The rise of the global billionaire is the latest phenomenon* to emerge from the age of the internet.
The creation of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have changed the way we live and communicate. We shop, work, educate and relax online.
Along with the rise of the internet, many new technologies have grown; from computers and smartphones to electric cars and commercial space travel.
One person at the forefront of this quantum leap* into future technologies is Elon Musk. He is the dude who started PayPal, which was a huge success. Then he created Tesla, the electric car manufacturer. Success again. Next he wanted to conquer space so he started SpaceX, and it’s not going too bad either, launching people and cargo into the stratosphere.
What next then for a person whose achievements read a little bit like fictional Marvel comic book hero Tony Stark (the tech billionaire who created a metal armour flying suit and became Ironman)?
Well, we found out this week! Musk is going to buy Twitter for $61 billion Australian. Spare change for a billionaire, but it sounded like a good topic for a cartoon!
Musk said he wanted to buy Twitter to make some changes to the social media platform after it had restricted some users from voicing opinions which Twitter considered “hate speech” and believed incited* racial hatred and division.
The most famous person to be blocked from Twitter was of course former US president Donald Trump. He had more than 80 million followers and used it as his personal megaphone.
After being banned from Twitter, Trump started his own social site called “Truth Social”, but it’s not going so well, with only a small fraction of his former following. Despite this, Trump has said he would not go back to Twitter, even if he was allowed to.
Musk has said he wants to make Twitter a true place of free speech, with no constraints* on opinions. He said it should be like a “town square” where people can come and speak freely. This is what he believes an open society is all about.
I started my cartoon by drawing Elon Musk making his announcement. I thought he should be in front of the Twitter company symbol, which is that little blue bird.
When a new regime takes over a company they like to make changes. I wondered what the Twitter bird logo might look like under Musk’s leadership? Could I redesign it for him?
I thought about his potential best customer, Donald Trump, coming back to Twitter if allowed. My opinion is that Trump will come back; 80 million followers is a lot of ears listening, especially if you’re running for president again!
So as I drew the little blue bird, I started to morph* it by adding that familiar Trump hairstyle. Then his eyes and that mouth. Suddenly the Twitter bird bore an incredible resemblance to the former president.
To complete the caricature of the free speaking president and an unconstrained Twitter I added a little cork popping from his mouth. Uncorked!
I don’t know if Mr Musk will use my caricature as the new Twitter logo, but I have exercised my freedom of expression in creating one!
- phenomenon: something that can be seen or experienced, especially something that is noticed because it is new or unusual
- quantum leap: a huge, often sudden, increase or advance in something
- incited: encouraged, stirred up
- constraints: limitations or restrictions
- morph: change from one image or shape to another
- Which billionaire has bought Twitter?
- How much did he pay?
- Which fictional billionaire does Mark Knight compare the new Twitter owner to?
- What does the new owner want to make Twitter?
- Who is the famous person banned from Twitter?
LISTEN TO THIS STORY
1. What happens next?
Imagine this cartoon is part of a story that is made up of three cartoons. The three cartoons tell a complete story, and Mark’s cartoon is the start of the story. Think about what the story could be and draw the next two cartoons that tell the story.
Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Visual Arts, Visual Communication Design, Critical and Creative Thinking
Being able to draw is only one of the skills needed to be a great cartoonist. Write a list of all of the other skills that you think cartoonists like Mark need to do their job.
Next to each skill, write a sentence that explains why that skill is important or helps them to do a great job.
Time: allow at least 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Personal and Social Capability, Media Arts, Visual Communication Design
Look at the cartoon and make a list of five nouns that you see. Then describe those five nouns with five adjectives.
Add a preposition to those five nouns and adjectives.
Now choose your favourite bundle and put all the words together to make one descriptive sentence.