There’s a reason the History Channel has produced hundreds of documentaries about Hitler but only a few about Dwight D. Eisenhower. Bad guys (and gals) are eternally fascinating. Behind the Bastards dives in past the Cliffs Notes of the worst humans in history and exposes the bizarre realities of their lives. Listeners will learn about the young adult novels that helped Hitler form his monstrous ideology, the founder of Blackwater’s insane quest to build his own Air Force, the bizarre lives of the sons and daughters of dictators and Saddam Hussein’s side career as a trashy romance novelist.
Wed, 03 Jun 2020 10:00
Robert is joined by Sofiya Alexandra to discuss Elon Musk.
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Hello, I'm Erica Kelly from the podcast Southern Fried True crime, and if you want to go from podcast fan to podcast host, do what I did and check out spreaker from iheart. I was working in accounting and hating it. Then after just 18 months of podcasting with Spreaker, I was able to quit my day job. Follow your podcasting dreams, let's break or handle the hosting, creation, distribution, and monetization of your podcast. Go to spreaker.com. That's spreaker.com. Hey there, it's Ebony Monet, your co-host for the San Diego Zoo's Amazing Wildlife podcast. In this special episode, we're speaking with Doctor Jane Goodall about the fascinating journey that led to her social discoveries on chimpanzees. So four whole months, the chimps ran away from me. I mean, they take one look at this peculiar white ape and disappear into the vegetation. Bing wildlife on the iHeartRadio app or wherever you get your podcasts? Hey guys, I'm Kaylee, short on my podcast. Too much to say. I share my thoughts on everything from music to martinis, social media to social anxiety, regrets to risky text, and so much more. I have been known to read my literal diary entries on my show, and sometimes I do interviews with my crazy group of friends, so if you guys want to tune in, you can hear new episodes of too much to say every Wednesday on the national podcast network. Available on the. My heart radio app, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to him. Kirk, I'm Robert Evans, host of behind the ******** and my producer Sophie, right before we started recording, called Elon Musk a cuck. So, Elon, if you're listening, you have been accused of being a card. Yeah, what's cucking my my Lib ***** or whatever? I don't know. I just. I I hate cuck is an insult. But I also really enjoy saying cuck. And I that's the thing I have to hide because people who say cook on the Internet are all the worst people. And Nate Silver, who is one of the worst people. And I choose not to put myself in that category, but it is fun to say **** but you can reclaim it. You know what I'm saying? You can reclaim it. Yeah, but I don't want to claim it in the context of Elon Musk because he's no, I don't like him. I haven't seen Robert smile that big in a really long time. He likes it when I come on and make him blush and then also talk about cooks. Yeah, he's like he he. Alexandra. Hear you guys? Yeah. Sofia? Alexandra. How you doing? Sofia? I'm. I'm, you know, surviving in a current hell. Yeah. I'm lying. I'm spiraling. How about you, Robert? I'm also spiraling. I'm having such a bad day. Sophia, it sounds like you are, too. I'm so not happy to hear that you you know what will make this day better? Are you gonna tell me about a ******* that I have been dying to hear about? Yeah, I think we're gonna talk about Elon Musk for like 2 1/2 hours. Ohh **** yes. Are you ******* on board for this **** fest with him and his inability to be a good father and just all of these other things and his his relationship with Grimes? There aren't things that I won't read about Elon Musk because I find the whole thing fascinating. Also, obviously, he's terrible. Yeah, he is. And I don't know, there won't be as much about his kids in here just because I don't like talking about people's kids. And I haven't heard allegations of, like, abuse or anything like that. So I just mean his attitude on fatherhood, like, he's like, no, I'll be gone forever. Yes, yes, yes. Yeah. We will be talking about that. We will be talking about, we'll be talking about super much about Grimes just because that's all kind of new. But we'll be talking about his relationships with women. We will be talking about a lot of. We will be talking too much. I wrote 14,000 words about Elon Musk. We're going to be talking too much about him. He's the James Cameron of science, OK? We're like, he that that should be James Cameron, right? And it's not, sadly, but yeah, just, you know, from the way that he commits to his movies and how little time he commits to his relationships compared to his movies, that