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JULY 1, 2001



On May 8th we wrote an essay on this website entitled "Hanoi Jane at Lincoln Center - The Reinvention Advances." we said that: "Since earlier this year, Hanoi Jane has once again been reinventing herself." We made the point that if one examined her activities from the beginning of the year, a clear pattern of self-reinvention emerged. In February came her announcement that she was writing her autobiography, she appeared on her pal Barbara Walters's TV show, and she appeared briefly on stage in a play entitled "The Vagina Monologues." In March, Ted Turner announced that he had given Hanoi Jane $100 million, and she in turn donated $12.5 to Harvard for the funding of a questionable "gender studies" program. In April, she appeared at a Ft. Worth fundraiser relating to prevention of teen pregnancy. In May, Fonda received a tribute from New York City's Lincoln Center Film Society. In June, she threw a party for hundreds of neighbors at her newly acquired ranch in New Mexico, and spoke at a conference in Sweden.


Now in the July/August issues of AMERICAN HERITAGE magazine we have Hanoi Jan e on the cover, the subject of a lengthy article entitled "MS AMERICA Why Jane Fonda Is A Mirror Of The Nation's Past 40 Years." This ten page illustrated cover story treads familiar ground: her daughter, Vanessa, refers to Hanoi Jane as a "chameleon," the author notes that her marriage to Turner "was just another identity pit stop for a public figure who is part Zeitgeist receptacle, part historical timeline, and part cultural encyclopedia," the warts-and-all Fonda family history is yet again dredged up, and Jane's flirtation with and then marriage to radicalism is surveyed. There is, however, a brief section of the article that is significant for our purposes: the references to Fonda's July 1972 pilgrimage to North Viet Nam. And, once again, in Hanoi Jane's current orchestrated campaign to reinvent herself, she makes matters worse.


The AMERICAN HERITAGE article accurately identifies some of what was happening to Fonda when she went to Hanoi: "All the earmarks of her actress training came into play: a radical immersion in the subject experience resulting in profound empathy, followed by an exhibitionist portrayal of this newly adopted perspective." Then - the clear implication being that the author had somewhere obtained a fresh quotation, probably from Fonda herself - he writes about the infamous photograph of Jane Fonda squinting through the sight of a North Vietnamese antiaircraft gun, searching for an imaginary American plane: "'The worst thing I ever did in my life' is how Fonda assesses that moment today. ' It's the most stupid, naïve thing I could have done. I was so swept up in what was happening that I didn't even think that there were photographers there and how it could be interpreted. I will go to my grave regretting that - not going to North Vietnam,' she qualifies, 'but that photograph'."


Let's break this down.


The author is directly quoting Fonda.


Hanoi Jane says that she was "stupid" and "naïve." Not wrong. Not assisting the Communists' propaganda campaign. Not acting in a manner inimical to the interests of her country. Just "stupid" and "naïve" - like buying a lemon used car, perhaps.


Then Fonda asserts: "I didn't even think that there were photographers there." She must have been blind, as the cover of "Aid and Comfort": Jane Fonda in North Viet Nam" will conclusively prove - as do the many other photographs of Hanoi Jane sitting on that antiaircraft gun, surrounded by reporters.


But most important is that, yet again, Fonda has been quoted as stating merely that she "regrets" the photograph - We'll bet she does! - but not expressing regret for going to North Viet Nam, where she made propaganda broadcasts, met with senior Communist civilian and military leaders, exploited American POWs, held anti-American press conferences, and provided the North Vietnamese with countless "photo ops."


No, Fonda still has no "regret" about any of that.


Maybe she will when "Aid and Comfort" is published. Maybe then - when the truth20is known about what she did in North Viet Nam, and the harm it caused - Hanoi Jane's self-reinvention will finally end.