, 2022-07-16 08:00:00,
Soon afterward, Pollard-Watkins developed an extracurricular interest in astronomy, gobbling up news about Musk’s private space-exploration company, SpaceX. It was a solitary hobby. “No one’s into astronomy,” he says with a laugh. But in the late 2010s, something surprising happened: Rappers started name-checking Musk in their lyrics, and soon Pollard-Watkins’s friends were talking about Musk, too.
Now, “Elon Musk is that guy,” gushes Pollard-Watkins, 18, who now lives in Barbados and recently graduated high school. He’s everywhere. Everybody knows him. “He’s, like, the Drake of business.”
Musk has always stood apart from other software geeks, beyond just his focus on hardware and hard problems. His image as an eccentric inventor informed Robert Downey Jr.’s performance as Iron Man, and in 2010, he made a cameo in “Iron Man 2.” Then there were Musk’s much-publicized relationships with actresses Amber Heard and Talulah Riley and the musician Grimes — and, of course, his rise to becoming the world’s official richest person.
He’s attended the Met Gala. He’s hosted “Saturday Night Live.” He’s posed with Kanye in orange-themed outfits.
But over the past five years, Musk transformed from tech-famous to famous-famous to what one could call “red pill” famous. “Take the red pill,” he tweeted in 2020, a reference to the tablet in the “The Matrix” that has become associated with a conversion to right-wing views. On Twitter, where his following has nearly doubled in the past year to just over 100 million, Musk trolls the woke and hypes up fellow free-speech fans in a way that leaves one guessing. But is the world’s richest man officially right wing or doing it for the lulz? Did he really plan on paying $44 billion for Twitter or was it always a lark? Though Musk filed to kill the deal and Twitter’s board is suing to enforce the merger, the saga has helped expand Musk’s reach as a pop-culture figure — one whose…
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