Doing nothing to convince me that tech founders are anything like normal people, on Sunday, Mark Zuckerberg posted a video of himself surfing while holding an American flag, accompanied by the song “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
See for yourself!
Zuckerberg’s ridiculous demonstration was, of course, for the Fourth of July, but he must have also been celebrating last week’s news that a federal judge had dismissed the many antitrust complaints against Facebook. Of course one’s ability to amass wealth and form a practical monopoly without violating the law is among the most American of privileges. And so we can assume Zuckerberg was feeling buoyant when he hopped on that tiny surfboard—calmer, lighter, richer.
Still, it’s hard to say to what extent a video like this is earnest. Increasingly, it seems that Zuckerberg is using his cringe-worthy posts in a public relations bid to change the narrative around himself and his company. The recent video of Zuckerberg throwing spears and shooting arrows in Hawaii along with the many jokes about his sunscreen application help make the Facebook founder seem quirky, awkward, and therefore harmless. For this reason, Zuckerberg’s memeification is a dangerous thing. Memes are an easy way to make one of the richest men in the world look like a hapless nerd, but rather than strip Zuckerberg of his power they merely create the illusion of its absence. (On the other hand, Zuckerberg’s eccentric hobbies might only have this effect incidentally: Rich people are weird, and they get into weird things precisely because they have more money than any single person should ever be in possession of.)
Fortunately, it is easy to see something sinister in this Fourth of July display. Again: We are looking at a white male tech overlord—who appears as though he’s been CGI’d, it must be said—proudly displaying the American flag on a motorized surfboard. Why not simply grill a hotdog?