Last week I posted an opinion piece about how I don't think that what Ed Hardy did is necessarily a bad thing. He went into business and he made money. I compared him to other musicians and artists who also happened to get famous and make a lot of money, but didn't seem to lose their credibility. I asked why people should be faulted for trying to make money. I also claimed it was human nature to fault others for doing better than us. But I realize now that I missed a whole other aspect to his commodification. It was only after discussing this issue in class that I realized the aspect of art for art's sake and I have changed my tune.
I claimed before that people criticized Ed Hardy for getting rich and famous because they were jealous and it was human nature. But now I realize I was partially wrong. At least some people would have criticized him for commodifying his art form because he no longer created art for art's sake. He decided at some point that if he was going to continue in this business, he wanted to make a lot of money from it. But I think there is a nobility involved in doing something just because you enjoy it, and there is a dishonor associated with doing something for the money. The sellouts aren't everyone who makes money, they are the people who create art BECAUSE they can make money. I think that was a distinction I failed to make last week. Does Ed Hardy really love wine glasses or is he just stamping his work on there to sell money? I find it hard to believe Ed Hardy had a passion for custom glassware. (They aren't even really custom. Just a regular wine glass with one of his flash designs stamped onto the side.)
I think people disliking Ed Hardy because he lost the nobility of making art for art's sake is most plausible because it happens in other fields as well. People mentioned in class how there is something more honorable about being a Physicist in academia than working for some big corporation that would make you rich. I find that mentality is the same in medicine. Admissions committees try analyze you to make sure you don't want to be a doctor just to be rich. Even once in medicine, you can usually tell who was in this field to make money because they tend to congregate in certain specialties, like plastic surgery or anesthesiology. Those fields are subsequently less honorable. For example if you tell someone you're an anesthesiologist, the first thought is that they went into that specialty to make a lot of money. That's the same connotation given to Ed Hardy now.
There is a book called Stuff White People Like. One of the entries is "Hating People Who Wear Ed Hardy." It's satire so it's filled with funny blurbs. My mom actually got this book as a gift once. Here are parts of the entry I thought were hilarious and so true:
To put this in proper perspective, Ed Hardy is so hated by white people that it cannot be worn ironically.
For example, if you take the reasonable but not compelling story: “I got cut off in traffic this morning and when I honked the guy gave me the finger,” and replace it with: “I got cut off in traffic this morning by this guy in an Ed Hardy shirt. I honked and then he gave me the finger!” The story will become sixty percent more interesting to white people because it allows them to make a witty response like: “I guess that douche bag had to get to a UFC party or a nightclub event he was promoting.”