Home » Dear Elon Musk, Let’s Clear Up A Few Things About ‘Blade Runner’ And The Cybertruck

Dear Elon Musk, Let’s Clear Up A Few Things About ‘Blade Runner’ And The Cybertruck

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On a recent episode of the podcast The Joe Rogan Experience, Tesla founder Elon Musk induced the podcast’s host to fire a compound bow at the CyberTruck, a new Tesla model that the company insists will be delivered to customers who pre-ordered it on November 30. The arrow bounces off the side of the truck, leaving only a small dent. “That’s impressive,” Rogan says. “Yeah,” Musk agrees.

“You built it like this just for fun?” Rogan asks. “Trucks are supposed to be tough,” Musk responds. “Is your truck bulletproof?”

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[Ed note: The internet has enjoyed the tweet from Elon Musk about blade-running and our old pal Max Read, of the excellent Substack READ MAX *you should subscribe to* sent out an email this morning breaking down what, exactly, Musk seems to have missed about the film. Max writes a lot about the future, film, technology, and science fiction. We thought the email was on point and we’re sharing it here with Max’s permission. – MH]

When the clip was posted to the social-media website X.com, which is also owned by Musk, by an account called “Tesla Owners Silicon Valley,” Musk responded: “It’s an armored personnel carrier from the future – what Bladerunner would have driven.”
Screen shot of Elon Musk tweet
screenshot: X.com

This is not the first time that Musk has suggested that the CyberTruck would be favored by a person or thing called “Bladerunner”–in March he said the vehicle was “Designed for Bladerunner.”

I am worried that Elon Musk is operating under several misunderstandings regarding the movie Blade Runner, beginning with the relationship between the movie’s title and the name of its main character. I would therefore like to use my platform to clarify some important points.

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1. The Guy’s Name Is Not “Bladerunner”

The name of the main character in Blade Runner¹ is Rick Deckard, not “Bladerunner.” Deckard is a former “blade runner”–two words. In the world of the movie, a “blade runner” is a kind of police officer whose job is to hunt down and kill escaped “replicants,” bioengineered humanoids created for use as off-Earth workers and soldiers by the Tyrell corporation.

2. He Already Has A Car

"Deckard's Sedan," Blade Runner

We don’t actually have to speculate on “what Bladerunner [sic] would have driven” because the movie shows us: We see Deckard behind the wheel of a “spinner,” or flying car.²

Blade Runner Spinner / Warner Bros.

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3. Even If He Needed A New Car, A Cybertruck Would Be A Poor Fit For His Specific Uses

Rick Deckard is not a general contractor. He does not own a boat he needs to tow; he doesn’t tailgate Chargers games, or whatever. He kills replicants! He doesn’t need cargo space or towing capabilities. Nor, for that matter, does he need an “armored personnel carrier”–he’s a cop, not a soldier! Replicants are not trying to kill Deckard except in self-defense; even then, they don’t have “tommy guns” or compound bows or any of the things that Musk is testing against the cybertruck’s body.

Plus, from what we can see, no one besides rich people and cops really drives at all, so he probably wouldn’t drive any cars except the spinner issued to him by the LAPD.

4. “Blade runners” Are Not Really Admirable Figures

Rick Deckard is not a cool guy to emulate; he’s a self-deluded contract killer, a slave catcher looked on with contempt by the people he works for and despised and feared by the people he hunts. The movie is about Deckard himself coming to realize this, among other things.

