The Way We Live Now: Bootleg. Quality is dead. Authenticity has been taken out to the trash, then stolen by scavengers and sold for one hit of whale penis leather—bootleg whale penis leather. What would Ed Hardy think?

Nothing is sacred in this savage world, any more. Not even Ed Hardy, America's foremost artist. Pirates—pirates!—are bootlegging Ed Hardy gear left and right, victimizing those members of society least able to make wise choices on their own: the people who wear Ed Hardy shirts.

Hell-O-bama? Where is the government, on this?

It gets worse. That Diamond Edition customized armored car you ordered, with the genuine whale penis leather interior? The one you were totally gonna rock out with your cock out in your genuine Ed Hardy-brand nightlife-ready gear? You can forget the whale penis leather interior dude. They're not offering it any more.

Whales are treated better than Ed Hardy, in this crazy mixed-up economy.

So as you gaze out at all of the world's glory—the plastic roads in rural India, the not-yet-bankrupt Euro Disney, the art market that's suddenly decadent and overpriced again, as it should be—take a moment to mourn for the recession's real victims. Dudes like this.

And also this.

[Pics: Flickr, HCWDB.]