February 15, 2008

Congratulations to Jane Fonda!



She's got herself in the news again. You've got to give that woman credit for finding a way — one way or another — to make herself newsworthy decade after decade. The lady is 70. She's some kind of media genius, right? She goes on the "Today" show on Valentine's Day with Eve Ensler, and they're promoting that tired old theater piece that gets reeled out every year to put a damper on Valentine's Day enthusiasm, and they know this means they can say "vagina, vagina, vagina," because it's the name of the play. And then clear as day, knowing absolutely what she's doing, Jane Fonda says "I was asked to do a monologue called 'Cunt.'"

Here's the NSFW video, which includes Meredith Vieira's instant apology: "It was a slip and obviously she apologizes, and so do we. We would do nothing to offend the audience." But it wasn't a slip, and by what authority does Vieira apologize on behalf of Fonda? Let her apologize for NBC, but recognize that Jane Fonda has a mind, the mind of a media genius — a media whore. (I think that's a fair expression.) She did what she wanted to do: Sit there on the couch, looking prim and protesting that she lives in Georgia — as if she's channeling deep-rooted Georgian values — and then crisply enunciating the word "cunt."

And everyone talks about her. Some will tsk. Some will spew. Some will preen with a ridiculous air of superiority and offer a tedious lecture about how "Cunt" actually is the name of a monologue in the play that is all about saying the word "cunt" over and over to transform us through the catharsis of theater into enlightened beings who don't mind anymore if someone says "cunt." So if you had only seen the play — if you weren't so illiterate — you would know that you look terribly ignorant to people in the know who have seen "The Vagina Monologues."

Well, I've seen "The Vagina Monogues." Who hasn't? It plays everywhere, since it says things a lot of people want said and it's so easy to produce and perform — 3 women sit on stools and get to read their lines off index cards. Ensler is a theater genius for thinking it up, and I congratulate her for devising such a brilliantly successful money-making writing project. But it not a very good play, and no one needs to feel inferior for passing it up. It's not like never having seen "Hamlet." And anyone watching "The Today Show" clip can easily see that Fonda is saying the name of her monologue in the play. That's all beside the point. She said the baddest bad word, and she planned to say it. She's not out of control. She did exactly what she wanted to do, and she's got your rapt attention — something she's done for 5 decades.

Object to the content all you want, but give her credit. She's a first-class media genius. For purporting to apologize for her, Meredith Vieira owes Jane Fonda an apology.

132 comments:

MadisonMan said...

People who watch morning "news" shows deserve what they get.

But now the Right-Wing Complaint Industry can swamp the FCC with, well, complaints about how their oh-so-precious eardrums were singed, and the FCC can harrumph and scold and levy fines on a contrite NBC. And then everyone will be happy: The complainers will sit back on their righteous chairs and say they've done everything they can do to protect the children!, the FCC can say it's acquiesced to the public will, and NBC can bask in the glow of publicity for responding to and taking responsibility for public demands for decency.

Jane Fonda is a genius. She brings the whole Nation together to achieve a common goal!

George said...

Ah, Diane Keaton said 'f*ck" on Good Morning America a few weeks ago, didn't she?

And why can't these soon-to-be-elderly women try to look their age...Fonda, Ensler, and Viera all look so odd with their strangely dyed/straightened/frosted hair....

SGT Ted said...

What struck me was Ensler talking about "femicide"; the systematic oppression and killing of women and she ddin't once refer to Islam. What is it with left feminists and their inability to go there?

Roger said...

Good lord--who cares what either Fonda or Viera said. Non issue.

Palladian said...

I don't think it's genius to say a vulgar word on television. I mean, of course it's going to get play, especially when it issues from the mouth of someone as hated as Jane Fonda.

This is something I tell my students: it isn't genius to be able to shock people. If you unexpectedly fire a starter's pistol in a crowded room, people will react. If you suddenly remove your pants and shit on the floor, people will be disgusted. The reaction's too easily obtained to qualify as genius.

rhhardin said...

Cunt is a fine word. Its possibilities have been overlooked in public media. It has a thousand shadings.

Unfortunately it would quickly become a substitute for a little thought for just the right word, like George Carlin comedy acts and ``shit'' for everything.

But look at Barthelme in Snow White, and you won't find a finer example.

The male use starts with metonymy, part for the whole, summarizing the beginning of male interest in the woman.

Barthelme shades that into a memory.

Fonda references the male use but forgets the male, and brings it home.

