10 Hottest Pro
INDIVIDUAL: Agent Nima*
GROUP SIZE: Approximately 2.1 Billion
NATURE OF GROUP: Muslims (through the Shias and more-so Sufis could probably care less.)
INCIDENCE OF SOCIOMETRY: Malcontent #4 – 10 Hottest Pro
*Name IS slightly altered to protect the wantonly reckless.
In 2010, while working in my day-job and agent cover as an art and design academic, I served in an advisory and contributor capacity on Malcontent – a ‘zine authored and détourned together by IS agent Nima – operating in his cover as a design student.
(Below) A previous project by Nima – which resulting in him being conferred IS agent status. The Typography course assignment was to create large scale environmental graphics and photoshop them onto pictures of billboards. Nima wrote Ahhh Snap! on the outside of my 2nd story office window in post-its. (Note: he had to scale the awning of the campus police station to do so and write the message backwards for correct legibility on the inside of my office). I gave him an A+ (though it was marked down to a C- for being turned in 7 weeks late…)
Malcontent #4 The Prophets & Profits Issue was the culmination of a 16 week four issue spree. Fresh off of #3 The Animal Totems Issue – agent Nima was interested in continuing to explore the dialectic between the physical and metaphysical. He came into my office with thIS pitch for issue #4:
“I want to depict Muhammad.”
For context – here is a brief history of the “Depiction of Muhammad” controversy in the 21rst century:
It is debatable whether Islam prohibits the depiction of Muhammad. The Qur’an doesn’t forbid depictions of Mohammed (Allah was concerned with less petty things at the time) but there are Haddith – supplemental teachings – which expressly prohibit depiction of the Prophet. There is a general prohibition in orthodox monotheisms, including Islam’s prequels Christianity and Judaism, of worshipping “graven images” as a substitute for God. Sunni Islam pretty much toes-the-line on this but Shia Islam (which includes the Sufis who could care less because they’re too busy dancing and chanting) doesn’t seem to mind a respectful image of Muhammad. No one likes denigration of the Prophet in any form. It’s worth noting here that Agent Nima – a first generation Persian-American – would likely ascribe to Shia Islam if he didn’t instead pledge allegiance to good old ‘Merican Fight-Club n’ The Joker style Post-Modern Ontological Anarchy.
The recent cycle of controversy around depictions of Muhammad, crass muslim baiting with retaliatory fire-bombing, started in 2005 when the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten began publishing culturally crude but satirically clever political cartoons depicting, among other themes, a borderline racist caricature of Muhammed with a lit bomb for a turban. Ostensibly Jyllands-Posten was making a statement on the self-censorship of media regarding criticism of violence in Islam but more likely they were throwing wood on the smoldering fire of Scandinavian anti-immigrant racism as a way to either editorially sympathize or more likely just to sell newspapers and consequently more full-page furniture outlet adds. The cartoons were reprinted in over 50 publications resulting in a downward spiral protest from Muslims around the world descending from diplomatic and legal challenges to street riots leading to over 200 violent deaths and attacks on Danish and European embassies in Muslim countries.
The ‘Merican sophomoric practically stick-figure cartoon South Park tackled the issue of censorship with their own spin on depictions of Muhammed in the 2010 episode 200, a complex narrative weaving together many pre-existing plots culminating in Tom Cruise spearheading a celebrity class-action lawsuit against the town of South Park that he will only withdraw if the children produce Muhammad. The children do produce Muhammed bit he is kidnapped by the Ginger Separatist Group of fair-haired children prior to being delivered to Cruz. Depictions on Muhammad had a tradition on South Park going back to 2001. He is part of a gout of prophets, including a cocaine snorting Buddha, referred to as Super Best Friends and even cameos in a group shot of the shows credits. Despite the depiction and treatment of Muhammad being largely respectful (especially for South Park standards) and a sub-plot in their vehement take-down of their arch nemesis Tom Cruz, Comedy Central and show creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone were besieged with multiple and humorless death threats.
In 2011 the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo picked up the mantle with an issue guest edited by a charicaturized Muhammad. Their offices were firebombed and reduced to rubble on the issue release date.
In 2012 B-team fraudster and Coptic Christian Nakoula Basseley Nakoula youtube released 15 minutes of a budgetless D-movie titled Innocence of Muslims which depicted Muhammad as a pedophile and simpleton – just in time for the Anniversary of September 11th. The resulting world-wide protests quickly degenerated into violence which culminated in an angry mob and/or terrorists (the jury is apparently still out on this despite the Fox News hyperbole) in Benghazi Libya killing US Ambassador Christopher Stephens.
Back to Agent Nima’s desire to dive into these murky waters:
Considering the cons, (death threats, a Fox News van parked on the front lawn of the Art Building to “defend” Malcontent, being disrespectful to the many observant Muslim students on campus, and loosing my day-job at Politically Correct College) against the pros, (honoring the First Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America, the philosophy of academic freedom, that after all it’s just a ‘sine, and Agent Nima’s uncanny ability to be patently offensive while riotously funny and likable), I acquiesced after a long cautionary conversation.
Though given (and taking) carte-blanche, I feel ultimately that agent Nima’s resulting article and it’s neoclassical picture of Muhammed pulled off of google image search would offend Muslim’s more due to him being third runner up in the 10 Hottest Pro
phefits! to Branch Davidian founder David Koresh and Christ with rock hard abs that due to the inclusion of the graphic.
Without further adieu here is the article (click on the image or here to read in PDF format):
ThIS report was spawned from the Malcontent tri-fold display at iSFair 2O12.