he was like, for sure a terrible father and husband. And that's why I like Catherine. ******* what's her face? Bigelow went and had to make her locker. She's like, this is less traumatic than my marriage anyway, sorry. Yeah, the same to me. It's the same to me, speaking as a career obsessed man who has had a lot of relationship issues for years as a result of being a career obsessed man, we're bad people to be in relationships with. Dude, I'm here to workaholic. I ******* yeah, yeah. I mean, you do live in Los Angeles. So does Elon Musk. And he always will. All that **** about moving to Texas is *********. And in fact, someone just released evidence that the day that he was, like, talking about maybe moving his plant to Texas, he applied for a bunch of expansions of the factory in California. Like, he was always just full of **** and lying. He's great. He loves lying. He does. And I'm going to tell you right now, I don't know, maybe you'll feel differently. The first episode of this, you're going to wind up kind of sympathetic about him because there are reasons to be sympathetic about him and I do think you know me. Yeah, we'll see. We'll see. We'll see. He's he's an abuse victim, so, like, that's lame. Like, it's not lame, to be sure. Hitler had a tough for a while with his art. Like, I don't know, what are we doing here? I mean, it's Hitler's moms cancer that really gets tugged at the heartstrings. But yeah, I mean, yes, that's what we're doing. Just saying things that are normal, that have happened to bad people. Not normal, but bad things that happen to bad people. What? What I want is for people to hate bad people for the right reasons. And I do think some of the reasons Elon Musk gets **** are the wrong reasons. And there are so many really good things to give him **** about that I I want to make sure everyone is giving him **** for the proper reason. You want to direct the hate. I want to direct the hate towards things that that that deserve your hate and it in within the same person, which maybe is being too picky, but this is what I do for some reason. And nobody asked asked me to do this, but I do it. I just want to tell you that I'm pretty sure I hate him for all of the quote UN quote right reasons, but there's a lot of those so pretty ******* petty. So there's probably some **** in there that I do not need to hate him. Well, this will be good because I will try to be scrupulously fair as I outline why he's a ***** ** **** and you will not give a **** about that and just and that will, that will please both of the segments of people that listen to this podcast. I love coming on because every time I connect with some of your listeners who I love, and then other people on Reddit are like, I wish she would just kill herself and eat her heart, **** on her ******* graves. That's me. Every week. I would say Reddits Reddits part of the 90% of the Internet or so that we never should have made. But speaking about things that never should have been made, let's let's talk about Elon Musk. Yeah, transition. So I I did not want to do an episode about Elon Musk. And I still kind of don't, although I changed my mind on that over the course of the episode. And my attitude on him for most of the time I've known about him has been it's bad to be a billionaire and I know that he did some messed up stuff to get where he has has gotten. But also his businesses are things that I broadly support, like electric cars are are good. Space travel I think is good and and should be easier. And I I do think actually people will disagree. About this we'll talk about this at the end. I think there are things that are positive about SpaceX. So, like, it was one of those things. It was like, all the people in the world. Like, yeah, I think he's ****** and lame, but like, why am I going to go after him in particular? And having spent an entire week reading everything I can about Elon Musk, I now feel very comfortable talking about him for three hours. I don't know, I just didn't want to do this for a long time. And I guess what? What finally pushed me over the edge was his reaction to the coronavirus. And it was like after weeks. So I don't know if you've been following Elon on Twitter during this, but for weeks he called fears over the coronavirus dumb. He initially, when it first hit, predicted that like it. The panic was stupid and it was going to be like a nothing burger. And then obviously it shut down the entire world. So he was wrong on that prediction. Then he predicted that we would be at no new cases by the end of April. By the end of April, like a couple 1000 people a day were dying in the United States. So we're not, not not. He was not right on that either. And then he went, like, kind of straight up into MAGA on Twitter