5. The future depicted in Blade Runner sucks

You don’t need the truck that “Bladerunner [sic] would have driven” because you don’t live in the world of Blade Runner, which is self-evidently not an aspirational future. Nor, for that matter, do you need an “armored personnel vehicle” of the kind Musk claims the cybertruck is. (Which, again, is not something that Rick Deckard would have driven.) Who cares if your truck is bulletproof!! No one is shooting tommy guns at your weird truck?? Get a life.
Footnotes:
  1. Famously, the phrase “Blade Runner” isn’t located anywhere in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the Philip K. Dick novel on which the movie is based. It comes instead from a script treatment (written by William S. Burroughs!) for a movie based on a novel called The Bladerunner (one word) about a medical-equipment smuggler. Blade Runner director Ridley Scott liked the title and convinced producer Michael Deeley to buy the rights to it. I suppose it is possible, though in my opinion unlikely, that Musk is referring not to the incredibly famous cyberpunk movie Blade Runner but to the obscure 1970s novel The Bladerunner, though even in the case the titular “bladerunner” is actually named Billy Gimp, not “bladerunner.”
  2. Notably, we never see Deckard drive and we certainly never see him fly. Gaff, played by James Edward Olmos, chauffeurs Deckard through the sky, and according to the Petersen Automotive Museum, Deckard’s spinner is decommissioned, which means it can’t fly.

 

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[Ed note: Again, this is from READ MAX *which you should subscribe to* and we’re sharing it here with Max’s permission. – MH]

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Stuttgart Shuffle
Stuttgart Shuffle
8 months ago

Are you trying to tell me Elon is an insufferable prick that doesn’t know anything?

Elhigh
Elhigh
8 months ago

It’s almost as if Musk doesn’t really understand what he’s talking about.

Huh.

Dave Beth
Dave Beth
8 months ago

This truck is one of the ugliest vehicles I’ve ever seen. Who cares if it’s bullet proof? It’s such a dumb idea.

TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave Beth

thats why its bulletproof- we all want to put it out of its misery.

Mr E
Mr E
8 months ago
Reply to  Dave Beth

It’s also style proof.

Beceen
Beceen
8 months ago

Wait! Maybe he meant Blade Runner 2049 (the 2017 movie) – there, Officer K drives/flies a Peugeot (of all things!) spinner (copcar). Ha, Elon was right, check mate, haters!

Rafael
Rafael
8 months ago

Musk is the sort of person that would HIRE Rick Deckard in that future, and casually refer to him as “that blade runner fellow”.

Last edited 8 months ago by Rafael
Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago

“the world of Blade Runner, which is self-evidently not an aspirational future”

It is if you’re the one on top pissing on everyone below.

Elhigh
Elhigh
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Elon Musk = Eldon Tyrell.

Chump Change
Chump Change
8 months ago
Reply to  Elhigh

Except Eldon Tyrell actually was a genius.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Chump Change

Was he though? His replicants were less reliable than the autopilot on a Tesla.

Vee
Vee
8 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Nah. Tyrell Corp’s whole thing was they were building extraterrestrial bases using artifical slave labour because even the rich people fucking hated living there. If you’ve read the novelization, read the original Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, and played the 1997 game, you’d know that space sucked, but it sucked less than living on a planet that required gas masks to go outside in the smog and GoreTex covered clothing to resist the acid rain. It makes the theatrical ending even more of a kick in the nuts because the background scenery Deckard drives through with Rachel goes against the film and book’s own worldbuilding that there are no trees left outside of artificial arboretums.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
8 months ago
Reply to  Vee

Personally I’ll take Gore Tex and gas masks over the ionizing radiation and whatever nasty mix of gasses or vacuum of some other rock every day of the week.

I find it amusing when these stories look to off world solutions for Earth’s “insurmountable” problems. If we can’t fix a world already under our feet only slightly not to our liking how in Hell are we supposed to transform a completely alien world who knows how far away into some kind of paradise for the incredibly rich?

And why use expensive artificial slave labor when the Earth in these stories is inevitably overpopulated with much cheaper poor and desperate humans? Send them and you get rid of billions of birds with one stone. Promise them whatever they want, who cares, almost all of them will die constructing paradise. The vanishingly few who DO make it can have whatever they want and the bosses will still come out way ahead.

Nah Tyrell Corp had it all wrong. Weyland-Yutani Corp had it right. Send poor and desperate humans to do all the hard work and if they become alien food so much the better.

Mr. Frick
Mr. Frick
8 months ago

Sorta like Summer Smith doing a “Diehard”

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
8 months ago

Now we know where Steve Jobs’ Reality Distortion Field end up after his estate was settled, although appears Elon turned it up to 11.

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