As with every great meme that has graced this obscured civilization, it began with an elegant and moving story, captured in all its fleeting delicacy by a Forbes “donor.”
The the story appeared under the headline, “Tiffany & Co releases these CryptoPunk pendants and they’re expensive, here’s all the Intel.” This was followed by an exuberant article about Tiffany and Co. Co-Chairman Alexandre Arnault boosting the market value of a series of CryptoPunk-themed pendants by means of a “guerrilla marketing campaign via his personal pseudonym on the social networks”.
More importantly, that line in the middle of the article was immediately grabbed by crypto twitter: “He signed the ‘LFG’ tweet, the NFT community speaks an acronym meaning ‘let’s form a band’.”
Was it a mistake or was it providence shaping the destiny of humanity via lax editorial standards on the Forbes network of contributors? Maybe we’ll never know since the writer hasn’t (yet) responded to my request for comment, though she did, oddly enough, heart my Instagram DM post.
Anyway: the contributor in question, Stephanie Hirschmiller, mistranslated the very common acronym “LFG”, which is universally understood to mean “let’s go fuck it”. (It’s also NFL star and crypto promoter Tom Brady’s favorite rallying cry.)
Cue the pin takes that has flooded Crypto Twitter.
Just passed this through the Howey test, twice, can confirm the accuracy.
Hirschmiller identifies herself in her contributor tagline as “a journalist and digital consultant based between Paris and London covering fashion, luxury and Web 3.0”. Somewhere else she describes herself as a “shoe authority [and] Web 3.0 expert in training.
Being something of an authority on shoes myself (I make ends meet by selling men’s shoes at a local department store), I’m appalled at the shadow Hirschmiller has cast on our craft. But I understand. We all make mistakes. I once nearly broke a guy’s foot trying to turn him into an E when the poor guy clearly needed an EEE. Still.
The malaprop grew endlessly as other Twitter users offered similarly benign translations.
“Let’s pretend greatness” suggested a. “Great friendly reunion” added another one. Clearly, Hirschmiller had tapped into a primary need for group formation that had not yet been articulated by Indo-European phraseology.
Call it the “let’s go Brandon“effect: an explanation of a term or phrase so biased that it becomes more popular than the original. This is also how HODL, for “hold”, was born from a typo on a discussion forum.
It was for fun, I guess, but I couldn’t help but wonder if that big mistake didn’t say a lot about Forbes, who is now scrambling to find a new buyerand the long-smoldering dumpster fire of his infamous “contributor network.”
Some 2,800 “contributors,” mostly from marketing and public relations rather than journalism, post to the site every day for a pittance. This is a good Faustian affair: Forbes receives troughs full of “content” every day (which generates clicks), and “contributors” are remunerated in an ambiguous way. According to the old Forbes contributor Matt Zucker, five pieces of a few hundred words each in a month earns a writer $250; seven pieces gets $500. Zucker claimed that every piece takes him ten o’clock— that’s more than 140 hours for $1,000. “Yeah, we don’t do this for the money,” he admitted.
(Sounds familiar, and to be honest, the salary is extremely competitive with the degrading misery I get paid here.)
What ForbesThe “contributors” get away with it, it’s clear: Like Zucker written in a Medium blog post about his time in the Forbes contributor farm, contributors effectively have carte blanche to publish what they want, often without modification. Since many contributors have their own professional agenda, getting a contributor contract is like having access to endless free public relations. Would I have had access to such a resource for you, so that I could announce my newborn side hustle.
Hirschmiller, the accidental inventor of the new “LFG” meme, has made good use of the network. His recent work on Web3 innovation includes: “How Paris Hilton and Snoop Dogg Animated Their Bored Monkeys, What Tech Could Mean for Brands”; “The disruptive idea behind Prada’s new Timecapsule NFT collection with Damien Hirst’s son”; and “Is a metaverse HQ with Bored Ape NFTs, Helipad, Cinema the next must-have for luxury brands?”
A questionable and inevitably anonymous “source” tells me that there is in fact some monitoring of the crypto contributor network, or at least more than before. I am told that Forbes Crypto editor and former CoinDesk journalist Michael del Castillo leads a “tight ship”. But the network of contributors remains a kind of “YouTube for writing”, so caveat emptor.
What makes you think: Perhaps Hirschmiller, in all his wisdom, knew that this minor mistake would cement his place in the history of internet memes. And like any calculating and underpaid Forbes “contributor”, she thought it was worth it. In which case, I salute her and wish to join her. Let’s form a group!
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