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Deep hope for this video...that we all consider carefully that different people are different and that the algorithm doesn't pick it up and start showing it to Tesla fans because, yikes!

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I'm gonna talk into my camera for a little bit here and I--they're cutting down a tree next door, so deal with that.  I have been noticing a tension in, I guess, environmentalism maybe or just like, concern about the environment that Tesla is like, tugs at and makes more visible, that I hadn't really noticed until Tesla and this truck has made me think more about it and has made it more visible to me and this, this is the tension.  One, we need to innovate our way into a better future.  We need to maintain current levels of prosperity.  We need to increase the quality of life for people who don't currently have access to all of the wonderful joys that I do, and that's gonna have an environmental cost.  We need to increase quality of life, or maintain quality of life, without destroying the planet, which will decrease quality of life, and that's gonna require investment, it's gonna require smart, well-trained people working hard on problems and it requires innovation and it requires, like, buying stuff.

So then you've got this other thing, which is that like, a lot of environmentalists recognize that we have a problem in America where we tie our self worth or the--or how we assign worth in our minds to our selves and others to the acquisition of goods and to these kinds of signals about wealth and about our--the amount of money that we have, the amount of money we can spend, and these signals are everywhere, you know, you often don't notice them because they're so deeply built into how we imagine society.  Like, culture is just the water that we swim in and oftentimes, we are the fish that doesn't know that they're in water and that's everything from accent, I mean, I think that race is a big part of this.

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Like, we assume things about peoples' upbringing by their race.  Style, clothes, and I think that as you get more into places where people are economically insecure, the people want to display more about their wealth, because it's less obvious and so it's much easier for me to like, someone to look at me and like that I have value because I just look right, whereas somebody who doesn't necessarily look right, they have to like, create more outward expressions of value, whether that's like nicer clothes or you know, haircuts that you have to get more frequently in order to maintain them, and cars.  

And I think that like, among middle class white environmental types, there's a lot, like, like old school environmentalists, there's this deep skepticism about any display of wealth and a Tesla is a display of wealth.  Like, owning a Tesla is saying I have money.  I wish that a Tesla wasn't a flex, but a Tesla is a flex.  It's certainly interpreted that way and I think that a lot of people buy them for that reason.  They buy them as a flex, as a way of showing off their value as people, not the value of the car, the value--their value as people, and like, we--this isn't--like that, I'm not trying to be snarky about this.  We all have to find ways to feel valuable as people, it's just like, the traditional environmental viewpoint is we really need to decouple that from consumerism.  We need, 'cause ri--it's real, right?  Like, you know that if you're feeling really down about yourself, one way to get out of that is buying stuff.  People do this all the time, and I think that people work really hard to make more money and part of that is to create a stable life for themselves and their families.  Part of it really is about, you know, and it's--this is something that not everybody has, but for a lot of people, that's a really important way that they assign value to themselves is their net worth.

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It's the number, and that's why when you Google anybody's name, the first autocomplete that comes up, any celebrity's name, is net worth, 'cause people are thinking about that.  I don't even think that most people know what net worth even means.  I have a hard time with the concept, now that I've found out what it's supposed to mean.  I think it's very difficult to actually measure the assets of a person.  For example, most of my net worth is in my relationship with an internet community, but no one really knows--it's not a very liquid asset, as they say.  You are mostly water, internet audience, but you're not a liquid asset because you would be difficult to turn into dollars.  Unless I just went full on pyramid scheme on you.  

For clarity, I don't think about the thing that I'm doing on the internet as an asset.  It's just--that's the reality when we start talking about where value exists, which is one reason why I think that like, if I was taxed on my wealth, I wouldn't be taxed enough, because I don't think that my wealth is measured accurately.  I think that I am far wealthier than my net worth, but that's not what the video's about.

Tesla does this thing where they have done a lot of innovation, pushed a lot of envelopes, created a lot of great products by leaning into the flex.  They are part of this assigning value to ourselves through our consumerism.  I'm not saying everybody buys a--who buys a Tesla feels this way, like, I think there are lots of people who buy a Tesla because they want to drive the best electric car.  Like, I have made a commitment that I will never buy a car that is powered by gasoline again, and when I'm looking around like, for like, they're all expensive and the Tesla Model 3 is the best one, but like, I kind of feel like I can't buy a Tesla Model 3 because it looks like a flex.  I want that to end! 

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I don't want it to--I want the dumbest, most boring, I want them to make a Tesla Model 4 that looks like a Honda Civic and I wanna buy the fuck out of it, but like, there's so much value in being a flex brand.  This is what a lot of people, like, this is the reality.  People are looking to feel more valuable and if you can provide that service and also a great car at the same time, then like, why not?

