A sports car is headed for the stars. Just this past Tuesday, SpaceX successfully launched the most powerful rocket in decades, carrying a payload consisting of one red Tesla Roadster. The car carried several pop culture references to a multitude of generations, including:
- A spacesuit named “Starman,” a reference to David Bowie’s hit 1972 song
- Isaac Asimov’s award-winning Foundation trilogy, a science fiction series released in the 1950s
- The words “Don’t Panic” on the dashboard, quoting the popular 1980s book series Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”
- A penis spray painted on the hood of the car
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of both SpaceX and Tesla, was ecstatic about the launch. When asked about the contents of the Roadster, he said he wanted to give generations of Americans a personal connection to the historic launch,
“The Falcon Heavy is a monumental chapter in history. I wanted the space Tesla to reflect those who came before. Starman is in honor of the baby boomers who grew up listening to David Bowie while smoking weed and flipping cop cars. Asimov’s books are a nod to the silent majority, the mature generation who were the last people to read. “Don’t Panic” is for all of those Gen Xers who fueled the sci-fi revival.”
When asked about the phallic art display on the hood, Elon grew intensely serious. “That. That is my tribute to Millennials. They are the future of our country. They have changed the world in more ways than we may ever truly know. God bless them.”
The reasons why Elon chose this particular piece of art are obvious. Dick Schwartz, professor emeritus of art history at the Rhode Island School of Design, puts it best: “Every generation has their artistic revolution, the movement they put forth and follow. Millennials have embraced the idea of modern, guerrilla art and expression, and the penis is at the center of it.
Indeed, Mr. Schwartz is correct that phallic artwork is more mainstream than ever before. Public streets and walls are often covered end-to-end in penises of a variety of sizes and detail. “It’s the greatest representation of diversity,” says Harry Balczak, a local student. “The phallic movement is one of acceptance and compassion, the idea that no matter who you are or what you look like, defacing buildings with penises can bring us together.”
Balczak, president of the student group Students Having Art-Formulated Talks (SHAFT), won a nationwide essay contest to assist Elon Musk with designing the Tesla space member. He beat off over 1000 other applicants, including famed artist Drew P. Cocque. Balczak spent six months interning at SpaceX, pouring over potential designs everyday with the Silicon Valley giant.
“It was a very intense process,” reminisced Elon, “Harry is a true professional, no detail went unnoticed. We probably killed a hundred trees with the amount of paper we went through. At the end of the day, I think just the art project costed us $100 million.”
Every cent was worth it, Musk and Balczak agree. The Tesla Roadster is now on its way to Mars, where it will orbit the red planet for millions of years. Balczak said he is honored that his work, a distinct piece of culture, is soaring through the final frontier.
“Asimov, Douglas, Bowie. Those guys captured the essence of their times, a true representation of life in America during those years. I hope that thirty, forty years down the line, we remember the phallic movement in the same way. With the space penis emblazoned on Spaceman’s car, I believe that will be the case.
The Federal Aviation Administration has charged Balczak with one count of vandalism on federal government property and Musk with one count of indecent exposure for serving as the inspiration of the art piece.