the work of The Onion like he has the media. In fact, he seems to like them quite a lot, but that’s another story.
“Listen, all y’all, it’s a sabotage”
Do not come for Elon Musk, y’all.
That is the lesson we learned this year when Musk went one-on-one with Martin Tripp, a former Tesla employee at the company’s Nevada Gigifactory, over accusations Tripp tried to sabotage the company by hacking code and leaking data to third parties.
In a series of emails obtained by the Washington Post, Musk called Tripp “a horrible human being” and accused him of “framing other people.” Musk also told Tripp he betrayed the company and should be ashamed.
Tripp didn’t hold back, responding, “You have what’s coming to you for the lies you have told to the public and investors.”
Woof. So much for letting the lawyers handle everything.
Literally a farting unicorn
In late June, Musk got into it online with musician Lisa Prank who accused Musk of ripping off her father’s drawing of a farting unicorn for his Tesla sketchpad. In a series of now-deleted tweets, Musk tried to hem and haw his way around it even though back in 2017, he shared a photo of a mug with the original unicorn drawing on it.
We’re both breathless and fartless with anticipation, waiting for the next stage in this saga.
Additional reporting by Sasha Lekach
“So, I was joking with pal Malala, you know, the Nobel Prize winner, I told Malala, ‘Hey, so the media is bad and Grimes, my girlfriend who is awesome and a very successful pop music artist, is good, you know?'”IMAGE: GETTY IMAGES
For more on this story go to: https://mashable.com/2018/07/08/elon-musk-moments-of-2018-so-far/?utm_cid=hp-hh-pri#Xg8ARhsuHkqj