To many this might seem pretty trivial, but this last week a big thing happened. I got Mohammed Dressup for sale in a physical store. And not just any store, but a store on Hollywood Blvd. One that’s been selling loads of my Jesus magnets for years.
I still have my obvious doubts as to how much they’ll actually sell. I’ve never thought there’d be any sort of mainstream interest in the general population to post Mohammed’s image on ones fridge door for a game of dressup. But I don’t think I’m going too far out on a limb stating that this may very well be the first Prophet Mohammed toy item to sit on a store shelf, like, ever. Am I being too bold?
The store is SoapPlant/Wacko, Hollywood CA, and maybe they’re just putting them out there as a “Who gives a fuck. If they sell they sell. If they don’t, then done” shot in the dark. But for me it’s huge. I hope that giving them a shout out for this isn’t sabotage of some sort. It’s hard for me to keep my cool in this case. It’s a big deal.
I’ve been kicking myself for ordering 2,000 of these motherfuckers earlier this year. I should have gone for 500, or 1,000 at MOST. Knowing what I know about the industry, and what I’d been rebutting on my hate mail pages for the last decade, I should’ve been more cautious. I’ve been saying since the first “I dare you to do Mohammed” email that they’re a tough sell. No one with a credit card gives a fuck about The Prophet, except for the shock-value. But no, here I go again getting all excited over another one of my drawings, spend too much money, and get myself in a predicament where 3 months later I’ve got literally a half ton of product (.5 lb per set) at my doorstep, the tower of which presently stands at the foot of my bed.
It started around 2005 or 06 when I posted the first playable Mohammed Dressup game online that included a burka, an Abu Garb blanket strung up with wires, Uncle Sam, and even a burning plane for him to crash! You’ve seen it. From the beginning of that one, I felt somewhere deep inside, despite the positive feedback, it wasn’t right. It was something I was not. It gave the wrong message somehow, and the feedback was confirming this. So I archived it and set out to try again last winter (2012/13).
The key to this thing, making this Mohammed joke, is it’s not THAT obvious. It does’t have to be chopping off his head with a butcher knife. The success of this image is that he’s beautiful. So beautiful in fact, that anyone not vowed to the Quran would clearly see he’s at least metrosexual. An image so flattering that objecting to it in any way, especially with threat of death, makes the point.
The shipment arrived and the challenge laid itself out before me. At first I could only sell them on the streets. During the course of normal conversation the topic of what I do would come about, and some would buy it off me then and there. One every couple weeks wasn’t going to cut it, obviously, so more needed to be done.
I talked about them in several interviews, but in each case my “Mohammed project” would be dropped out of the final print. This didn’t surprise me. It’s a thick bowl of soup many don’t want to dive into. I wrote some of my own articles. Funny ones, like opposing reasons to buy Mohammed Dressup. But who the fuck is going to respond with their money to a self-promoting blog?
I had an idea for the “Under the Counter” product promotion. It gave reasonable explanations, at least in my mind, as to why stores should consider carrying Mohammed under their counters. It was very sound, but again, it really wasn’t doing the trick. In fact it was probably making them even more paranoid.
If you saw this tower in my bedroom, maybe you’d understand the panic I go to sleep to each night. So when this order for a whole bunch of Jesus magnets, plus 12 Mohammeds arrived, I sighed a great relief.
This could be the end of the story. I’m not expecting the sky to fall, a Jihad, or even mention of it anywhere else but here. Which is why I write about it so thoroughly now.