While some see Elon as the next Tony Stark, others just see him as a young Lex Luthor. Many cite his views on urban planning as elitist, his interests lying more in bombastic spectacles out in space rather than helping out down on Earth. Not to mention he's not big on unions. Just around the time of the Falcon Heavy launch, Elon got into disputes with the unions, and has offered to his employees that if they go against them, they can enjoy all the frozen yogurt and rollercoasters they desire. Under this context, the launch doesn't appear as a symbol of humanity being on the edge of spatial exploration more than an over-hyped ego-stroking of a megalomaniac.
Such a view is perhaps a little too cynical (as well as ignorant of Elon's altruism and efforts to invest in greener energy), but Elon's not the only one to get negatively caricatured. Many other millionaires and billionaires get equated with the likes of Montgomery Burns, Gordon Gekko and Scrooge McDuck. It's only fitting that as you amass more wealth while others are left starving or struggling, that those on the latter will see your stockpiling as pretty dickish. But it's not just the grossness of one's net-worth that gets people riled up. It's also in adopting the role of the entrepreneur or the innovator. Those in this role often get more of the anger and vitriol than those in the entertainment industry. Sure, one might have some problem with the out-of-touch nature of the Hollywood types, but it's never to the extent that someone like Musk would get.
Of course that makes sense since the innovator/entrepreneur does more to affect people's lives and the way society (or politics in particular) acts. As such, it becomes important to look closely at the attitudes and the choices that these figures make, and be critical of what they choose to do with the money that they have. But these perspectives, couched with the general hostility that comes with the super-rich, often become harsh character studies of these people: Steve Jobs gets viewed as a fake-deep cut-throat, Oprah Winfrey as the jolly exploiter of human misery, Mark Zuckerberg as an alien weirdo; the current US president, Donald Trump, has been portrayed as an ignorant, idiotic, highly egocentric buffoon so much, it's not even funny anymore. All of them are created from actual problems that these people and their practices have created, but at times the over-reliance on these portrayals can prove to be overbearing.
Much of the problem stems with how these caricatures serve not so much to highlight the sins of the subject but rather to virtue signal about one's righteousness. When I was a teenager, I developed a massive hatred for Steve Jobs for how damaging his cult of personality was on others. To me, it bred this smug self-satisfaction among others who thought themselves as these unique individuals on the cutting edge of technology. However, I found that the more I bitched about how one shouldn't worship the turtleneck techno-hippie, the more I found that people weren't much too interested in talking with me. That's because I was more focused in turning this image I had of the devil that was Steve Jobs onto people to either chide them or make myself feel better for not buying into the hype.
This problem was a lot worse when Trump was running as president. So much of the media was focused on building up this horribly exaggerated image of him to then parade around as a deterrent to supporting him,. This didn't really manage to convince those that were with him to deter, if anything, it only managed to magnified the posturing and hypocrisy of those who were using the caricature. The same could have been said for myself with Steve Jobs as I owned an iPod and would admire Bill Gates (who while more altruistic certainly was just as cut-throat, if not moreso). As tired as this conversation is to hear, it nonetheless emphasizes the problem with overuse of caricaturization. Rather than explaining the actual problems that exist with these individuals in a frank manner, one instead partakes in waving an image of the insanely rich innovator/entrepeneur with devil horns in the faces of others, expecting that they'll be converted rather than become apathetic or more ardent in their support.
It also isn't quite as fair to be so heavy-handed in the hatred of these individuals. It's not to say that I would outright condemn someone for being justifiably perpetually upset with how these people emphasize the massive economic inequality in the world (lest it reaches an obnoxious virtual signalling as stated above). But it is important to take in account the grey shades of the world every once in a while. There are very few people out there who are so truly bereft of any good, and for as much as innovators and entrepreneurs destroy, they also create. One needs only to look at the ever-explosive debate about Walt Disney to how each side of him left their mark on the world. Much as I greatly disagree with Elon's views, it's still remarkable to see what noble projects he's attached himself to as well as how he's managed to so thoroughly capture the public's imagination with the Falcon Heavy's launch.
There would be no sense in me condemning the cartoonish vilification of the insanely rich innovator/entrepeneur. I think Jeff Bezos is the ultimate embodiment of everything wrong with capitalism. I take an insane amount of joy seeing Mark Zuckerberg fail in his efforts to be relatable to us humons. And some of my favorite MadTV sketches are the ones that portray Oprah as a nearly demonic being. It is both important to destroy the idyllic images that they wish to have portrayed upon them so as to not follow them blindly and cathartic to punch upwards at those who are probably too busy to care about what burns we lob at them. However if anything meaningful is going to come from pointing at their flaws, it's not going to be achieved merely with the plastering of their evil caricature all over the place.