It is the American way: turn the news into an action figure and make some scratch:
- Herobuilders.com owner Emil Vicale said he wanted to take advantage of the craze and built the doll of al-Sahaf dressed in trademark army fatigues and black beret to be sold for $35.95.
“We were able to obtain a digital copy of his voice, his sound bites,” Vicale said. “We were able to digitize that and impregnate that on a voice chip.”
Other dolls sold by the same company include “Saddam Insane,” “President G.W.,” “Butcher of Baghdad,” “British Ally,” and “Osama is Drag” — al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden [who also speaks] in a pink dress. [Reuters]
The Herobuilders site describes the Minister:
- As reporters in Baghdad sent out pictures of American tanks and armoured cars in the center of Baghdad, Iraqi Information Minister, Mohammed Saeed al Sahhaf, kept up his one man battle against the observable facts. He said there were no American troops in Baghdad, and claimed the Iraqis had already given them a thrashing. In fact, Saddam Hussein’s loyal lieutenant was the picture of optimism in the face of overwhelming evidence that the Iraqi regime was crumbling.
Hear doll Volume 1’s exhortations for yourself here.
“[My feelings are as usual] We will slaughter them all!”
“They’re not even [within] 100 miles [of Baghdad]”
“No I am not scared and neither should you be.”
“There are no American infidels in Baghdad. Never!”
Information Minister Volume 2’s (two separate dolls) epithets are:
“We besieged them and have kill most of them.”
“My feelings are as usual, we will slaughter them all.” [same quote as above] “They are trapped everywhere in the country.”
Check out a Sky.com online video of the Minister here. Based upon his voice in the video, and, much more important, the distinct difference in audio quality between the “We will slaughter them all!” and the other quotations, I hereby posit the theory that “We will slaughter them all!” is in fact a recording of the Information Minister, but the remainder of the quotes were spoken by someone else.
Following up on this theory I phoned Herobuilders.com owner Emil Vicale at his Danbury, Connecticutt office. Confirming the theory, Mr. Vicale indicated that the recordings he had of all the quotes other than “We will slaughter them all!” were in Arabic, and since the doll was being sold primarily to Americans, he had a translation made, and an actor recorded the translations. Mystery solved.
With the recordings on his site, Mr. Vitale is clearly not trying to hide anything. Perhaps Reuters is unaware of the impression that was left by its story, that all of the recordings are genuine:
- “We were able to obtain a digital copy of his voice, his sound bites,” Vicale said. “We were able to digitize that and impregnate that on a voice chip.”
Which is certainly true as far as it goes – I just find it odd that Reuters didn’t follow up with the information that another method was used for all but one quote.
At first a bit concerned about where I was going with my questions, when reassured as to my good will toward his product – which I think is hilarious – Mr. Vicale became quite voluble and amicable, and I learned quite a bit more about his operation.
He was able to translate the concept for the doll into reality in a matter of days – in time for the Minister’s dramatic disappearance as Baghdad fell to the allies – using the 3D computer modeling and engineering expertise honed at his other company, Toybuilders.com:
- Action figures and dolls that look just like you!
One of our premiere services is the ability to take photographs of you, your child or even your pet and convert them to something we can actually build on our magic machines. Can you imagine you or your child’s head and face on his or her favorite action figure or doll? All we need is a front and side view photograph! To build your very own action figure just click here to receive a free quote!
An impressive group shot of several customized action figures is here.
Mr. Vicale indicated that “several thousand” of the Dis-information Ministers had been sold thus far and that they were selling very quickly. It has also generated some hate mail, which his site proudly displays:
- From: musa ahmed
WE THE BROTHERS SAY, MAY THE CURSE OF ALLAH BE UPON YOU, AND MAY EVERY MUSLIM ATTACK YOU FOR THE WAY YOU HAVE PORTRAYED OUR MUSLIM BROTHER WHOM WE LOVE VERY MUCH FOR THE SAKE OF ALLAH…MUSLIMS ARE PURE, YOU ARE THE HOMOSEXUALS AND WIFE SWAPPING PIG LOVING SCUM…….WHY DONT YOU PUT A DRESS ON YOUR GAY BUSH.AND FORTHERMORE A MUSLIM DOCTOR SAID THERE IS A CURE FOR ALL OF YOU GAY AMERICANS. THE CURE IS , SUPER GLUE EVERY HOLE ON YOUR BODY, THAT WAY YOU WILL STOP BEING SODOMITES. BUT MAY THE AIDS VIRUS WIPE YOU ALL OUT….
From: April Martin
I came across your website and your “action dolls” and I was very offended. You have disrespected a whole religion by the nasty image you have made in your “villian” doll. Muslims, as much as you hate us, are pure. We do not look like this and never will. I am an american, but you make me hate being one. Your thoughts are gross, and your Bush is not a hero. He has killed thousands and millions of people. But of coarse that doesnt matter, because they are not americans huh? You make me sick and I just wait for the day of Judgement so we all can be judged by the only One who knows everything…
From: Mohammad Saleh
Osama Bin Laden he will kick you, and your hero assess one day , take my word
- In this dream palace, the problems of the Arab world are never the Arabs’ fault. It is always the Jews, the Zionists, the Americans, and the imperialists who are to blame. This palace reeks of conspiracies–of Israelis who blew up the World Trade Center, of Jews who put the blood of Muslim children in their pastries, of Americans who fake images of Iraqis celebrating in Baghdad in order to fool the world. In this palace, Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, the Iraqi information minister, was taken seriously because he told the Arabists what they wanted to hear.
There are tens of millions of people in the Arab/Muslim world who took the Information Minister at his word, even as the West chuckled in disbelief at his preposterous rants. Even with reality impinging upon the Minister’s fantasy in the VERY SAME PICTURE FRAME as his deranged exclamations, many in the Arab world clung to his words rather than the evidence before their very eyes.
We laugh at the absurdity of this obdurate clinging to fantasy, in this refusal to accept reality for what it, to us, so obviously is. We laugh because otherwise we would cry at this dangerous mass insanity that still grips much of the world and which is at the very root of 9/11.
The dolls are only available through the Herobuilders.com website.