Say it ain't so, Gary Busey

Cross-posted in PEEK and The Mix.

We already lost Buddy Holly to tragedy, do we really need to lose Gary Busey?

As PEEK reported last week The Valley of the Wolves -- Iraq is the biggest, most anti-Americanest movie to hit Turkey since, well, ever (some even believe it's partly in response to Midnight Express...).

Jonathan Schwarz describes it thusly: "it portrays America in Iraq as monstrous, massacring civilians and removing prisoners' organs for patients in the U.S., Israel and England."

And it reserves a special place for Jews, according to the Forward: "perhaps the film's most evil villain is the American Jewish military doctor (played by Gary Busey), who extracts Iraqi prisoners' organs to sell to rich buyers in New York, London and Tel Aviv."

Despite having "sold more than 200,000 tickets and climb[ing] to fifth place in the German box office since it hit theaters here last week," a major German theater chain is pulling the film from its theaters. Jewish groups have made a number of statements over the past week urging them to do so.

Apart from questions over here about why the hell born-again Christian Gary Busey agreed to play the part of an evil organ-peddling Jew, issues of freedom of speech are once again (or still) being heatedly argued. According to the Forward "In order to ban the film, German law says that authorities would have to determine that it violates Criminal Code 130, which outlaws hate speech, or Code 131, calling against the 'exhibition or glorification of intensely violent acts.'"

But Michael Kohlstruck, doctor of political science at Berlin's Technical University, believes there's a better way to go: "It's not right for a liberal society to forbid these films. It's better to leave them open and to discuss them."

But you've got some special circumstances here. You've got a German culture with a middling history when it comes to Jews and a large Turkish immigrant population with its attendant tensions.

One Turkish writer commented: "I prefer a Turkish Michael Moore to a Turkish Rambo in Iraq." I think many agree, but the question is how to get there. Ban it, urge theaters to stop running it, create a commission to battle the propaganda...

A vigorous Gary Busey debate is taking place at the IMDB, with many asking why he would do such a thing. A number are calling out Hollywood and its amorality. Not this time folks. Busey's a born-again Christian from outside the Hollywood machine. So far outside, in fact, that he seldom gets work these days... which may be your reason why he's playing a vicious Jewish stereotype in a hate movie.

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