with, like, tweeting Free America now in all caps and like, very studiously reopening his Alameda County Tesla factory, which by the way, is considered one of the most dangerous factories in the United States and a number of his workers protested and said, like, he should be in prison for the safety standards here. Yeah, it's cool. It's it's pretty great that, you know, we've been talking about how we are spiraling, but like, honestly, compared to that. Sorry, Robert. No, we're doing great. I've never been so freaked out by reality that I abandoned it in favor of something insane like Maga. Yeah, it's like it's it's super weird slogans like free America that, yeah, not relate to the complex realities of a virus or a pandemic. It's remarkable to me how weak a person you have to be to not be able to handle this as a billionaire. Like, it's it's really just get on your ******* yacht home like 8 top. Tony Robbins is on it. That can ******* set you right. Like, what's going on? Yeah, like it's it. This should be fine, but no, it's not for Elon. The same month that he tweeted all of that stupid ******** he tweeted that Tesla stock price was too high, which instantly cut $14 billion from the company's value in a matter of minutes because the stock market totally makes sense. This really ****** *** a lot of his most loyal followers who were all like. His, his, his mentions for days were people being like, you just tanked the value of My Portfolio with the hell you Eli. Our suspicions. I don't think there's possible to confirm this, but people have suspected that he did this because essentially the way that like ******* stocks work, he was about to have, like, temporarily taking the value of Tesla reduced his tax burden, basically. Like he did that to save some money on taxes, which is like, illegal, but also the kind of illegal that, like nobody ever really gets in trouble for. But also, yeah, kind of selfish. That is so remarkable. Yeah, you would rather hurt every single investor in your. Company, yeah. Then to just ******* take it on the chin and pay taxes. When billionaires paying taxes is good for the world, it's it's cool. And again, those are suspicions that people have voiced and not something that we can prove because Elon Musk has many lawyers. I want to be clear when we when we state other people's suspicions, we are not stating an objective fact. No one knows why he tweeted that dumb thing that tanked the value of his stock. That is 1 suspicion. Uhm. He also tweeted quote I am selling almost all physical possessions will own no house, and he quickly followed up by noting that his girlfriend Grimes was mad at him for this. And then he did list all of his mansions so. And it's like, he talks about. Is that like, a weird flex? What is that supposed to be? Yeah, it's a thing. I read this book about Elon Musk that we'll talk about a little bit more later, like a biography about him that was published in 2015 for this. And in it, like, the biographer Ashley Vance notes that, like, he travels around all the time. Like, he'll spend like, 2 days in LA, two days in San Francisco. And like, when he goes to San Francisco, he usually will just crash at a friend's house on their couch. And, like, the way it's related is that, like, he's just this kind of obsessive workaholic who doesn't care about material. Things, but it's like, no, the friend that you're crashing at is like the founder of Google. Like, like like like you're not like chilling and like your buddies like studio apartment, like, like the couch is your own guest mansion. Yeah, yeah, like or if it is a couch, it is a $70,000 couch. Like it is a couch with that. That is worth more than some cities, like. Like. Anyway, several days after tweeting that he was selling all of his earthly possessions, his I think, still girlfriend Grimes gave birth to the couple's first child together. And like Musk, 6th or 7th kid, he went viral again when he announced that the boys name would be X AEA 12, and that is not how he says it's supposed to be pronounced. I don't care. It's a dumb name for a baby. The state of California agrees. It's a dumb name for a baby, and they have signaled that it is not an acceptable name. Under state health codes. So that's cool. We'll see how that works out. I'm sure he'll find a way to get his his stupid way on this. Although he says it was Grimes's decision, which maybe it was, I don't think she makes great decisions either. I mean, she is having his baby. Yeah, clearly not the best decision making process. He's again, as I've mentioned. Already has like a billion kids he doesn't care about. Yeah, I don't know. So the thing that, like, really set me off, like, all of this is very silly. And it it's silly in general that a man with this much