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Mark Zuckerberg’s patriotic attempt to seem like a fun, everyday human being backfired — maybe because fun, everyday human beings usually don’t recruit friends to film them on electric foil surfboards with an oversized American flag in hand as “Take Me Home, Country Roads” plays in the distance.
“Happy July 4th!” Zuckerberg captioned a 1-minute clip of himself, presumably gliding over a part of the ocean that was not on fire with his giant flag. And as we watch this needlessly long video of the 37-year-old billionaire Facebook CEO on repeat, we can’t help but wonder a few things. Like, for example, where is this being filmed? Who agreed to film this? How many takes did he have to do before it was approved to go on feed? And most importantly: Who told Mark Zuckerberg this was okay?
It’s unclear what kind of response he expected, but Zuckerberg was instantly (and unanimously) memed, mocked, and taunted. As one user commented, “AI is amazing, didn’t know that robots can surf.” Another wrote: “Zuck really doing his part to make tech founders seem normal.”
But this is far from the first time that the Zuck has let his robot freak flag fly (pun very much intended). In fact, it’s only the latest in a series of strange surfing content: In April, he was photographed with a terrifyingly thick layer of sunscreen — and after he was photographed and teased, he claimed he was just trying to “disguise” himself from the paparazzi. In May, he shared another clip of himself surfing, this time with a bracelet that allegedly wards off sharks. (Experts doubt the bracelets’ efficacy.)
Despite the endless entertainment that this clip has provided us, Zuckerberg’s video — and rebrand as a cool, carefree surfer guy — is mostly coming across as painfully smug and out of touch (not to mention bizarre). With the Gulf of Mexico on fire, no one wants to see a man worth $120 billion celebrating on an eFoil surfboard.
At this point, Zuckerberg has achieved the rare feat of infuriating Americans on just about every end of the political spectrum. Aside from Facebook’s ongoing data breaches and legal troubles, Zuckerberg’s platform has been credited with spreading harmful, false information, including conspiracy theories like QAnon, and fostering a community for extremists like the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
At the same time, conservatives have slammed him for “silencing” Donald Trump by banning him from the website for two years. Maybe that’s why they’re all trolling his comment section, too. But more likely, it’s that Zuckerberg’s patriotism is confusing in the face of all of this. And, as always, the best reactions come from Twitter.
It’s difficult to tell whether extremely wealthy and powerful men, like recent SNL star and insufferable tweeter Elon Musk, want to appear relatable or aspirationally cool. The fact is, though, that people like Zuckerberg, Musk, and Jeff Bezos will never be either.
Cringe aside, Zuckerberg does get a point (just one) for publishing a genuinely American video. There’s something patriotic about the way we can all unite, as one country, to laugh and roll our eyes at his social media presence. Because nothing says “America” like a billionaire gleefully riding a $12,000 electric surfboard while the world is literally up in flames.
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