Of course she's trading on the FCC : try to stop me, you pricks.

NBC is run by the easily frightened.

Robert Frost used it as a Shakesperian pun, in The Need of Being Versed in Country Things, a poem about how the phoebes will not understand human sexuality.

T. Hayden said...

Correction: she has *your* rapt attention, professor.

Most of us don't care one way or another what she said.

I await your apology for making claims about *our* rapt attention, when obviously you are just talking about yourself.

It must be so difficult for you that Jane Fonda is more talented and popular than you'll ever be.

AllenS said...

Ditto what T. Hayden said. Fonda doesn't have my rapt attention.

joe said...

I just thought Fonda was funny. Funny, like MadMan here talking about the Right Wing Complaint Industry. As if it isn't the Left who has perfected the rhetoric of victimhood.

TROBlog said...

I don't give a damn about the dried-up old "c*nt." Except that she is still a traitor from her Vietnam days.

the wolf said...

In my opinion, they asked the right person to do the monologue, given its name.

BJK said...

Well, I've seen "The Vagina Monogues." Who hasn't?

Ah....I think I can answer that question with only one word:



'Guys.'

ballyfager said...

Jane Fonda is NO kind of genius. She's dumb and she craves the limelight. A common failing among celebrities.

Bob said...

Well, I've seen "The Vagina Monogues." Who hasn't?

And most people in red states, I'd imagine. I think you're projecting, Ann.

Balfegor said...

a media whore. (I think that's a fair expression.)

Tut tut professor! Haha.

But then, she's an actress after all.

Mr. Forward said...

There's a lot of Vietnam vets who thought that was Fonda's first name.

kensington said...

Nothing that we haven't already heard in films; however when James McAvoy typed it out in Atonement I was definately paying attention. But Jane Fonda, not so much.

AllenS said...

As a Viet Nam vet ditto what Mr. Forward said. No, I have not seen the Vagina Monologues, and I don't know anyone who has. Maybe it's a big city/woman thing.

MagicalPat said...

...the name of a monologue in the play that is all about saying the word "cunt" over and over to transform us through the cathexis of theater into enlightened beings who don't mind anymore if someone says "cunt."

That was exactly the philosophy behind Lenny Bruce and the use of the 'N' word. It was so effective, we now refer to it as the 'N' word.

Middle Class Guy said...

From Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon:

Jane Fonda offends by saying something inoffensive

“Ah, I love moments like this. Grown adults scrambling around, getting completely offended over something that’s got no logical reason to offend you. If you’ve seen the play, you know the piece she’s talking about, and the whole point of it is to make the audience face up to the irrational fear caused by the sound of the word and realize how silly they’re being.”

“Calling someone a cunt is pretty offensive, but again, that’s based on context. This was about the least offensive use of the word imaginable.”

So, you see, context forgives anything. Isn’t that nice.

Bissage said...

LADY PRESENTER (after reading The Meaning of Life):

And finally, here are some completely gratuitous pictures of penises to annoy the censors and to hopefully spark some sort of controversy which it seems is the only way these days to get the jaded video-sated public off their fucking arses and back in the sodding cinema. Family entertainment bollocks! What they want is filth, people doing things to each other with chainsaws during tupperware parties, babysitters being stabbed with knitting needles by gay presidential candidates, vigilante groups strangling chickens, armed bands of theatre critics exterminating mutant goats - where's the fun in pictures?

Oh well, there we are - here's the theme music. Goodnight.

TROBlog said...

Something just struck me though - or actually had struck me a while ago but I just found a place to mention it - which is here.

With the derogatory term "bitch" being reclaimed by women as a term of empowerment (something I think is moronic since it's like men claiming "asshole" as empowering), is "c*nt" the only woman-directed insult that can really offend now?

And if it is, does Fonda's use of it on national TV mean it is being reclaimed too?

And why can't I make myself spell the word out without censoring it?

Oh f*ck it. I am just gonna say it. Cunt.

Maggie45 said...

What Mr. Forward said is the first thing I thought of when I first read about this. lol. I know a lot of Vietnam Vets.

DaveW said...

Well, I've seen "The Vagina Monogues." Who hasn't?

Raises his hand.

Richard Fagin said...

Jane Fonda sayintg "cunt" on television isn't the least bit offensive.

Jane Fonda posing on a North Vietnamese antiaircraft gun while American planes are getting shot down by such guns, now THAT'S offensive. No wait, that's treason. Why is that worthess piece of crap not spending the rest of her life in Leavenworth?

