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HANOI JANE AND THE CITY OF GOD

John Chuckman

A while back Jane Fonda found a new ally in her battle with being a decaying cutie-pie. Injections, face lifts, dye, flaky philosophy, and many hours a day of aerobics were no longer enough to hang on to even an out-of-focus resemblance to the poochy-lipped mannequin of Roger Vadim’s Barbarella.

Jane found Jesus. Not just any Jesus, but America’s Jesus, the one who lets you be “born again,” becoming a child again, a strong sales point where adults are obsessed with youth and living forever. Jane effectively committed herself to spending eternity with the likes of Franklin Graham, Tammy Faye, and George Bush – punishment enough I should think for far more than all her past errors.

Jane may have thought that embracing America’s Jesus would earn her some forgiveness from those who still hate her for opposing the War in Vietnam, but she should have known better. America’s Jesus is especially important during the country’s many invasions of far-off places because He cheers the boys on and lets the folks back home feel good while cluster bombs are dropped on civilians. And Jane should have remembered that poor woman on death row in Texas who had been born again awaiting her execution and received only a sneering comment from Governor Bush before being processed and sent to the morgue.

I suppose, being married to the very wealthy Ted Turner – an inexplicable event in a strange life – Jane expected to be counted as one of America’s Christian Elites, but Turner once described Christianity as “a religion for losers,” a comment that brought no threatening criticism to Ted because as important as America’s Jesus is, He is always trumped by big money. The couple were amicably divorced shortly after Jane’s miraculous conversion.

Now Jane, in the course of a television interview promoting a new book, has said it was “betrayal” to go to North Vietnam and be photographed with anti-aircraft guns.

Those guns with which Jane posed were aimed at American pilots, and America’s strutting, killing-feels-good types have never forgiven her, a number having demanded she be tried for treason. Treason? Imagine a trial for treason over opposition to a war based entirely on lies? The files of every branch of the U.S. government bulged with embarrassing evidence.

I don’t know why Jane would think you could ever apologize to people who used their jets to napalm villages, drop millions of pounds of high explosives into cities and towns, strafe farms with rapid-fire canon, and dump tons of poisonous Agent Orange over pristine jungles. If there are apologies owing in this world, theirs is the truly outstanding missing one.

Let’s throw in the colorful detail of Senator John McCain’s claim that he received extra abuse from his captors for refusing to meet her at the time as other prisoners did. This is same heroic McCain who literally crawled around on his belly last year helping George Bush get re-elected. The same McCain who caught hell in 2000 for ridiculing the role in politics of American fundamentalists and who has done nothing but backpedal from the only brave and honest words uttered in his entire political career.

Jane always has had a tendency for doing things in an over-the-top way, including the way she handled her opposition to the War in Vietnam. But that’s how America likes things done. It just doesn’t respond to rational forms of argument. Look at the Terri Schiavo fiasco, ending near the time of Jane’s television appearance. Iraq is soaked with the blood of innocent people slaughtered by Americans, and all America can talk and pray about is the merciful end of one woman brain-dead for fifteen years. Surely, God must run screaming from such prayers.

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