TIME went for a bit of a risky choice for its 2021 Person of the Year, selecting alleged person Elon Musk for the honor. It’s hard to say what, exactly, Musk — who holds the self-proclaimed “made-up” title of CEO of Tesla — has done this year, beyond posting conspicuously un-funny Twitter memes, getting dumped, and continuing to rack up more than $118 billion over the course of the pandemic through exploitation.
It’s not like anyone really cares about who the Person of the Year is — not since TIME reduced the title to a participation trophy by making it all of us in 2006. But honoring and further conferring made-up, mostly symbolic titles upon a hideously egotistical man who owes everything in his life to generational wealth and labor exploitation hardly seems like a good idea.
Musk and his basement-dwelling, boot-licking fan base don’t need to think he’s smarter or cooler than they already think he is. They already see him as some sort of visionary beyond all reason or evidence. Musk wants to be called Tesla’s “techno king” rather than CEO, his fans are trying to look like him, and they all for some reason think he’s above paying taxes. Do we really need to boost his ego further? For our collective well-being, do we really need to give him another reason to post?
The self-proclaimed “techno king” followed up a banner 2020, spent trying to force the factory workers he doesn’t let unionize to work through unsafe conditions at the height of COVID, with a somehow even worse 2021. Tesla faced two major lawsuits over alleged, rampant racism and sexual harassment and assault at its Fremont factory. The plaintiff of the sexual harassment suit notably named Musk and his inappropriate tweets as validation of the harassment she faces in the workplace.
He’s railed against government subsidies for the millions of mostly poor people of color who have been economically devastated by COVID, all while raking in billions. He’s been supportive of Gov. Greg Abbott amid the state’s devastating abortion ban. He wants us all to birth 10 babies right-the-fuck-now without child care or other help, and continues to pay Tesla factory workers significantly less than the average American auto-worker. If Musk did define 2021, maybe that says more about what a horrible year this has been, than it does about anything being particularly interesting or inspirational about him.
Any number of people would have been more influential or impactful to recognize: the scientists behind the vaccine, the workers who quit exploitative jobs amid the Great Resignation, the abortion providers offering care during the greatest threats to Roe v. Wade yet, Pete Davidson, anyone who’s made even one (1) single sacrifice this year — the far superior options are limitless. But here we are, for some reason (that certainly can’t be that Marc Benioff, owner of TIME, is an investor in SpaceX) with Musk as our 2021 Person of the Year. I’m sure this won’t make him even more insufferable online! How lucky are we to be alive!