Seeing another step in the Musk foolishness cycle, I thought of an analogy to another young-middle-aged-guy who was looked on with awe for a long time after his signature accomplishments were over.
George Lucas made American Graffiti in 1973 and Star Wars in 1978, and the mystique from those two films lasted a long time. I remember in the early 1990s talking with some people who worked at Lucasfilm, and even then there was a sense that Lucas could be capable of miracles. It’s funny, because the second and third Star Wars movies came out and they were nothing special, but I guess we still wanted to believe. Lucas stood for something in the culture—I’m not sure what, some combination of ambition and popular success—and we weren’t ready to accept that he’d already said everything he was going to say, did everything he was going to do. At the same time, I’m sure that lots of people in Hollywood were unawed by Lucas; it just took a long time for the unawedness to reach my friends and me. Even the people I knew who were disillusioned by Lucas—still, he was important enough to them to be a subject of disillusion.
Musk is different from Lucas in many ways, but he seems to have the same mystique, at least to some people. I don’t really have anything more to say about this one; it just struck me that the Musk fans today seem a bit like I was in the 1990s regarding Lucas, that for some reason we just had it in our heads that this guy could pull a rabbit out of his hat, if he ever really felt like doing it again.
P.S. Around 1992 I had a party where we watched American Graffiti. I want to the video store to rent the movie, but it took me awhile to find—it turned out it was sitting in the Richard Dreyfus section. Really. They don’t have Blockbuster Video anymore. And, if they did, it wouldn’t have a Richard Dreyfus section.