This one is a real poser, because Jane Fonda — as in f%&@@ Jane Fonda — did not exist in 1966.
This was the Jane Fonda that existed in 1966.
Fonda was, in 1966, one of the hardest working, hottest, most popular young actresses in Hollywood. She was, after all, Hollywood royalty — daughter of Henry, sister of Peter. She was coming off one of her biggest box office successes, as Cat Ballou in 1965 (from which this is taken). And the next year she would have another great success with Robert Redford in Barefoot in the Park.
I’m certain, however, that you were thinking of THAT Jane Fonda, the 1972 Jane Fonda. From 1966 her trajectory was turning ever-more leftward. Her father had been a shining liberal hero, a man whose image was defined by the FDR Political Thesis, and she was headed toward the logical (in retrospect) extreme end of that arc, her own date with extremism. From Barbarella to They Shoot Horses, Don’t They to Klute, she was playing increasingly hard-edged roles which represented everything the Nixon Revolution meant to crush.
And, with her 1972 trip to Hanoi, she gave them all the ammunition they would ever need. Even in 2006, an attempt to honor her in her adopted home state of Georgia failed because of Republican opposition to that f%$&@&@ Jane Fonda.
So who’s Jane Fonda now?
Career self-destruction is a grand Hollywood tradition. Whether over morals like Fatty Arbuckle, or politics, careers can be quickly extinguished over things that, in retrospect, appear trivial. (As opposed to a lack of talent, or the Hollywood Peter Principle, which is another thing entirely, Dennis Miller.)
It’s possible Mel Gibson’s career will survive its present nadir. But he has already made himself anathema to nearly half the audience, and I think that’s the test.
It’s a shame, too, because Gibson, like Fonda, has enormous talent. He can do a wide range of roles. He can direct a wide range of films.
But from now on, I’m afraid he’ll be known to many of us as an anti-semite, just as Fonda is still seen by many as a Communist. If you want me to get off his back, tell Newsmax and the rest to get off hers. The woman’s a grandmother, for gosh sakes. It was over 30 years ago and she has apologized countless times.
But you won’t. So I’m under no obligation, either.