Pre-Musk’s call Milady: A “cyber psychopath” pushed to the extremeBefore Musk's call, Milady was described as a "cyber psychopath" who was pushed to her limits.
On May 10th, Musk’s sudden tweet “There is no meme, I love you” caused the floor price of Milady to skyrocket from 3.75 ETH to over 7 ETH within an hour.
“There is no meme, I love you”
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Musk’s “call” led to a rapid rise in Milady
Once again, the market’s attention was focused on this “old” project that had already been born in 2021. Because Milady rapidly surged and then quickly fell back, many players believed that this situation was just Musk’s “intermittent call”, just like the “wolf is coming” drama that $DOGE repeatedly staged, without any analytical value – Musk’s “call” can make anything take off, and it would be strange if Milady couldn’t rise.
However, in the bear market, Milady’s performance is quite impressive. From early April of this year to before Musk’s “call”, Milady’s floor price had tripled.
The trend of Milady’s floor price from mid-August 2022 to the present, Milady has its own independent market
If you, like the author, are an NFT player who is not very familiar with Milady, maybe you and I have the same impression of Milady, which still stays in the negative news of founder Charlotte Fang’s involvement in “racism” and “suicide cult” in May 2022. After Charlotte Fang admitted his association with the “suicide cult” and announced his withdrawal from the Milady team, Milady’s floor price fell rapidly.
Compared with the negative news and the multiple “Rug Pull” incidents that Azuki founder Zagabond was involved in, this kind of negativity is too heavy, to the extent that for a long time, the author thought that Milady’s story had come to an end, and this project would gradually be forgotten by NFT players like countless other projects that disappeared in the long history of NFTs. However, Milady not only proved the author’s view was wrong from the perspective of price trend, but also slapped the author’s face on influence.
The group that uses Milady as their Twitter avatar gives the impression of “Geek” and “deep Degen player”, such as Synthetix founder Kain Warwick, Muse DAO developer @surfcoderepeat, etc. Just like when you see someone using CryptoPunks as their avatar, you may subconsciously think that they are an “NFT OG”, when you see someone using BAYC as their avatar, you may think they are an “NFT whale”, when you see someone using Azuki as their avatar, you may think they are “trendy”… Perhaps the number of people who use Milady as their Twitter avatar is not large, but it is not easy for this group to leave a “memory point” in people’s minds.
In the continued bear market of NFTs, we are not sensitive to many of the past “rising logic”. If we turn our attention back to “community culture”, can we find something different? With a strong curiosity about Milady, Rhythm BlockBeats interviewed three Milady community members who have a deep understanding of Milady:
CodyBoy (Twitter: @codeboymadif)
Tamara (Twitter: @_s0ftmachine)
JChen (Twitter: @0xJChen)
The “countercultural” spirit of Milady
CodeBoy explained his understanding of the spirit of Milady:
We are originally free individual humans, but the mainstream tames us. We don’t even discuss or peek at the power of darkness, and even a little offense will be accused by the moral police. Everything that is banned seems to be an art with characteristics, Cancelled Culture, daring to be banned, can help reshape our network spirituality.
What is network spirituality? It should welcome “anti-idols”. Faced with a controversial artist, an open-minded supportive attitude is not to argue that “she has never done these bad things”, but rather “she did, but so what? This thing is still cool”, which is anti-idol. Elon Musk and Kayne West are the biggest anti-idols in the world.
CodeBoy’s interpretation of the spirit of Milady quickly brought to mind a word in the author’s head, “punk”. Sid Vicious, the bassist of the legendary punk band Sex Pistols, couldn’t even play bass, but does that matter? Maybe some people will try to convince you from the “musicality” level that Sex Pistols are so bad, and maybe some people will think that you are stupid for liking such a band, but so what? The band you like is cool, and so are you.
Sid Vicious is controversial, and Charlotte Fang’s article also mentions him.
Liking a band with a bassist who can’t play bass may only make people around you think you are “weird” or “stupid”, but if the object of your expression of love is a “big villain” who is hated by everyone, you will bear immense pressure.
JChen introduced me to the first key figure in Milady’s development – Martin Shkreli. Martin Shkreli became a “villain” in 2015 for raising the price of the anti-parasitic / AIDS drug Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to $750. At the time, Turing Pharmaceuticals, which he acquired, was the only producer of the drug, and the production cost of the drug was only $1 per pill.
What angered the public even more was Martin Shkreli’s attitude and what he did:
“You’re not charitable, you don’t care about people who are still in debt and the pressure of medical treatment,” to which Martin Shkreli replied, “Blame me?”
Martin Shkreli also spent $2 million buying the Wu-Tang Clan’s album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin,” which was only released once. However, he was not a fan of Wu-Tang Clan and had no intention of listening to the album.
