Over the weekend, Twitter was greeted to this exchange between Elon Musk, Ivanka Trump, and Matrix co-creator Lilly Wachowski that nobody could've seen coming, but was simultaneously super predictable.
The entire concept of "the red pill" has been co-opted by so many different terrible people and groups around the internet that it's worth asking, with a straight face: did all of these people watch a different movie?
No, for real, did they pick up a VHS copy of it at a flea market in 2002 that was somehow missing the part of the tape explaining what the red pill would reveal? Because the people who have been trapped in the Matrix are effectively living in sewers. How do you sit in a mansion like Musk or Trump have and go, "Yes, I am like that. If only someone would free me from the filth and decay in which I sit." They could, in theory, be forgiven for not having watched the movie through a "lens of transness," as the Wachowskis have suggested, but that would require some thought.
It's the same thing with Fight Club, which came out the same year. It was such a dark, hilarious, homoerotic satire of toxic masculinity that's gotten half the teenage boys in America to start forming their own little fight clubs over the years, completely unaware of the idiocy of that. But watching it as an adult who can think for themselves, it's pretty easy to look at The Narrator and roll your eyes into the back of your head -- like, can this guy with a steady job and paycheck just shut up already? And why does he choose to live in a condemned house? There's nothing about that personality to aspire to.
The answer with both these movies is that willfully misunderstanding the point is super on-brand with Musk and Trump's connections to a terrible brand of wealthy, white, personal grievance politics. Musk is, presently, trying to play his hand hard enough to force the state of California to let him open his factories at a risk to everyone's health (his own included, and the man now has a new baby). Trump is the daughter of a man whose ignorance and desire to "reopen America" is killing thousands of people. Any actual red pill would show them to be the robots. (Musk ... might actually be happy about that, and Ivanka Trump being a robot would explain a lot.)
There are a ton of people -- trans people especially -- who can and should watch The Matrix and insert themselves into the narrative, using it to take a deeper look at their own lives and come to terms with reality. But for Elon Musk and Ivanka Trump, utilizing any theoretical red pill like this only serves to agitate an already-disaffected demographic without realizing they and their buddies at the top created the sewers we're living in. So as Lilly Wachowski so succinctly put it, fuck both of them.
Top Image: The Matrix/Warner Bros. Pictures