TROBlog said...

Well, I've seen "The Vagina Monogues." Who hasn't?

I saw portions of it on HBO, staring the writer I think. It reminded me of a Women's Studies class I took back in college. It had the intent of being enlightening and empowering, but came across as angry and kind of creepy.

My overall opinion of the subject though? I'm glad I don't have one but I enjoy visiting now and again.

Balfegor said...

With the derogatory term "bitch" being reclaimed by women as a term of empowerment (something I think is moronic since it's like men claiming "asshole" as empowering), is "c*nt" the only woman-directed insult that can really offend now?

Well, there's "whore," "slattern," "slut," "hussy," "painted Jezebel," and -- I am sure -- quite a lot of others. Re: asshole, I don't think that's gender-specific. Is it?

paul a'barge said...

This is absolutely the best piece on this kerfluffle I've read so far.

It's a word. The controversy is custom-built to enable victimhood.

Freder Frederson said...

Ah....I think I can answer that question with only one word:



'Guys.'


Good one BJK! I stumbled upon on it on HBO once. All I could think of was that scene in Wayne's World 2 when Garth imagines himself at a Kenny G. concert when he is having excruciating dental work done.

ricpic said...

At least Joan Baez, execrable as her politics were, had the decency to admit to being wrong when the boat people evidence started mounting up. Fonda? Nothing. She's one of those queens who sail through life leaving wreckage behind her as she advances, head held high, eyes forward, convinced of her noble rectumtude to the very end.

Chip Ahoy said...

*puts in Barbarella*

"Man, this chick is hawt!"

Chip Ahoy said...

*puts in work-out video*

"This chick makes me sweat!"

Zeb Quinn said...

What I find disconcerting is that there are those out there who get their eyeballs all bulged out and that vein on their necks to throbbing about defending the use of words like this in polite conversation as somehow being a good thing. I'm not talking about anybody's "right" to speech. I'm talking about vulgarity and basic manners.

Roger Sweeny said...

"Cunt" actually is the name of a monologue in the play that is all about saying the word "cunt" over and over to transform us through the cathexis of theater into enlightened beings who don't mind anymore if someone says "cunt."

Ironically, this is a pretty direct steal of a bit that Lenny Bruce used to do when he said the word "n*gger" over and over. The idea was the same. And of course, we've so gone the other way that I wouldn't spell out the word for fear it would keep this page from passing through various internet filters.

(Years ago, I found one version in a 1967 Ballantine paperback, The Essential Lenny Bruce.)

PatCA said...

I hate to agree with Bill O'Reilly, but I think these dames go on these shows and cuss to try to prove they're still hip. They aren't.

Oh, and I'm writing a play called "Merry Christmas." We just say the word Christmas over and over, until it is devoid of all negative connotations. It's sooo...empowering!

Skyler said...

You should always show enough respect to use her full title. The correct form is, Jane Fonda Traitor Commie Bitch.

Meade said...

"Bitch" seems a little tame. Plus, it fails to alliterate.

Still, it was Valentine's Day.
Let's give her a little credit for getting right to the point.

MadisonMan said...

Funny, like MadMan here talking about the Right Wing Complaint Industry. As if it isn't the Left who has perfected the rhetoric of victimhood.

Investigate sometime who makes the lion's share of complaints to the FCC. Ask yourself: is this a right-wing or left-wing organization? Whether or not those on the left can cry victim any more or less frequently (about other things) doesn't change what I said.

lawnguylander said...

What I find disconcerting is that there are those out there who get their eyeballs all bulged out and that vein on their necks to throbbing about defending the use of words like this in polite conversation as somehow being a good thing.

Who are you talking about? Althouse? I don't see her angrily defending her use of the word in what I guess you would consider polite company but then again nobody has challenged her on it either. Professor Althouse, not being a media whore at all herself you see, is within bounds to discuss the word. And I don't see anyone challenging troblog on actually calling Jane Fonda a cunt or others who are just implying that the word applies to her.

And Professor, what do you have against talking about vaginas and how do the performances of the Vagina Monologues put a damper on Valentine's day? They had no impact on mine.

Danny said...

Oh I effing LOVE this! Even better is the giddy couple waving at the camera as Meredith delivers her fake apology. Jane, I disagree with your politics but bravo on being (one of?) the first to get this rarely used word out there into the ears of whoever the hell still watches the Today show.

The Drill SGT said...