A female journalist named Christie Smythe fell in love with Martin Shkreli during the interview process, so the pressure was transmitted to her through the internet, and countless people tried to tell her, “You’re wrong.”
Milady’s first big surge in May 2022 was due to Martin Shkreli’s release from prison and his use of Milady as his Twitter icon.
I have no intention of getting caught up in the “right or wrong” debate, and the direction of explaining Milady’s spirit is not in this. Let us return to Cancelled Culture, as Tamara said, rebellion against “cancelled culture” is the true embodiment of Milady’s community:
Milady is somewhat like a resistance to the “mainstreaming” of Crypto. “Mainstreaming” means you need to embrace certain “mainstream” views, and if you hold certain “non-mainstream” views, you will be “cancelled.”
When Charlotte Fang’s negative news appeared, many people focused on whether Charlotte Fang really did these things and eventually sold their Milady. At the same time, they ignored the rebellion against “cancelled culture” in the value of Milady, which actually made the Milady community stronger.
Indeed, the Milady community has become stronger. As JChen put it, no one cares about Charlotte Fang’s things anymore, “screw Charlotte Fang, everyone just have fun.” Tamara also believes that this is why Su Zhu uses Milady as his Twitter avatar:
The spirit contained in Milady has turned it into a “controversial” medal. He is highly controversial and is also taking advantage of the heat generated by controversy on Twitter. By using Milady as a Twitter avatar and joining the ranks of “controversial” people, well, that’s it.
And this is also a major feature of the Milady community. There are all kinds of “weird” people here, just like The Factory created by Andy Warhol, where “crazy” people flock and unleash their creativity.
Milady’s art style
According to Charlotte Fang’s description, the artistic core of Milady is the subculture trend of Tokyo street in the late 1990s to the early millennium.
Does it feel familiar? CodeBoy helped me find the corresponding localization in China from memory-“Kamikaze Culture”.
“Why can we empathize with Milady at a glance? Friends who grew up in China are familiar with it. In 2000, we were also swept away by this trend, combined with local conditions to become non-mainstream, and occupied the entire QQ space.”-CodeBoy
But “Kamikaze Culture” is not derogatory. CodeBoy said that this is the largest national cultural movement born from the Internet, which has influenced hundreds of millions of people for 10 years. This trend has not stopped, but has continued to change and develop, and has taken root in Europe and America.
Combining the Neochibi animation style with some “dark color schemes” (this is also a description from CodeBoy), we have the slightly “Cult-style” Milady.
Although aesthetics are a very subjective thing, you may think that Milady is ugly and shoddy, but Charlotte Fang’s design of Milady is indeed quite meticulous, which can be seen from Charlotte Fang’s understanding of generating PFP finance through design.
Tamara said that many derivative art works of Milady have formed a “genre”, and commercial products and commercial art can be integrated. You can accept art as a commercial product and expand art on this basis. This once again caught the author’s attention. Although Milady is not the only NFT project active in the secondary creation field, it is really rare to break away from the “image” itself and re-create based on “style”.
Tamara also mentioned a deeper level of “performance art”, that is, founder Charlotte Fang used “role-playing” to subvert the “mainstream” by “speaking directly” on social media earlier. This reminds the author of a map “My House” of the old game “DOOM” that I came into contact with some time ago. The author logged in to the game forum again after 17 years and released a map to commemorate his deceased partner. Due to a series of exquisite contents, the author has difficulty in judging whether it is a real background or “performance art”… but it is really immersive.
Milady is unique.
Before Milady, the author found it difficult to describe clearly what kind of community group an NFT project is. Although Milady’s audience is a subculture and niche like the domestic “abstract” group, it can attract people and make them have the charm of pushing open a mysterious door to peep into the truth.
There are many well-made NFT projects on the market, but few projects can leave lasting “memory points” in people’s minds. Is the difficulty in building NFT project communities really due to the lack of funds to hold various activities to maintain the participation of holders? How to make the individuals in the community form connections, enjoy the feeling of being in the community, is probably the most difficult and overlooked problem. When the close connection between communities is formed, the fission-style secondary creation has become a natural display of community power, and it is not the result of trying to create driving force by all means.
Many players say that NFT projects have lacked new narratives for too long, so everyone has lost the desire to invest in new projects. Milady’s success gives us a new perspective to think about the project – the grand narrative of “trend”, “game”, and even “metaverse” is indeed a path worth exploring. But when we expect new grand narratives to appear, let’s look back at “vibe” and “community” that were once regarded as key bonus items. It seems that it is still barren here?
Although Milady is not a Free Mint project, the author gained a new understanding of the “honesty” represented by the Free Mint model from Milady. This “honesty” can be the best narrative for an NFT project. Do we both like this picture? Let’s start by making friends, enjoying the fun, and seeing what else we can do based on the foundation of establishing emotional connections. Perhaps the simplest emotional connection is the most solid foundation for exploring infinite possibilities.
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