In the course of futilely scouring the internet today for credible job leads anywhere sorta kinda near Reno, and using up one of my limited freebies on the Gazette-Journal website to read an article that amounted to Tesla PR copy, I found my way to the online recruiting portal for Tesla’s Gigafactory, where I made a wryly amusing discovery: the Gigafactory’s address is on a warehouse access road on the industrial outskirts of Sparks called Electric Avenue.
Rock down to it, Mrs. Thatcher. There is no alternative. I’d be floored if Elon Musk would understand this reference at all. In fairness, I only happened upon a DJ’s explanation of that cryptic and frankly unintelligible dance tune a few years ago while wasting another evening listening to classic rock. On the other hand, Musk has gone on national television to advocate the geoengineering of Mars with thermonuclear weapons. I repeat: Elon Musk wants to nuke Mars. And no one is, like, my God, man, you’re barely on the cusp of middle age, and you’ve gone full Howard Hughes. At least A. Q. Khan generally sells nuclear weapons secrets to state actors, not wiggity-wack privateers.
Maybe Musk and the Kim regime would discover in each other a mutually satisfying technocratic grandiosity. Eh, never mind; it’s much cheaper and easier to extort freebies out of state and local governments in Nevada. Besides, Nevadans are better nourished than North Koreans, as North Korea does not have Maverik and its diverse styles of sammich. Or civil society, or the rule of law, or food. The Kims just can’t stop spending all the poor house soup line money on ICBM shiznit and the pimping of their tanks. And our nukie friend Dr. Khan, to his credit, is a mere mercenary stripper of state assets for private profit, not an ideological megalomaniac like Musk or the Kim dynasty. Remember that one line from C. S. Lewis that I keep quoting, even though I’ve never read a word out of his books, about robber barons versus moral busybodies? A. Q. Khan isn’t the one who wants to nuke Mars here. He was a second-order threat to geopolitical stability as a nuclear scientist for the Pakistani government; Musk is a first-order threat who wants to amass a private arsenal of interplanetary nuclear warheads.
If Musk is taking an interest in the siting details of the Gigafactory, he probably finds it earnestly heartwarming that it is being built on Electric Avenue, without a hint of irony. For that matter, I wouldn’t be surprised that he thinks it’s really cool that the factory’s address is in Sparks, which can be made from electricity. Get it? Snork snork. If Musk isn’t that daft, he probably has people in his marketing and personnel departments who are.
Why does Stephen Colbert keep talking up Tesla and giving Musk an unchallenged platform to promote a fruitcake interplanetary nuclear first strike? Because Bougie is as Bougie does, and there’s likely some bribery at play in the Late Show/Tesla relationship.
Bribery is probably an accurate enough description of why the Gigafactory is being built in Sparks. Nevada has the only lithium mines operating or under development in the United States today, so Electric Avenue is a logical location for a lithium-intense manufacturing operation, reasonably close to the mines and on the edge of a large labor pool. But this site was not allowed to compete on its own merits against other prospective factory sites in a free market. Tesla has been given substantial tax breaks to build there.
The obvious reason for Mama Sugar to suckle Tesla in this fashion is that Washoe County’s employment market is massively fucked up, so the jobs would really help, and the governments responsible will do anything to secure them. The other likely, but less discussed, reason for these subsidies is frank government corruption. Don’t count this out until every official with jurisdiction over the Gigafactory site has been proven pure as the driven snow. Nevada’s state and local governments have also whored themselves out, so to speak, to sleazy pimps, most notably Dennis Hof. Hof gets permits to own all the brothels in Mound House, but you dasn’t try to do business on South Virginia, young lady, or Five-Oh will take your ass downtown.
When voters hear about new factories “creating jobs,” they often assume that these factories are directly putting the unemployed back to work, dramatically improving their lives. In this spirit, I checked the production associate listing at the Gigafactory jobs portal, and learned that one of the qualifications for this position is three years’ experience manufacturing electronics. What this means is that the bad parts of Reno and Sparks will remain dystopian hellscapes. Tesla is making no effort to put any of the people stuck in these dumpster fire neighborhoods back to work. A government direct hire jobs program would be able to put them back to work, but setting up such a jobs program would take away the fun of giving government money to a South African oligarch who wants to go full Curtis LeMay on Mars.