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30 January, 2007

Kinda Fonda Jane

I was a boy the last time Jane Fonda spoke at an anti-war rally. Back in the early 1970s, the star of Barbarella and Klute became known to her detractors as ‘Hanoi Jane’, not just for her outspoken opposition to the Vietnam war but for the much less forgivable sin of supporting the communist regime in North Vietnam, and the cause of communism in general. Just a decade or two earlier, she would have been in serious trouble but by the late sixties and early seventies, things had changed and there was a lot more freedom of speech in the US.

I barely noticed Ms Fonda’s antics at the time – I was too busy messing up my own young life – yet it was with an odd sense of déjà vu that I saw her in the papers again earlier this week addressing another anti-war rally in the States. This time she and tens of thousands of others were protesting against the invasion and occupation of Iraq. (And doesn’t that just show how much the climate of opinion has changed over there? At least, until the next terrorist attack.)

It normally upsets me to see ‘celebrities’ spouting off about this and that. On the whole, they are far too stupid to hold opinions about anything and only embarrass everyone when they espouse them. But in some cases, I’ll make an exception – and Jane Fonda is one of them. She has always come across as someone who really does care about what’s going on in the world and, however misled by enthusiasm, ignorance or naïveté – as she has often seemed to be – her heart has always been in the right place. What’s more, she has consistently and doggedly supported serious and worthwhile causes for forty years now. As she put it at the rally, ‘I'm so sad that we still have to do this.’ It’s no wonder her stand is getting so much support.

Good on ya, Jane! Nice to see you back.

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