On Monday, reports emerged in Page Six, the tabloid New York Post’s gossip page, that Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is dating none other than musician Grimes. At first, I didn’t know what to make of this, because—confession: I had absolutely no idea who Grimes is.
But reader, after roughly 20 minutes of research, I have concluded that this pairing is a match made in Musk Heaven.
Some context here: Starting all the way back in high school, I was the kind of musically ignorant kid who graduated from thinking System of a Down was a band with a real political message as a freshman to the kind of kid who thought Tool was deeper as a senior. (I discovered I liked The Offspring in 2011, approximately 13 years after “Pretty Fly for a White Guy.”) Since then... Look, it’s mostly been a series of thinly veiled attempts to pretend I know what’s going on in the music industry that most recently culminated in appreciating Run the Jewels as presented through YouTube’s “Up Next” feature.
So when informed about the alleged Musk-Grimes pairing, I was reduced to context clues—such as the Post’s statement that the two bonded after Musk was “researching the idea of joking” about Roko’s Basilisk, a thought experiment over a hypothetical future AI eternally torturing all those who didn’t “help it into existence.” What if it was Rococo’s Basilisk, both apparently thought:
A source tells us the pair met around a month ago online, of course, through a joke Musk had planned to tweet but discovered Grimes had already made, dealing with the complications of artificial intelligence.
Thought experiment Roko’s Basilisk considers the hypothesis of a future where AI lords over the world and could punish those who did not help it into existence. His joke was to merge this thought experiment with a pun using “Rococo,” referring to the ornate French 18th century baroque style, perhaps pointing out that both concepts are complex, too extreme and ridiculous.
And while this takes some explaining, arty performer Grimes was already in on the same joke — three years ahead of Musk.
Apparently, Grimes came up with the same bad “Rococo’s Basilisk” pun in her 2015 video for the song “Flesh Without Blood,” which also has some allegedly deep imagery referring to the French Revolution and Marie Antoinette. The two then learned of the other independently coming up with the pun on Twitter.
“OK,” I thought. “This makes more sense.”
But still, I was lost. What did Elon Musk, a PR-loving billionaire with a knack for flamethrower-themed stunts and losing it during phone calls, have in common with Grimes? Their shared love for overly wrought nerdy puns was a huge clue, but more clues began mounting up regarding their mutual affinity for bad tweets:
Still confused, I asked for guidance in Slack, and was informed by one colleague:
u kno how elon is all ‘does the narwhal bacon?’
grimes is like ‘i wrote a song abt a space vampire version of al pacino’s character in godfather 2'.
From there, another colleague directed me to Grime’s 2011 video for a different song, “Vanessa”:
This, reader, is where it all began to click. The song is pretty good! But random black-and-white or blurry shots of dancers dancing awkwardly, misapplying makeup, or covering their faces in blood or makeup or something? It’s all very deep and meaningful and also lol, random—the same broad variety of thought process that could result in thinking yelling at your own investors or abruptly locking all the contractors out of your factory is all part of shattering the grand illusion. GTMA!!!
Also, while I was researching this article I learned Musk and Grimes attended the Met Gala on Monday while the latter was wearing a Tesla choker, so that just about seals the deal.
Having now researched all of this in the briefest way possible, it all makes sense, and I wish Elon Musk and Grimes the utmost happiness in their relationship. I look forward to future reports of them deciding to spontaneously appreciate life by co-founding a whimsical candy company or going for a surprise go-karting adventure that involves skipping all the kids in line.
Please don’t @ me.