Sure, in some respects, all cars are boxes on wheels, but at least they’re designed to be practical, aerodynamic, easy on the eye. Elon’s Cybertruck is none of that: it’s sharp, pointed, angular, aggressive, minimalist to a fault and, no sense in sugar-coating it, butt-ugly. It would look at home in any of the Mad Max movies or even in Jean-Claude Van Damme’s 1989 opus Cyborg, since we’re already on the topic of ‘80s nostalgia. In real life, though, it makes absolutely no sense.
Despite the headline, I won’t argue that the Cybertruck isn’t ugly, because there can be no denying that. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but not even Tesla fanboys can raise the argument that there is something to this electric truck that’s visually pleasing. It looks as if it was designed on purpose to be a sight you recoil from, to inspire dread and none of the fuzzy, chill feelings you get when you see any other of the Tesla cars.
While it’s visually unappealing, the Cybertruck does have a certain beauty that can't be dismissed. Everyone loves a dude (or dudette) with major stones (not speaking literally, this time), and the Cybertruck is the equivalent of that for all the other trucks on the market or in production right now. It plays right into the wave of ‘80s nostalgia by basically replicating a made-up movie car for a real-life scenario, infusing the market with ideas for a design that has only been limited to the big screen, until now.
Remember a few years ago when Kanye West introduced his first Yeezy shoe? Even his fans railed on him for creating a sports shoe that seemed to deliberately aim to be ugly on all counts. Why would anyone want to do that? It was unanimously deemed hideous: hideous and overpriced. Today, everyone’s making sportshoes with obvious Yeezy influences.
There is such a thing as the aesthetics of the ugly, which entails that what would conventionally be deemed ugly can be appreciated by being put on a pedestal, by shining a light on it. The paradox of ugliness is when the world learns to value that which it initially finds displeasing, offensive, unworthy. This way, ugly becomes a value in and of itself.
More pertinently to Elon’s truck (and Yeezy’s shoe), we live in a world where everyone wants to be able to brag about the latest in technology, cars, fashion, you-name-it. As long as releases of this kind get enough media attention (and both Elon and Kanye are smart enough to know how to make some waves when they need them to happen), people will rush to buy whatever it is they’re selling.
I’m not saying the Cybertruck will be a monster hit, because that is not likely, at least not as far as industry watchers are concerned. What I’m saying is that it only takes the smallest pebble to cause ripples in a pond, and Elon’s Cybetruck is one giant triangular-shaped rock.
Laugh at this silly, ugly car if you feel like it, call it names and mock it in memes. You can even doubt its capabilities as advertised by Musk. Have your fun, because Musk will surely have his: 5, 10, 15 years from now, you will find influences of the Cybertruck in every truck out there. So, while you chuckle at the computer at the idea that a grown man came up with a car that a 3-year-old would draw better, get used to the idea that there will be more of them.