Now, the truck made this more clear to me, because the truck looks, I don't know, and again, not everybody's gonna see it with the same eyes, but it looks so much like a flex truck, it's tall, it's weird, it's extraordinarily visible.  Like, now, at this point, if you live in California, Teslas aren't that weird.  They're still very weird here in Montana, but when I'm in California, I see lots of Teslas and it's pretty normal.  There's like, 1, 2 Teslas in this town, so it's not.  

So there's two reasons to get a truck.  To help you do work and carry things, which, like, I live in Montana where lots of people have trucks for that reason.  They work on farms, they are working construction, they, you know, they do, like, there's lots of like, work reasons that you need a truck, but they are inefficient, so I am--it's less, it's fairly weird to buy a truck for the second reason, which is just a flex.  Like, you want a big car that feels strong and you're up above the other cars and you can make loud noises with it and I can feel more valuable through my possession, and like, sorry to psychoanalyze people.  This is what we say when like, what are you compensating for, and like, it's not about penis size, it's about feeling valuable in the world.  I wanna be a human who matters and that's what I'm compensating for.  That's why I have a big truck.

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I wanna--this like, this way of examining people I disagree with is so powerful, 'cause I'm like, oh, oh, I wanna matter, too.  We just, we just understand mattering differently.  I look at the Tesla truck and I do not see a truck that people are gonna use to work.  Maybe, and it does tow, like it can tow heavy things, but like, the language around it, the marketing language has nothing to do with work, it has to do with like, the strength of it, the power, how indestructible it is, and like, I don't want indestructible trucks on the road.  I want them to crumple softly when they hit my Honda Civic instead of tearing through it and leaving me in two parts and having no scratches.  Like, I am a soft bag of meat inside a Honda Civic and I want there to be as few indestructible knife trucks on the road as possible, but it feels really cool to be in a big heavy high weird looking stainless steel knife truck and that seems to be mostly what the Tesla truck is about in its marketing language, and I was hoping for something that was more about utility and it seems to not be very much about utility.  

The people who are cutting down this tree, they're working.  They need a truck!  And I don't--they don't seem like the kind of guys who are gonna get a Tesla truck.  That's very loud!  If you look at how effective things have been, running out there and saying you need to be less consumerist, you need to decouple your identity from the things that you buy, has been less effective than getting people on board to buy things that look cool and make them feel good and different and powerful and like they matter.

Like, it's a big tension inside of me.  It feels wrong to be pushing environmentalism in that way because ultimately we need to decouple those things.  

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But we also need to push forward better environmental options and that's not gonna happen by being super boring.  Like, we saw what the EV 1 looked like, and if you say, like, we want to make this the greenest car possible, it's gonna look boring, and if instead you say like, it's not gonna be about saving every single kilowatt hour of electricity you can, it's gonna be about making the coolest product that is also an electric car and gets us off pumping fossil fuels into our car.  It gets us to centralizing our power emissions so that we can control them there and also in a place where, when we do switch, as is happening, to a more sustainable mix of electric power generation, then every year your car gets greener, so this tension is part of why there is some backlash against Tesla.  I think that the broader story of why there's backlash against Tesla is much bigger than that.  

I mean, having said that, you're gonna think I mean something that I don't mean.  I think this is part of the arc of cool, where when something very cool starts to happen, it just seems very cool because the only people who know about it are the ones who think it's cool and then it goes mainstream and then you have people who inevitably backlash against it and then you start to see some of the cracks in the paint because there are always cracks in the paint and what the specific cracks in this specific paint are is kind of irrelevant.  You know, obviously, we can talk about the specifics, but it's normal arc of cool stuff.  It'd be nice if the cracks weren't there, but they are, and people who don't want to admit that the cracks are there, they are!  But I don't know, like, it turns out, if you want to push innovation, you have to lean into society as it exists and we weren't fixing the problem by drinking kombucha and like, converting, you know, a total of 200 cars to run on fry oil.  

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That wasn't gonna do it, and so the thing that Tesla has done has been the most effective at doing the thing!  Tesla didn't come out with a car that was boring.  It sold expensive cars to people who could afford them, because that's how new products get pushed into a market.  You don't come into a market with a value product. 

Something that's entirely market shifting, you can't start at value because the people who are value-buyers are gonna be safe and careful and buy the normal thing that they're used to.  If you're trying to shift a market, you have to come in at the high price point.  You have to come in with a luxury product.  It's just how it works.  I wish it didn't, because I hate luxury products viscerally inside my soul because they reinforce the idea that your value as a person comes down to what you can consume, and that's fundamentally anti-environmentalist.  This is the tension!  I talked a lot to get here, but that's the thing!