In polite company we always called her:

That traitor Hanoi Jane

For Jane it has always been that she righteously knows what is best for us.

Fen said...

Jane Fonda posing on a North Vietnamese antiaircraft gun while American planes are getting shot down by such guns, now THAT'S offensive.

When the hyperbolic claim the Right has descended into Fascism, I enjoy pointing out that people like Fonda are the canary in a coal mine. No one's lobbed a grenade at her or the likes of Code Pink.

TROBlog said...

When the hyperbolic claim the Right has descended into Fascism, I enjoy pointing out that people like Fonda are the canary in a coal mine. No one's lobbed a grenade at her or the likes of Code Pink.

Huh?

rcocean said...

Thanks Althouse for an excellent analysis.

Fonda has been the role model for Paris Hilton and others on how to get attention without being intelligent or doing anything of note.

And its good to see lefties defending the use of 4 letter words on TV, it just confirms what the rest of us think of them.

Peter said...

I saw the Vagina Monologues in college because a friend of mine was acting in it. (She was the one who talked about her "coochie-snorcher.") What a waste of time. BORING. What's so cool about talking about your vagina? Guys do it all the time, talking about their dicks, cocks, nutz, balls, skin flutes, trouser snakes, Beaver Cleavers, and one-eyed warriors. Is that something women should want to emulate? Is feminism about acting like men? If so, why is it called "feminism?" Shouldn't it be called "male mimesis" or "female agentive en-masculinization" or something smart and academic-sounding like that?

It wasn't really "shocking" like it self-advertised; rather, it was a group of people who were trying really hard to be shocking. It was a theater full of like-minded people who felt empowered by the idea that, somewhere out there, someone was being offended by what they did -- like in the Onion article where a frustrated Marilyn Manson goes around door to door trying to shock people.

I remember when it used to make me feel cool and grown up in high school to smoke cigarettes or say naughty four-letter words, too. But I don't necessarily think that kind of attitude makes for a useful political philosophy.

B said...

Roger Sweeney above made the point I wanted to say.

What vanity and fantasy it is to those who believe that by "saying" a general socially taboo word over and over, that it gives everyone "permission" to use the words in any and all situations.

Language is a "social contract". "Bad words" are bad words because they are offensive - that's what they stand for. Everybody agrees on that part of the contract: even those who don't use such words in "polite company" are acknowledging the value of bad words. Thus, the contract works. If it were possible to "desensitize" all such bad words, what do you then have to take their place in communication?

Hip Hop - the misogynist, racist kind - has found no mainstream societal success at "desensitizing" the use of "nigger", "bitch" or "cunt", and it sells into middle class white homes at about 100 times the rate of anything Eve Ensler has offered.

Martin Luther King was able to lead a national revolution without desensitizing "nigger". What a loser he must have been.



BTW - met Jane Fonda in 1976, when she did a rally for her then-husband Tom Hayden's senatorial bid. After the rally, only attended by about 200 on a college campus, the media quickly left and she was standing alone, looking at the clock tower behind her. I approached and then spent 40 minutes talking with her. I didn't agree with all of her political views, but she was fascinating and charming and beautiful to boot. She reminds me of Bill Clinton in her ability to read people immediately. Ann is correct - Jane Fonda always knows exactly what she is doing.

MadisonMan said...

rcocean, I'm not sure if I'm one of the lefties to which you refer, but please don't mistake my extreme cycnicism for a defense.

btw, I prefer to think of myself not so much as a lefty. I am an American Citizen. Yes, that's how I self-identify these days.

The Drill SGT said...

Clock Tower as in UC?

Middle Class Guy said...

MadisonMan said...
But now the Right-Wing Complaint Industry can swamp the FCC with, well, complaints;

The FCC is a bipartisan group, appointed by members of both parties.

Who gave us political correctness? Who decided that certain words or descriptions were verboten?

Last week all the Liberals were in a tizzie over the "pimping" of Chelsea Clinton.

There is no excuse for foul language in a news setting. Ms. Fonda was not on stage giving a so called atristic performance. She did it because she could. She did it because she knew she could get away with it. She did it because she is a media whore.

If people complain to the FCC, so what. NBC and the others need their little pee pee's slapped once in a while.

shadow said...

Ensler is a theater genius for thinking it up, and I congratulate her for devising such a brilliantly successful money-making writing project.

Well, that's the cynical view. Perhaps she actually thought she had something worthwhile to say.

