The Tinker Bell Complex

Electric Vehicle Farm 2A

[pre-script: The “EV Farm” logo is based on the Tesla and SpaceX logos in red, on a yellow background, an inversion of the yellow-on-red Soviet colour scheme. The Soviet flag was the inspiration for the “hoof-and-horn” Animal Farm flag.]

Elon Musk’s manic self-promotion and mansplaining sprees aren’t signs of strength but of weakness. Musk has a Tinker Bell Complex: when people stop believing in him, he dies (inside).

That’s why he doesn’t stay in his own lane. 

That’s why he tries to swim in every lane, simultaneously.

And that’s why he barges into new fields as desperately as Homer Simpson pushing kids out of the way at an ice cream truck.

Elon Musk shoving past researchers to get to the front of a new field of study - The Simpsons

Musk is afraid someone will disrupt his incumbency as the go-to guru, the “Dr. Oz”, for techies: Twitter, Twitter, on the wall, who’s the Kloutiest one of all?

Alas, everyone loses their clout eventually. Even Klout, which was klosed in 2018 by -- wait for it -- Lithium Technologies.

It may seem unfair to compare a grown man to an insubstantial fairy -- in the 1904 theatre play, Tinker Bell was represented by a darting light -- so let me point out that Tinker Bell is variously described as:

“Ill-tempered, spoiled, jealous, vindictive [...] The extremes in her personality are explained in the story by the fact that a fairy’s size prevents her from holding more than one feeling at a time, so when she is angry she has no counterbalancing compassion.” - Wikipedia

(Clearly, Tinker Bell would have benefited from the secrets of Homer’s “window to weight gain”.)


A Paradigm Detour or Twelve 

Arguing for Musk’s Tinker Bell Complex is a paradigm change. It fits the facts far better than his amplified narrative, but it’s a radically different take.

Dusting off our Bay Area buzzwords, we might call it a disruptive assertation, which creates a new community and meme set, and eventually displaces incumbent perspectives, hitherto-friendly media coverage and fan enthusiasm.

It takes time for paradigm changes to stick, so we’ll camp here briefly, before pushing further into Tesla’s arc of darkness. 


When it comes to paradigm changes, any desiccated, bromidic scrivener could scrawl a cliché about the heliocentric model of the solar system explaining the planets’ motion better than the earth-centered model. 

But I’m no desiccated, bromidic scrivener. 

So here’s a thousand-word picture explaining why many societies count in dozens, when humans have ten fingers. (For further reading: A Universal History of Numbers.) 

There are 12 finger-joints on a hand. Why use both hands to count to 10, when you can use the thumb and fingers of one hand to count to 12?

There will be five fingers on the unused hand. Use each finger to count groups of 12, and you get 5 x 12 = 60, the ancient Sumerians’ favourite number. They counted in base-60, a “sexagesimal” system, still with us in the form of time (60 minutes / hour; 60 seconds / minute), angles and geographic coordinates (the 360 degree circle; 60 minutes per degree; 60 seconds per minute).

Use this counting system and two hands together give a value of 72 (60 from the left hand, 12 on the right hand). 

We might expect 72 to become numerical shorthand for “lots” or “many” in Sumerian-influenced cultures, and 72 does pop up occasionally in Egyptian mythology, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. (Uses of 72 in eastern religions are most likely derived from different culturally-relevant numbers.)


The “twelve finger-joints on a hand” paradigm fits the facts better than every other “Theory of Dozens” combined. It’s still obscure, but its dominance will come with outreach and time.

So it is with Musk’s Tinker Bell Complex.

And so it is with $TSLAQ. 

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