Far from being stroked, the egos of some of the world’s once most influential men have been battered of late.
Not just internationally, but also here in Australia. With plenty of examples, from just the past week.
Earlier this week, former prime minister Scott Morrison was cut down to size in front of the Robodebt royal commission. He evaded questions, he attempted to play politics, and thought he could even outsmart the Royal Commissioner Catherine Holmes. But Holmes was having none of it, reprimanding Morrison as he squirmed in the witness box. She called out his rambles and ordered him to listen. “I do understand that you come from a background where rhetoric is important, but it is necessary to listen to the question,” she said, delivering the line in such a tone that we can be sure Morrison will never forget.
Robodebt, you might recall, involved a system of chasing people for payments in horrendous and demeaning ways. Morrison was a senior minister when it was created, with his department (primor to him becoming prime minister ) providing serious input into the scheme and using it to promote Morrison’s own reputation on being touch on welfare. During this week’s enquiry, Morrison blamed everyone but himself for the failings in the system, that have seen lives ruined and families destroyed.
Meanwhile, former US president Donald Trump has experienced the latest in a string of ego-damaging events, including the dismal vote for his Republican-backed candidates in the November midterms.
In a “major announcement” on Thursday, Trump launched his “official Donald Trump Digital Trading Card” collection – at only $99 each, they make excellent Christmas gifts! The cards feature Trump wearing a superhero costume and cape. He shared the announcement on the social media platform Truth Social, declaring that the limited edition cards “feature amazing ART of my Life & Career!”
Trump has been mocked relentlessly since the announcement.
Just when you thought this grifter couldn't humiliate himself any more than he already has, there's this. THIS is what the big announcement was. pic.twitter.com/npsjPNYpBA— John Kiriakou (@JohnKiriakou) December 15, 2022
Elsewhere, Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk is fast learning that using social media to bully others, make fun of pronouns and promote transphobia and conspiracy theories alongside his version of free speech, is not winning him any popularity contests, nor doing much for his wealth.
Musk was booed by the crowd at a show in San Francisco on Sunday, when he was invited on stage by Dave Chappelle. The moment was awkward, to say the least.
“Ladies and gentlemen, make some noise for the richest man in the world,” Chappelle declared on stage. Far from receiving the positive affirmations Musk immediately appeared like he was about to accept, the crowd booed. For ten minutes. Increasingly getting louder and louder.
Chappelle made note of the controversy, and told Musk, “weren’t expecting this, were you?” From the video, it looks like both Chappelle and Musk are surprised by the reaction. “It sounds like some of the people you fired are in the audience,” Chappelle said.
Musk asked “Dave, what shall I say,” to which Chappelle suggested he say nothing. “You hear that sound, Elon? That’s the sound of pending civil unrest.” Later, Musk said – in a moment of rewriting history that is all too familiar among the three men in this piece – that the noise that can be heard on the video is actually “90% cheers & 10% boos”.
Turns out Twitter can, in fact, be real life. https://t.co/FFpups1yEy pic.twitter.com/41jcZgdDR4— Steven Goffman (@SteveGoffman) December 12, 2022
Musk, meanwhile, has been offloading his Tesla stocks, selling $US3.6 billion this week (AU$5.2 billion). While not yet clear if the sale is related to his $US44 billion Twitter purchase, Musk is said to be making Tesla investors “furious”. Last week, Musk lost his title of World’s Richest Person to Louis Vuitton boss Bernard Arnault, according to Forbes.
It’s incredible how quickly some of the smuggest people on the planet find themselves on the back foot. The lies, the poor treatment of others, and illegitimate power grabs, eventually come back for you.