Before Elon Musk unveiled Tesla's new Cybertruck (CYBERTRUKK?) concept on Thursday night, he promised the world in a tweet that it would look like a military armored personnel carrier. At the time, I thought this was weird, because frankly I can't imagine wanting to drive a vehicle like the ones carting troops and weapons around various war zones to the grocery store.
But when Musk finally revealed the vehicle, which looks like an 80s concept car crossed with some stock sci-fi design tropes, I got it. With every sledgehammer hit, gunshot demo, and finally an embarrassing incident where the Cybertruck's supposedly unbreakable windows uhhh broke, the reason for this truck's existence became clear: it's a vehicle for the class war. But not any class war, the stupid class war. The class war where one side is composed of adult babies who nonetheless can afford at least the promise of military-grade hardware that reminds them of stuff they liked when they were teenagers.
The whole situation is so ridiculous, so on-the-nose, that you almost have to laugh. A promotional image for the Cybertruck depicts it driving on a highway with a U-Haul-style trailer attached. One imagines a family's belongings being carted across the U.S. to a new home; big screen TV, important documents, and various objets d'art all protected by a "literally bulletproof" car. With this in mind, bashing the truck and chucking items at it on stage felt like Musk trying to prove that it can withstand the proletariat's molotovs when the revolution comes.
This is all surely unnecessary, at least for now, but is no doubt appealing to the type of person who consumed a ton of dystopian 80s sci-fi and thought that might be a future they'd want to live in. After all, they're not one of the wasteland raiders the Cybertruck seems prepared to defend against; they're the ones inside the sci-fi APC.
Ultimately, the Cybertruck is for people who at least aspirationally imagine their domestic world to be a war zone. It's probably not a coincidence that APC-like vehicles already roam civilian streets, piloted by increasingly militarized police. The fact that Tesla's anti-prole tank is all-electric is only the icing on the cake. Save the planet, but for whom?
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