Including Audio Version by Jim Goad!
Clash of the Billionaire Comic-Book Supervillains
It all started with a simple five-word tweet Monday night in which billionaire tech titan and current owner of Twitter Elon Musk compared another billionaire to a fictional character in the Marvel comic-book universe:
Soros reminds me of Magneto
I’ve pored over these five words countless times, but I don’t see the word “Jews” anywhere. In a follow-up tweet, Musk clarified that Soros “wants to erode the very fabric of civilization. Soros hates humanity,” so his original tweet seems intended to paint both George Soros and Magneto in a negative light, but the only thing I could honestly glean from Musk’s tweet is that is he is a virulent anti-Sorite and a rabid anti-Magnite.
Soros is, by his own admission, Jewish. Magneto (pronounced “mag-NEET-oh”), a character created by Jewish cartoon magnates Stan Lee and Jack Kirby back in 1963, is also Jewish. As Magneto’s character developed over the years, he also became, like Soros, someone who had lived through the Holocaust and sought to reshape the world so that such a dastardly event never happens again.
At first blush, one would assume that the world’s avid Jew-defenders feel that surviving the Holocaust and trying to mold the world so that it never happens again are good things, no? So even though Musk intended it as an insult, why did they furiously start shvitzing rather than calm the fuck down and take it as a compliment?
In 2008 — 35 years after Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first introduced Magneto to the world and the character had undergone several iterations that involved flip-flopping from archvillain to righteous avenger of Nazis — Lee told an interviewer:
[I] did not think of Magneto as a bad guy. He just wanted to strike back at the people who were so bigoted and racist . . . he was trying to defend the mutants, and because society was not treating them fairly he was going to teach society a lesson. He was a danger of course . . . but I never thought of him as a villain.
I can’t honestly infer from Musk’s tweet that he was implying that both Soros and Magneto are evil because they’re Jewish, but that didn’t stop those who smell anti-Semitism in their pancake syrup — which is the obsessive flip side to tasting Jews in your sandwiches — to leap to that conclusion.
In an article titled “Elon Musk Among the Anti-Semites,” Yair Rosenberg at The Atlantic wrote that Musk “echoed paranoid anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists.
He painted Soros as a literal comic-book villain.”
At The Washington Post, Avi Selk and Herb Scribner accused Musk of indulging in “long-standing conspiracy theories that paint him as a godlike billionaire Jew who uses his philanthropic foundations to flood Europe with refugees and corrupt American politics.”
“The Twitter owner has turned into a full-fledged right-wing conspiracy theorist,” barked Rolling Stone, adding that “Soros is also Jewish and Hungarian and thus has been a main character in a slew of antisemitic conspiracy theories about a globalist new world order that seeks to destroy society as we know it.”
That sure seems like a lot of people talking about “antisemitic conspiracy theories”! It’s almost as if everyone in the world is talking about them except for Elon Musk. Perhaps he was secretly using one of those notorious anti-Semitic dog whistles that only people who are obsessed with anti-Semitism are able to hear.
The virulently charmless Jonathan Greenblatt, head honcho of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), tweeted:
Soros often is held up by the far-right, using antisemitic tropes, as the source of the world’s problems. To see @ElonMusk, regardless of his intent, feed this segment — comparing him to a Jewish supervillain, claiming Soros “hates humanity” — is not just distressing, it’s dangerous: it will embolden extremists who already contrive anti-Jewish conspiracies and have tried to attack Soros and Jewish communities as a result.
The ADL has definitely changed the tune that they’re blowing on their shofar in the past 20 years. Back in 2003, when Soros suggested that Jewish behavior was partially responsible for anti-Jewish sentiments, then-ADL helmsman Abe Foxman said that Soros had “blamed the victim.”
Musk, who obviously has a far better sense of humor than Soros, responded to Greenblatt with a curt, “Hey stop defaming me.” In a subsequent tweet, he said, “ADL should just drop the ‘A.’”
Musk’s comparison of George Soros to a Jewish comic-book character so inflamed Israel’s Foreign Ministry that they kvetched out the following tweet:
The phrase “The Jews” spiked today on the list of topics trending on Twitter following a tweet with antisemitic overtones by none other than the owner and CEO of the social network, Elon Musk. . . . [It] immediately led to antisemitic conspiracy theories on Twitter.
Just like the ADL, Israel’s Foreign Ministry has recently taken to smelling far more anti-Semitism in their pancake syrup than they smelled in the past. In 2017, they denounced Soros by claiming that he “continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself.”
So is anti-Semitism actually on the rise, or are the people who smell it in their pancake syrup getting touchier? The obvious answer is, “You’re an anti-Semite for even asking that question.”
On Wednesday, Musk doubled and tripled down on his shameless impenitence by tweeting that his original comparison of Soros to Magneto was “really unfair to Magneto.” It reminded me of my own joke, of which I’m so proud that I keep repeating it whenever I get the chance, that whenever black people get upset about being compared to monkeys, no one ever asks the monkeys how they feel about being compared to black people.
When confronted by CNBC’s David Faber about whether he was an anti-Semite, Musk denied it: “I’m a pro-Semite, if anything.” So not only is he an anti-Semite, he’s also a liar.
Speaking of liars, the whole ridiculous kerfuffle dredged up old rumors accusing Soros of being a traitor to his own people during the Second World War. These rumors were, predictably, dismissed as “lies” and “anti-Semitic conspiracy theories” and the whole ball of wax and bar of human soap. But during a 1998 profile on 60 Minutes, Soros said he pretended he was a Christian during the war and admitted that he “helped in the confiscation of property from the Jews.” He also expressed zero remorse for doing so. The crucial part of the video interview is here, the relevant quotes were entered into the Congressional Record here, and the entire 60 Minutes profile is here.
So unlike the fictional Magneto, the real-life George Soros enabled the persecution of Jews during the Second World War. Can you say the same thing about anyone being smeared as a “Nazi” or an “anti-Semite” these days?
Sure, despite describing himself as a “free-speech absolutist,” Musk’s version of Twitter has routinely banned several high-profile accused “Nazis” and serial Jew-namers. But as the world’s second-richest man, Musk is the highest-status billionaire willing to clap back at free-speech antagonists such as the ADL. In doing so, he has become a comic-book supervillain to humorless Leftists just as George Soros is the cartoonish bête noire for the modern Right.
What we’re witnessing may be an epochal circulation of elites, a once-in-a-lifetime changing of the guard. I’ve learned not to get my hopes up too high about anything anymore, but let’s close our eyes, click our heels, and pretend just for a moment that the newer elites might have a better sense of humor and not be so ruthlessly censorious and obnoxiously mendacious as the elites they’re replacing.
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