Sunday, April 10, 2005

Kinda Fonda Jane

Karen H. Pittman

Hey, guys, quick before you miss it, look up: I'm about to step out onto the ledge here and say something terribly controversial. I'm about to break ranks with my conservative brethren.

Yes, Jane Fonda did some horrible things in Hanoi. Yes, she was a wild child, an hysterical 60’s flower-power flouter of the first order. But that doesn’t change the fact that she herself may have changed. Whoever the girl was, the grown woman is now someone else entirely – a mature, thoroughly mellowed 67-year-old grandmother in need of artificial hips.

Try as I might, for the sake of the cause, I cannot dislike her. For despite her faults, she brings one sterling quality to the table which your typical Hollywood socialite does not, and that is substance. Jane Fonda herself is silver-minted. And let's face it: No airhead would have dared perch her derriere atop an enemy gunship just for the sake of publicity.

Whatever we may think of Ms. Fonda's activism in Vietnam, we cannot seriously think she did all of that for attention. If nothing else, we must at least be intellectually and morally honest enough to admit that Jane Fonda, the girl, did the things she did for the same reasons we do – because she truly, acutely, radically believed. To assert anything less is to do ourselves and our cause a disservice, to say nothing of her and hers.

And if we, some thirty-five years later, still can’t get over it, that’s our problem. If more of us would just do what I'm trying to do in making the effort to look past this woman's tempestuous past – if we would all just chill out long enough to suspend judgment for five whole minutes and actually listen to what she has to say – we would happily discover, I believe, that much of what she says has merit. Her words are, at times, even profound.

Agree or disagree with her political ideology, embrace or disavow her evolving brand of Christianity, at least Jane Fonda is herself evolving, and is committed to some cause larger than her own. At least she is earnestly searching.

I mean, my God, if the Pope could forgive Mehmet Ali Agca, can't we forgive Jane Fonda?


At 12:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautifully stated. You've articulated the kind of compassion and reflectiveness that are a necessity to personal growth and universal acceptance. I'm kind Fonda Jane myself.


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