Semiotics of a Rivalry

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Abstract

This article offers a nuanced examination of the highly anticipated confrontation between tech industry leaders Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, framing it as more than a mere clash of titans but as a cultural spectacle with far-reaching implications. Utilizing a rigorous thematic analysis of public discourse and media narratives from June to August 2023, the study introduces and elaborates on the concept of Technotropism. This term encapsulates the complex, often paradoxical, relationship between technology, societal norms, and power dynamics. The article argues that such high-profile spectacles serve dual roles: they reflect existing societal values and are active agents in shaping new norms and expectations. By drawing on historical parallels, theories of masculinity in tech, ethical considerations, and power dynamics, the article situates the Musk-Zuckerberg confrontation within a broader lineage of culturally significant events. It contends that understanding these spectacles as cultural commodities subject to mass consumption is crucial for a comprehensive grasp of the evolving societal implications of technology. This multi-faceted approach provides a richer understanding of how technology and society are mutually constitutive, influencing and being influenced by each other.