Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Marketing religion

Via NTodd, a New York Times article about the marketing of religious-themed T-shirts and and jewelry and other consumer crap:

"There is no question, religion is becoming the new brand," said Jane Buckingham, the president of Youth Intelligence, a trend-forecasting company. "To a generation of young people eager to have something to belong to, wearing a 'Jesus Saves' T-shirt, a skullcap or a cabala bracelet is a way of feeling both unique, a member of a specific culture or clan, and at the same time part of something much bigger."

There was a time when such symbols were worn discreetly and were purchased mostly at gift shops or Bible stores. Now, emboldened perhaps by celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Paris Hilton, who are photographed brandishing spiritual messages on shirts and caps, aspiring hipsters and fashion groupies as well as the devout are flaunting similar items, which are widely available at mass-market chains and online.

A casual survey of the Internet last week, including mainstream marketers like Amazon.com, turned up T-shirts, bowling bags, belt buckles and dog tags by the hundreds bearing messages like "Inspired by Christ," "Give All the Glory to God," "I {sheart} Hashem" (a Hebrew term for God), "Moses Is My Homeboy" and "Buddha Rocks."

Hmm. I wonder if perhaps there's an untapped market for t-shirts adorned with some of my own favorite uplifting Old Testament verses, such as Leviticus 20:16?

Update: Speaking of, well, you know: Over at The American Street, Kevin Hayden wonders about the origins of right-wingers' bestiality fantasies . . .


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