The End of all things cool

by Janelle Hanchett


A few months ago I was in Marshall’s. And while standing at the check-out line, I saw one of the strangest things my eyes have ever beheld.

It wasn’t the near-toothless twitchy check-out lady who appeared REALLY INTO her job.

It wasn’t the baby in the car seat with a bottle of brown liquid (looking oddly like soda), propped up in her mouth, as if her parent’s only mission in life was to encourage her early tooth decay.

It wasn’t even the mother towing three half-naked screaming toddlers while she yelled at her (obviously unfaithful) significant other.

It was… just sitting there…quietly…lurking on the counter…

…wait for it…

Ed Hardy hand sanitizer.

I stared in disbelief.

“Is it SO?”

I looked away. Then back again. (You know, kinda like the way you stare at a car wreck or bar fight –  the weird sick fascination with the terrifying and gruesome?)

“Is it real?”

I looked again. Looked closely.  Squinted a little. Yep. ED HARDY HAND SANITIZER. For sale. At a store, where people go.

AND THERE WERE SOME MISSING, which means, lest my keen deductive reasoning skills deceive me…that people in fact purchase this item. Real humans pay real money for this real item.

Somebody actually says to herself “Well look at this! Ed Hardy hand sanitizer! Cool! I’m going to spend my money on THAT! Now I can sanitize my hands and look like a fucking moron all at once!”

Okay maybe I added that last part.

But let me just say this directly: I think Ed Hardy is hands-down the most idiotic, disturbing, offensive (in its stupidity) brand EVER TO EXIST ON THIS PLANET. Now I know there’s a fatal flaw in that argument, namely because I don’t know every brand that’s ever existed on this planet. But I’m stickin’ with it, because I’m willing to put money on the validity of the assertion that there is nothing more lame than Ed Hardy.


You either feel me on this one or you don’t.

But let’s talk about it for a moment. Let’s talk about why Ed Hardy is horrifying and may actually symbolize the end of all things cool in America – because it’s really not about aesthetics here. While I would never choose Ed Hardy for myself , that’s not my beef with it. I can forgive people for thinking Japanese tattoo images mixed with fake diamonds is cool. I guess. And it’s from L.A.; L.A. is weird. Plus, I walk around looking like a wannabe granola-eater lazy ass, choosing my clothes based on comfort and which items make me look less fat than others, so I’d rather not talk fashion.

And I could be wrong, but I don’t think Ed Hardy was quite as lame when it first came out. For example, they didn’t make hand sanitizer.

My beef with Ed Hardy is that it represents the obscene over-commercialization and sickening materialism in our culture. It is trying so hard to BE COOL that it absolutely misses the boat on coolness. Coolness is authenticity. Uniqueness. Doing your own damn thing.

Ed Hardy represents jumping on the bandwagon (or inkwagon, in this case) because tattooing is now cool.

It’s about the unending ego-driven pursuit of crap because it has a certain label or I think it’s going to say something about me – “I’m cool” or “I’m hip” or “I have money” or “I’m a fucking jackass.”

[I always blow it in the end.]

But my run-in with that hand sanitizer drilled something spectacular and appalling into my brain: apparently with some people, the yearning for labels extends into the realm of hygiene products. Notice they are “travel size”– so they can be put in a purse and pulled out strategically so everybody knows that this girl has COOL HAND SANTIZER. (Okay I actually just laughed out loud writing that. That shit is funny.)

It just seems ridiculous to me.

Have we become such slaves to marketing propaganda that we actually believe it matters what our hand sanitizer looks like?

Oddly, Ed Hardy himself used to be cool, at least on paper. Back in the day, he apprenticed under Sailor Jerry – THE Sailor Jerry – who was this traveling whisky-drinking outcast sailor who made his living tattooing people and singing songs about liberals and how they’re ruining America. Ed Hardy turned down a Yale scholarship to study tattooing. What happened to you, dude? Sell out much?

Whatever. I’d probably do the same damn thing, had I the opportunity.

I mean how the hell else am I going to get my ass to Borneo, where I can sit around criticizing people for their taste in clothing and $3.00 hand-cleansing products?

Anyway, here’s a photo so you know I’m not making this shit up.

  • Kateri Von Steal

    This post is priceless.
    I love it.
    And identify with it!

    Ed Hardy Hand Sanitizer… wait… do you feel that?
    I think hell just about froze over.

    *rolls eyes*

    The stupid stuff people will actually buy!

    • Shan

      I swear this was what I was about to write. Almost word for word. Word.

  • Jennifer

    Okay, true confession. My best friend in the whole world just bought me Ed Hardy perfume and lotion for my birthday. There was also a travel perfume and travel lotion. I was horrified! However, in the interest of loving my best friend immensely I put them in my purse. So if we ever meet please don’t judge me — I’m trying to be a good friend. LOL.

  • kim

    Agreed. See also: Juicy Couture. And any other brand that requires words across your velour-crested ass.

    • Wendy

      I totally agree!! I am morally opposed to the words “Juicy” going across my backside! I’m almost 42 for goodness sakes, nothing ‘juicy’ about that!!!

  • the sweetest

    Ed hardy confuses me. I don’t understand why anyone would feel anything but repelled by it.

  • dani

    It’s so wrong.

    And it’s always next to that Ambercrombie place with the stench of a taxi driver’s cheap cologne punishing all those who walk past.

  • Cailin

    Do I get points for having to goolge Ed Harvy?

  • carlisle

    I wasn’t going to comment until I was all caught up with every post ever, but I HAD to say something here.

    this. just SO my sister. one morning before school, she was running around….”Oh, my god, have you seen my Ed Hardy’s?” (me)”Your what?” “My Ed Hardy shoes!” *blank stare* “God, the purple ones!” “Ohhh, your Purple Shoes.” “Ugh, yes, my purple ED HARDY shoes.”

    And she’s got a whole motherfucking drawer FULL OF TRAVEL SIZE HAND SANITIZER. She just impulse buys it. Fucking addict. I wouldn’t be surprised if she found this. O_o

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