Elon Musk’s Twitter bio currently reads “Perfume Salesman,” which, as of this week, is an accurate descriptor. It’s also fitting for it to read “Haberdasher”, “Flamethrower Peddler,” “Jimador,” or even “Short-shorts salesman.” While we’re at it, he could also describe himself as “Bad Negotiator,” “Failed Tunnel Erector,” or “Exploding Car Clerk.” At what point will this dude‘s reputation of not following through with his ideas and hocking novelty gag gifts with his logo slapped on them overpower this image some people hold of him as an astute entrepreneur? Not soon enough!! In the meantime, we’re all going to be subjected to his absolutely unremarkable sense of humor.
Yesterday Musk released a perfume called “Burnt Hair,” which he describes as containing “The Essence of Repugnant Desire.” Clearly, Musk, whose own hair made a miraculous reappearance in 2002, thinks he is being very funny. In fact, his own obsession with his sense of humor might be the most obnoxious thing about him. His last name is musk! He is selling perfume! The smell of the perfume is notoriously one of the worst smells known to man! To quote my 9-year-old self, “It’s so funny I forgot to laugh.” Billionaires, for the record, cannot be funny, because they are the power to which comedic truth is spoken. (I recommend this New York Times piece on Musk from yesterday about him unsuccessfully trying to make Nathan Fielder laugh, if you’d like to experience some top-tier schadenfreude.)
Yet clearly, a lot of folks—10,000 of them, roughly–want to be in on the joke. Musk has made over a million dollars on the stuff in under a day selling “Burnt Hair” for $100 a pop. The perfume won’t be shipping out until early 2023, so no word on exactly how much of a hilarious scam the whole thing is.
As I mentioned earlier, Musk has also made money selling flamethrowers, tequila, booty shorts, and hats. Once, he sold a Tesla surfboard for $1,500. While Musk is making some money, albeit a fraction of his worth, from setting up an accessories shop not unlike that of an Instagram influencer, his actual business schemes are imploding. In some cases, like his Tesla cars, they are exploding. For months he’s been playing hot potato with Twitter. The Boring Company, which sells the perfume, flamethrowers, and hats, it should be noted, has yet to actually accomplish what it was created to do: build a high-speed train system.
What Musk has successfully done is something many, many, clever musicians have also mastered: Talk up a big life changing project without any commitments or plans to actually follow through. Believe me, I’ve dated a lot of bassists. I recognize this ploy.
But as long as his followers, who’ve created this obsessive parasocial relationship with him and who think he’s God’s gift to techpreneurs, uphold their worship of him, he’s going to have an audience and customer base for his distinctly dumb gags. And as long as he has that base, he’ll continue hopping between opportunities to exploit people and coast on this idea of himself as a hilarious guy and tech innovator. I repeat myself: He is neither!