But it not a very good play, and no one needs to feel inferior for passing it up. It's not like never having seen "Hamlet."

That's your opinion, but I wouldn't judge it as a typical play. It's main purpose is to get people to think about a variety of sexual issues from the female point of view. To that end, I think it does a good job. Most of the people I know who've seen it were glad they went.

Rod said...

Its an acromyn:
Can't
Understand
Normal
Thinking

MadisonMan said...

Last week all the Liberals were in a tizzie over the "pimping" of Chelsea Clinton.

I hope you can appreciate the difference between attacking someone and their child with a phrase and uttering a vulgar word on network news. Perhaps you do -- your very next words are: There is no excuse for foul language in a news setting.

The question that I think Ann answers is why: Fonda does it because she is very adept at exploiting the media. I think Shuster did it because of his antipathy towards the Clintons.

former law student said...

Jane has always lived a life of privilege, so she's never had to conform to social norms. She's just another member of the lucky sperm club; I remember reading a early 60s Mad Magazine parody skewering nepotism in the movie industry -- a director wonders how Jane was getting sex kitten roles, pointing out his secretary had a better body -- "But her name's not Fonda."

somefeller said...

Well, I've seen "The Vagina Monogues." Who hasn't?

I haven't. It sounded rather dull to me from fairly early on. I saw a few Gynomite shows several years ago, and they were quite enjoyable and I suspect more artistically interesting. The V-Monologues manage to somehow still get a rise out of the usual suspects, so I'm all for it, however.

I don't have much respect for celebrities who drop profanities for no good reason on broadcast TV. All they end up doing is causing problems for the people who work on such shows. I like U2 a lot, but I lost a lot of respect for Bono when he cursed onstage at an awards show, particularly when I found out that a bunch of stations got fined for his assclownery. Those fines may have been offset by some low-level employee getting fired, which particularly irked me.

Palladian said...

"That's your opinion, but I wouldn't judge it as a typical play. It's main purpose is to get people to think about a variety of sexual issues from the female point of view. To that end, I think it does a good job. Most of the people I know who've seen it were glad they went."

Well then don't call it Theater or present it as Theater. It sounds like a dreadful support group meeting. But apparently women want nothing more from Theater than feeling "empowered".

By the way, "cunt" is a wonderful Middle English word. And who can forget Gropecunt Lane?

Fred Drinkwater said...

In honor of this thread, I'm definitely going to find an excuse to put a cuntsplice somewhere in the rigging during this weekend's boat race.

ZPS said...

I can't decide what's more annoying: people who can't get over jane Fonda's screw up during Vietnam, or Jane Fonda.

Joe said...

Cunt is a great word, certainly better than pussy or vulva. Then again, I prefer tits over boobies, though breasts works just fine. Cock is better than penis if only because it has only one syllable. Fuck is one of the most perfect words in the English language. It can mean pretty much whatever you want it to mean and in the context of sex, makes what happened quite unambiguous (I hate the phrase "slept together" for that very reason, especially since either no sleeping actually happened or that's all that happened.)

Matt Brown said...

I'm sorry, but when I had the Today show on this morning and saw Fonda and Ensler, I thought, "Who's the drag queen with Jane Fonda?"

Middle Class Guy said...

MadisonMan,
Pimp is not foul language. Prostitute is not foul language. Whore is borderline. As was pointed out if he had said exploited, the Clintons would have attacked him. Exploited is not foul language. Used is not foul either, but the Clintons would still attack.

My question to you is why was it alright to disparage and insult Romney’s sons? Once again, that good old double standard. Everybody’s fair game, except the Clinton family.

I agree too that Ms. Fonda used that word to get attention. She knew exactly what she was doing and that she could get away with it. Media whore is too kind.

Paul said...

Anyone here watch "Curb You Enthusiasm"? There's an episode where LD calls a man of tenuous sexual identity a cunt in a card game and the good liberals at the table react with horror. That show shines a bright light on the shallowness, hypocrisy, and "fascist" controlling nature of modern "liberalism", which is really just another form of narrow puritanism consumed with rooting out heresy.

We all see it here in the comments from the lefty regulars. As narrow minded and bigoted a bunch as you'll ever find. It's axiomatic that self righteousness breeds bigotry, and the modern American leftist is as self righteous as any religious fundamentalist.

Ralph said...

3 women sit on stools
Using the 3-legged stool of conservatism, inverted (That sounds so wrong!)

They don't have a time delay on the Today Show?

rcocean said...