wealth spends anytime at all on Twitter, because you shouldn't. Like you, you just shouldn't. Like none of us should. But you especially shouldn't if you can buy a yacht. And before anybody who follows Musk had any chance to really digest all of this **** or stop laughing about it, Musk dropped another bombshell when he tweeted take the red pill alongside a red rose emoji. Now, at various points in time on Twitter, Musk has identified himself as a socialist without really explaining what he means by that. So this might have been him talking about democratic socialism, but it probably wasn't. I think anyone listening knows like what red pill means on the far right, and Musk was immediately embraced by the worst people on the Internet, including Ivanka Trump, who quote tweeted him Lily Wachowski, 1/2 of the duo responsible for in coming up with the term red pill. Yeah, told them both to go **** themselves. So all of this made me go, OK, I gotta ******* write about Elon Musk. Like, we got it. We got to do this. I've been watching the whiling out too, and I've been like. Just. It's reminding me of kind of the Kanye breakdown. Yeah. Where like the line between eccentricity and just like becoming a bad person has becoming a little, like more blurred for them than it ever has been. And people are trying to. There's very few stands. We're still around. We're like, no, no, no, 100% probably still means good. Yeah, in the background. But it's it's telling that when people like Ivanka Trump. Retweet you and support you and you don't say anything like and you don't say no. **** you like, yeah, that's yeah, you. You know if people misinterpreted it. That's on you to set it. Yeah, to be like, no, not these people. Yeah. And I I can't say if Elon's in the process of, I don't know, embracing the alt right or, like going full MAGA, or if he's just shitposting because he does that all of the time. Yeah, uh. In a Business Insider interview that came out today, which is actually written by the woman who wrote the biography that will refer to regularly in this episode, he stated that he makes a lot of stupid tweets he did. He did own that, but he didn't specify which tweets were stupid, which is kind of like the most cowardly way to acknowledge that you tweet a bunch of **** ****. He also stated that Twitter was a valuable way for him to engage with his fans without a filter, which is not true of anyone who has ever had fans. There's no value in Twitter. Everyone should exactly what Trump says to to justify his Twitter presence. Yeah, yeah. Now, when it comes to analyzing whether or not Elon Musk is a ******* and that doesn't like, obviously I think it's unethical to be a billionaire. But I don't think like every billionaire doesn't deserve to have a behind the ********. Because most of them, like, I I still don't even know I'm gonna write about Bezos because it would just wind up being like a list of bad Amazon practices. But I think he's pretty boring. I don't know, maybe I will one day, but like you. There has to be like, you have to be interestingly ****** to qualify for this show, and I I do think Elon qualifies now, now that I understand him better. Now, I should start by noting that most of our information on him comes from Elon himself or his close family members, most of whom have financial ties to Elon. So there is a dearth of objective information, particularly about his early life. And the other chunk of information we have from his early adulthood on comes from people who dislike him for one reason or another, so it's hard to get objective. Sources about this guy. And as a result, there are two competing elans that appear if you study his life story. And so the Elon that his fans tend to see is the awkward genius driven manically to save the world and so obsessed with this goal that he fails to understand the needs or cater to the feelings of normal people. And it's usually sort of like, but it's OK because he's really brilliant and trying to save the world. Sheldon from Big Bang, yeah. Yes. Big Bang Theory, kind of. No one has benefited. I will say no human being has benefited more from our Hollywood induced misunderstanding of autism than Elon Musk. Like he he he has been the primary beneficiary of that. It's cool. It's not. Yeah. So just. And so the other view of him is that he's just another sociopathic billionaire ******* who treats human beings that make his wealth possible like a 15 year old boy treats Kleenex. That's what I think. Yeah. Yeah. So optimist. Yeah. The main source for this episode is a book titled Elon Musk, Tesla, SpaceX, and the quest for a fantastic future by Ashley Vance. It was published in 2015. So this was before Musk's social media presence made him problematic. Do a lot of people who either