O Me of Little Faith

I was gently mocked yesterday on Twitter for pushing a bunch of products yesterday — some of which are sorta pricey — during a recession. Of course, they’re products that have made my life better and brought me a little joy, so I don’t really feel the need to apologize for yesterday’s post. But I do see the impropriety of the timing.

(Fake Band Shirts would really complement almost everything else you wear. They are specially designed to enhance musculature and improve skin tone. NOTE: The Fake Band Shirts store is currently changing to a new distributor and is not currently online. Soon, though.)

That said, I’m also a big advocate on trying to live beneath your means. Living simply. Not buying stuff just because you can, or because it makes you feel good, or because you want to be like someone else. That’s why I’m a proud member of the Junky Car Club. As of this year, my wife and I drive vehicles are at least 10 years old and paid for (1997 Honda Civic Hatchback, 109K miles; 1999 Honda CR-V, 79K miles). It’s not always convenient — there are times we would like a larger, newer car — but I think simplicity is a virtue more of us should pursue.

(If you haven’t purchased your own signed copy of Pocket Guide to the Bible for $6.99, I seriously don’t know what you’re waiting for. It will make your life better. I promise. Click the buttons in the sidebar to buy yours today!)

Brad Abare, the founder of Church Marketing Sucks and the Center for Church Communication, is a marketing guy I respect, and he’s begun seeing an increase in stuff coming from the mainstream press about simplicity.

In Newsweek, Johnnie L. Roberts writes about “luxury shame,” describing how rich people have become less willing to flaunt their crazy-wealthy lifestyle, and how the luxury goods market is suffering as a result.

In Adweek, Noreen O’Leary sees this recession as a “global realignment” in which our generation’s hectic rate of consumption and product acquisition will be forced to slow down.

(Have I mentioned that I’m a painter? I paint really big paintings that would look awesome on your wall. It might be more expensive than buying a big framed print at Kirkland’s, but your painting would be custom and original and a real conversation-starter. It would also make you happy. Can you really put a price on happiness? I think you can. Then you can hang that happiness above your couch.)

And in the LA Times, Reed Johnson writes about the “scarcity culture,” about how every season of consumption and prosperity in U.S. history seems to be followed by a season of hardship. Guess what just ended? Guess where we are now?

I’m a writer and an artist and a marketing professional, which means I’m a purveyor of goods and services people don’t always need. My work is rarely considered a necessity — you can’t eat a Pocket Guide book, though a few thousand of them might make a nice bonfire — which means my commitment to simple living and modestly non-consumeristic bent is at odds with my skills and career goals. I live in a weird kind of tension between passion and promotion, between belief and doubt, between a rock and a hard place.

Anyhow, don’t cry for me, Argentina. I’m dealing with it.

What about you? Are you having to make some deliberate, simplicity-focused choices during this current economic downturn?

If not, can I interest you in some t-shirts?

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