“ ‘Take the red pill.’ ”
That’s Tesla TSLA, -0.51% boss Elon Musk delivering a cryptic message on Sunday to his 34.3 million Twitter TWTR, +1.54% followers — the latest in a long line of his social-media headscratchers.
After Musk recently named his child ‘X Æ A-12,” nothing should come as a surprise anymore. But, really, what is he talking about this time?
Well, for the uninitiated, the “red pill” is a reference to the science-fiction classic “The Matrix.”
Without going too far down the nerdy rabbit hole, the film’s protagonist, played by Keanu Reeves, is given a choice: He can take the blue pill and return to his regular life, or he can choose the red pill and learn the whole truth about living in a computer simulation.
Basically, blissful ignorance or hard truths.
Over the years, the internet has put its spin on how the phrase can be used, and the “red pill” has come to mean very different things to different groups of people. As with just about everything these days, political lines have been drawn between the red and blue pills.
Urban Dictionary captures the range of interpretations. The one Musk was probably going for says the red pill “opens someone’s eyes and mind to the secret truth of something important.”
Then there’s the one Musk’s critics prefer: “A small fundamentalist internet subculture of angry, thirsty, mostly white, conservative males who blame all their romantic and social failures on women.”
Either way, Musk got the endorsement of President Donald Trump’s daughter:
From there, fans of both Elon Musk and Ivanka Trump celebrated their beloved red-pill takers, and the right-wing political awakening many assumed it to mean.
But the woman behind referenced phrase, “The Matrix” co-creator Lilly Wachowski, wasn’t having it, and she showed up in their mentions to completely kill the vibe:
As far as the red-pilling of Musk, he has stolen headlines lately as an unlikely hero of the right, calling stay-at-home orders “fascist” and threatening to move Tesla out of California. His protests have drawn the ire of critics, including one San Diego assemblywoman who hit him with an F-bomb after he said he was taking his headquarters to Texas or Nevada.