Elon Musk’s bizarre Billie Eilish tweet explained as copypasta goes viral

Bruno Cooke August 19, 2022
Elon Musk’s bizarre Billie Eilish tweet explained as copypasta goes viral

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Elon Musk tweeted Friday (August 19, 2022) what appears to be an enlarged screenshot from another website containing a short but bizarre story about Billie Eilish.

He captioned the tweet: “Still so grateful.” He also added a Face Holding Back Tears emoji, for good measure. 

The text is a copypasta – the sort of thing people copy and paste elsewhere on the Internet in order to confuse or bewilder people. 

Musk is no stranger to meme culture, and is therefore likely familiar with the term, and appears to have taken the story in good spirit. Here’s what it says and when the copypasta originated. 

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Elon Musk shares copypasta story about Billie Eilish and an ‘air conditioning coil’

“One day,” reads the text from the post, “Billie Eilish was walking outside and she saw a boy crying.”

“She said to him ‘Here kid, have a role of Air Conditioning Pair Coil 1/4’ x 3/8’ 410A 20m Polyethylene UV protected insulated Copper heat resistant to 120C. You’re destined to do great things.’ That boy was Elon Musk.”

Those versed in Internet speak may be familiar with the format. It is apparently the work of DestinyBot3000, although the Bot Appreciation Society Fandom page on it doesn’t contain any information of substance on the bot except that it posts hourly and originated on June 11, 2019.

Plus that it is currently “active.”

What are some other iterations of the meme?

The earliest, or at least one of the earliest, iterations of the Billie Eilish Elon Musk copypasta is from February 28, 2019 – earlier than the date listed on the Fandom page linked above.

The full text appears in the copypasta subreddit, in which it earned 43 upvotes. Not many compared to the 360K (and counting) likes Musk’s tweet has so far garnered.

A different version of the copypasta involves actor Ryan Gosling and astrophysicist and science communicator Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Seeing both side by side provides some insight as to how easy it might be to come up with a new version of the meme.

“One day,” reads the Ryan Gosling–Neil DeGrasse Tyson version, “Gosling was digging for worms and he saw a boy crying. He said to him ‘Here kid, have a Sips tea – Funny Girly Meme for Gossip Queens Pullover Hoodie. You’re destined to bring ingenuity and clarity to gaming.’ That boy was Neil deGrasse Tyson.”

Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

‘Air conditioning pair coils’ have popped up elsewhere too

A thread in the r/dankmeme subreddit also makes use of the comedy value apparently intrinsic to “Air Conditioning Pair Coil 1/4’ x 3/8’ 410 A 20m Polyethylene UV Protected Insulated Copper Heat Resistant To 120C.”

In that instance, it’s John Wick that “pulls out” the air conditioning coil in order to defeat “bad guys,” specifically Thanos.

For the sake of clarity regarding the copypasta above, Tech Target defines copypasta as simply “a chunk of text that has been repeatedly copied and pasted in social media and internet forum posts.”

It’s a portmanteau of “copy” and “paste.” The word itself dates back to 2006. A lot of copypastas are harmless, such as the Elon Musk Billie Eilish one this article is about. But some copypasta texts are overtly negative or spread false ideas.

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Why the story about Billie Eilish and Elon Musk cannot be true

The copypasta text above tells the story of Eilish as an adult meeting Musk as a child. It doesn’t explicitly say Eilish is an adult in the story, but it does have her call the child Musk “kid,” which a fellow child would be unlikely to do.

Born December 18, 2001, Eilish is currently 20 years old. Musk, by contrast, is 51. He’ll turn 52 next June.

So in theory, the story could work the other way round. But if it had happened in real life, the story would likely have emerged already – or certainly will in the wake of the copypasta’s current popularity.

In its first 12 hours online, Elon’s tweet has picked up close to 400K likes, 22.3K retweets, and more than 9K comments. Billie has not addressed it – yet.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.