You can never quite be sure when Elon Musk is kidding and when he’s being serious.
A Tweet about taking Tesla private for $420 a share — which led to a fraud investigation that forced Musk to step down as CEO and pay millions in penalties — was apparently a joke. His rap about the slain gorrilla Harambe, on the other hand, is serious, as is his fear of malevolent artificial intelligence.
So when he said he wants his baby, who carries the curious name X Æ A-Xii, to become Canadian royalty, that seems like a joke — but we just don’t know for sure.
Musk made the claim in a New York Times interview Saturday, which included the occasional cameo from his partner, musician Grimes. Connections to Canada are one of the things the unlikely couple has in common, the article pointed out. Grimes (whose real name is Claire Boucher) was born and raised in Vancouver, and her music career took off when she lived in Montreal, where she had moved to attend McGill University. Musk was born in South Africa, but moved to Canada at age 17, attending Queen’s University in Kingston for two years. That’s where he met his first wife, Canadian writer Justine Wilson.
If Baby X doesn’t become prince of the Internet, Musk jokingly told the New York Times, he can be “the prince of Canada.”
There are no further details or context around the quote, so at this stage, it’s entirely up to subjective interpretation.
No word on how Grimes feels about the possibility of her son being a royal. As her fans have noted, her Twitter bio used to identify her as an “anti-imperialist,” a phrase she removed when she started dating the billionaire Tesla CEO.
It does sound like they have different ideas on their role as parents, though. A few months before their baby was born, Grimes said in a YouTube livestream that she didn’t want to put too much emphasis on the baby’s biological sex.
“I don’t want to gender them in case that’s not how they feel in their life,” she said.
On Saturday, the day the New York Times piece came out, Musk — apropos of nothing — tweeted “Pronouns suck,” seemingly a reference to trans or non-binary people who ask to be referred to by the pronouns they identify with.
In a since-deleted response tweet, Grimes wrote, “I love you but please turn off [your] phone or give me a [call]. I cannot support hate. Please stop this. I know this isn’t your heart.”
When the Times asked Musk how he’s able to spend time with his three-month-old son, he says he doesn’t, because his role as a father apparently kicks in later.
“Babies are just eating and pooping machines, you know?” he said. “Right now there’s not much I can do. Grimes has a much bigger role than me right now. When the kid gets older, there will be more of a role for me. I think just doing what I’ve done with my other kids. If I have a trip for Tesla to China, for example, I’ll bring the kids with me and we’ll go see the Great Wall or we took the bullet train from Beijing to Xian and saw the Terracotta Warriors.”
Musk has five other sons with his first wife.