Plenty of comedians right now are up in arms about cancel culture. From Louis C.K. to Dave Chapelle to Ricky Gervais, former comedy heavyweights are constantly trying desperately to remain in the spotlight despite their shitty behaviours and opinions fighting for the freedom of their art form in the face of criticism. The latest name to join this hallowed crowd is an unexpected one, a dark horse of hilarity, a person whose humour drawn the ire of everyone from Twitter haters to regulators: Elon Musk.
Last week, Tesla had to recall nearly 600,000 vehicles over its “BoomBox” feature. Regulations mandate that electric vehicles, which lack grumbling combustion engines to scare off jaywalkers, are required to play a warning sound when travelling below 31 km per hour. The NHTSA decided that Tesla’s fart-noise generator could cover up this mandated sound, and told the company to fix it. Musk, unsurprisingly, was none too happy about that.
The fun police made us do it (sigh)— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 13, 2022
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, being a government entity concerned with the creation and enforcement of automotive regulations (in the U.S.), is less “fun police” and closer to the actual police. One would think that Musk, with his history of working alongside various police departments, would have a different tone towards the boys in blue by whom he is so beloved.
I’ll admit, I may not be the target audience here. I didn’t grow up with a deep love for the Jackass movies and their brand of humour. It’s possible that “covering up mandatory safety sounds with the noise of various bodily functions” is an absolutely incredible bit of comedy, and that the world is truly worse now that it’s lost that particular bit of levity. That we, societally, may never recover from the blow to our comedic sensibilities that this NHTSA judgment causes. Probably not, though.