The Federal Reserve, in a move that would make Kafka blush and Adam Smith rotate briskly in his grave, has decided to fight fire with a flamethrower, as it were, by enlisting none other than Barbara Streisand to quash a burgeoning branding brouhaha. After Bitcoin Magazine received a stern wrist slap for daring to poke fun at the Fed's shiny new toy, the FedNow® service, The Bugle has learned that the powers that be opted for a brand manager with distinct and world-leading experience in such matters.
Yes, ladies, gentlemen, and esteemed readers, the Federal Reserve — that paragon of fiscal sobriety — is threatening to sue Bitcoin Magazine for what amounts to a sartorial sin: putting a satirical spin on the Fed's merchandise. The venerable institution, which has previously been as concerned with brand management as a hermit crab is with interior decorating, has suddenly developed an acute case of corporate vanity.
The legal skirmish, which pits the gargantuan guardian of the greenback against a plucky publisher, has the delicious irony of a pie fight at a weight watchers meeting. The Fed, which has long operated with the public visibility of a submarine, has now surfaced with the splashy hire of Ms. Streisand, whose efforts to suppress photos of her palatial homestead led to the very sort of widespread dissemination she had hoped to prevent. One would think that a lesson lies therein.
Deputy General Counsel Thaddeus Murphy, the Fed's legal eagle, has flapped his wings mightily, sending cease-and-desist letters with the ferocity of a matron chasing away pigeons. Meanwhile, Mark Goodwin, Editor In Chief of Bitcoin Magazine, has been left to wonder whether the pen — or the printing press — might indeed be mightier than the dollar.
The timing of this kerfuffle, with the Fed's recruitment of Ms. Streisand, is impeccable. As if plucked from the pages of "The Onion," the decision to hire a celebrity whose attempt to suppress information led to its proliferation seems akin to appointing a fox as the head of hen house security. It is a masterstroke of such paradoxical genius that one must stand back in awe, or perhaps in another, less polite stance.
In a world where the medium is the message, the Federal Reserve has become the unintentional comedian, providing more satirical fodder than a cartoonist's convention. The question on everyone's mind is, "Is the Fed trying to double down on doubling down?" It's the sort of move that suggests perhaps they've been consulting with the ghost of P.T. Barnum, seeking to turn a public relations molehill into a mountain.
As for Bitcoin Magazine, the scrappy underdog has found itself in the ironic position of David, if David had been armed with a Twitter account and a penchant for meme warfare. They've been handed a publicity golden ticket, the kind that cannot be bought, even with all the Fed's freshly minted bills.
And so, we stand back and watch as the Federal Reserve, that most staid of institutions, embarks on what can only be described as a branding adventure, helmed by the unwitting namesake of an internet phenomenon. Will the Streisand effect reign supreme, catapulting the Federal Reserve into a viral vortex of its own making?
As for the rest of us, we can only munch our popcorn and revel in the spectacle, for in the grand theater of the absurd, the Fed has taken center stage, and the show, as they say, must go on.