One of the most absurd things I’ve seen recently is the newsmedia reaction to Elon Musk’s appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast. I watched the whole thing and my thoughts specifically about the moment at which Musk appears to hit a joint/spliff/blunt are below.
Let me get this out of the way first: as I understand it, Musk has legal obligations — both because of his various business arrangements and because of the rules of his own companies — not to use certain drugs, and so he unequivocally should not have smoked weed, especially not on a podcast where people would witness it. It was both unfair to his employees and potentially in violation of the aforementioned business arrangements.
In fact, I am personally opposed to the culture of public drug-use; my opinion is that drugs should be legal and frowned upon, so that people are free to get high in private but they should then ashamedly hide all evidence of their drug use from the outside world.
That said, people are reacting as if Musk kept passing the douchie for the full podcast, leaning back with his eyes reddened and half closed, pondering the wonder of ceiling tiles and the palms of his hands while admitting to being a pothead layabout.
In reality, what Musk did was take a very quick hit and immediately exhale it. To my eyes it is doubtful whether he inhaled at all: it seems more like he took the hit only to experience the taste (and maybe to not come off as quite so robotic, which I think he probably knows he does). This was followed by Musk opining that marijuana makes people unproductive, and explaining that he almost never smokes it, not least of all because it doesn’t do anything for him. (Even I think this is unfair to pot and pot smokers!) His micro-hit (not to mention his two glasses of whiskey) subsequently produced no noticeable change in his demeanor, speech, or conversational patterns for the remainder of the podcast. Which by the way all demonstrated the presence of a very sharp, sober mind.
Don’t the degenerate scoundrels who write news articles for a living know what smoking pot is like? A quick non-hit from a joint does basically nothing. By their clickbaity articles you’d have thought this perfunctory puff meant Musk was no longer able to run his own life, let alone a company. Ridiculous.
Oh and by the way, I’m no Elon Musk fanboy. I like my cars mechanical and inefficient — so that I can work on them in my driveway — and I was personally screwed over by Paypal and no longer use their services. Hyperloop is a pretty dumb idea that doesn’t seem like it would solve the problems it’s meant to solve, even if it wasn’t a huge security risk. The AI threat Musk talks about is overblown (although his theories about technological-society-as-AGI are philosophically interesting), and his suggestion of universal basic income is repugnant to me. Oh, and I thought his “not a flamethrower” stunt was basically trollish.
I have a lot more respect for Musk after watching the podcast and I would now classify him as “an interesting guy, clearly with an IQ way out on the right taper of the bell curve” (previously, having been exposed to very little of him, I figured he was a douchy Richard Branson type), but I’m not defending his alleged toking because he won my heart or anything like that. I just think the newsmedia’s reaction to it was absolutely without merit. That is to say, it was a normal, predictable reaction from them. First class journalism, and I mean that unironically.