liked him or tolerated him quietly before. It is a broadly positive book, and it verges on fawning when it talks about Tesla and SpaceX technology. But it's not entirely positive, and it's evaluation of Elon himself and is very critical about him. At a number of points when the book was published, Musk took to Twitter to complain about stories other people had told about him that he disagreed with, but he also continued to do interviews with Ashley Vance, so he's obviously not that angry. Elon did cooperate with the book and the story behind how that. Seem to be is deeply revealing about his personality. So he learned that Vance was working on his biography early in the process. And I'm just going to quote Ashley now, writing about how that introduction went. I'd informed him of my plans to write a book about him, and he did. Informed me of his plans not to cooperate. His rejection stung, but thrust me into dogged reporter mode. If I had to do this book without him, so be it. Plenty of people had left Musk's companies, Tesla Motors and SpaceX, and would talk, and I already knew a lot of his friends. The interviews followed one after another month. After a month and 200 or so people into the process, I heard from Musk once again. He called me at home and declared that things could go one of two ways. He could make my life very difficult, or he could help with the project. After all, he'd be willing to cooperate if he could read the book before it went to publication and could add footnotes throughout it. Wow, the balls on it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm only 5. Total approval of everything you say about me. Would that be cool with you artistically, integrity wise, as a writer, as a journalist? What do you think? It's even more frustrating than that. He would not meddle with my text, but wanted the chance to set the record straight and spots he deemed factually inaccurate. So he wanted. He didn't want to just, he didn't want to be, have to be able to approve her text. He wanted to be able to basically write his own biography alongside her biography that argued with it. Such an actually guy move. I can't even. It's really. He's like a reply guy to the 1,000,000. Yeah. Like it's one of those things I entered this project being like, I don't know if this guy is gonna be really interesting enough to do an episode about. And once I read that part of the introduction, I was like, OK, yeah, I'm doing the right thing. Like, yeah, the. Because that kind of says everything about him as a human being, really. So yeah, being a journalist, Vance said no. And this is partly because she. Weird that he'd write dozens of pages of footnotes that would carry out the actual biography itself, which is almost certainly true, and partly because in her words, quote, Musk has his version of the truth, and it's not always the version of the truth that the rest of the world shares. Now, to Elon's credit, when Vance stood her ground and agreed to cut, he agreed to cooperate with the book anyway. Ashley says that he's the kind of person who respects it, and people around him set strong boundaries and hold firm in their convictions. Of course, when the book came out and it included anecdotes about Elon that he did not like, he took to Twitter to provide his own. Footnote. So he is absolutely the guy that he you think he is. We're going to get into Musk's early life in a second, but before we do, I want to read run more segment from Ashley's introduction. This moment comes during the first dinner she and Elon shared after he agreed to cooperate with her project quote. 2 1/2 hours after he started, must put his hands on the table, made a move to get up and then paused, locked eyes with me and busted out that incredible question. Do you think I'm insane? The oddity of the moment left me speechless for a beat with my every synapse fired, trying to figure out if this was some sort of Riddle and if so, how should it be answered artfully? It was only after I had spent lots of time with that is just so terrifying. If I was interviewing a man, he said that to me, I would be terrified. Goofy, terrifying, horrifying. You have a real responsibility just as like, a dude and also as a as a dude who has any kind of prominence. And I don't have the same kind of prominence that Musk does. But I I I I do regularly wind up in situations where, like, I'm well known by a lot of the people there. You have, like a real responsibility to not creep people out, like a moral responsibility, especially if you're, like, clearly have more power in the situation than the other person. And yeah. That is definitely a creepy way to react. Or way to act. It would make me feel so unsafe. Yeah, and I wouldn't read the rest of what Ashley says here because.