BTW, there's no reason for this to happen. And I agree - doesn't NBC have a time-delay?

They're using the public airwaves to make money, they should be held accountable.

ricpic said...

Shlong is better than cock and infinitely better than hog, to which a perpetually enflamed poster is titully totally enslaved.

Palladian said...

"The Vagina Monologues includes a section entitled "The Little Coochie Snorcher that Could". This portion of the play, as originally performed, has been criticized for including a lesbian "rape" scene of a 13-year-old girl by a 24-year-old woman who uses alcohol to lower the inhibitions of her victim. At the conclusion of the segment, the narrator (the grown-up thirteen year old girl) fondly reminisces about the rape, claiming that it helped to nurture her and help her grow as a woman, and finishes the play with the line, "If it was rape, it was good rape." The segment received criticism not only for depicting any rape as "good," but also for forming a double standard, as elsewhere in the play, male-on-female rape is depicted as not only inexcusable but the ultimate act of violence against women.

The scene was modified in later performances; the young girl's age was changed to 16, and the "good rape" line was omitted. The 2001 feminist.com site, which co-ordinated performances, was emphatic that performances for anti-violence/campus events adhere to the new script. It stated, "You must use the version...that is included in the Performance Kit that you will receive. No other version of the play is acceptable for your production. Do not use the book of the play or versions of the script from previous College Initiatives."

You just can't make up things like this.

shadow said...

Well then don't call it Theater or present it as Theater.

Of course it's Theater. And it should be judged on its own merits - not campared to Hamlet.


It sounds like a dreadful support group meeting.

It sounds like you haven't seen it - so why spout judgements?. Depending on your point of view, you might find it educational, offensive, or tripe. Most people I know found it mostly entertaining and thought provoking.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Back in about 1998, Camille Paglia described 'Vagina Monolgues' as a "ravingly anti-male" play. It was not a compliment.

The vignette of our times, ultimately revealing the irrelevance of our intellectual classes, is the rapturous acceptance of a "ravingly anti-male" play.

Imagine ravingly anti-female, anti-black, anti-muslim, and (perhaps) even ravingly anti-Jew.

Christians are fair game. White men are fair game. Why? Because we're the only ones with the self-discipline and personality to ignore petulant insults from idiots.

ricpic said...

The first version was realistic. Classic Stockholm Syndrome.

Fen said...

"when the hyperbolic claim the Right has descended into Fascism, I enjoy pointing out that people like Fonda are the canary in a coal mine. No one's lobbed a grenade at her or the likes of Code Pink."

TROBlog: Huh?

[If you don't know] The canary reference is to miners who would take caged birds underground as an early warning system for toxic gas. If your bird died, it meant you were in trouble and should get out of the mine.

My point is that, if the right wing were really the "fascist brownshirts" the Left fantasizes about, Jane Fonda would be dead, Code Pink would be in hiding, and the NYTs building would be a cavernous husk.

MadisonMan said...

mcg, I was unaware that Shuster or Fonda was attacking Romney's sons. If you're asking me to generalize, I'd say yes it's inappropriate to attack Tagg et al. Who on Earth said it was? The tendency to compare everything to what happens to the Clintons is not something I'll miss in the event that Hillary! is not the Presidential nominee.

I've meant to add this: I've never seen the Vagina Monologues either.

Ann Althouse said...

Shadow said: "That's your opinion, but I wouldn't judge it as a typical play. It's main purpose is to get people to think about a variety of sexual issues from the female point of view. To that end, I think it does a good job."

Shadow, you are playing directly into my hand. You have made my point. It's propaganda, not art. It's instruction: a sermon.

Palladian has said therefore it is not theater. I think it is still theater, because there is a tradition of street theater and agitprop, and some of it -- Bertholt Brecht is pretty good -- is art.

So it is possible for propaganda to be great art. How did you like "Triumph of the Will"? Artistically great, and very effective propaganda too. "Vagina Monologues" is not great art, but it may be effective propaganda.

What it did MOST effectively, however, and what I salute Eve Ensler for, is propagate itself by being so damned easy to produce and perform.

The actresses don't even have to memorize their lines! They have cards to read! They get to sit down. You can get famous old actresses like Jane Fonda to agree to do it for some special occasion because it's just no work at all to perform.

It's the theater equivalent of a viral video. I'm impressed. But -- I'll say it again -- it's poorly written.

And, by the way, it includes a whole monologue dedicated to child molestation, in which the child rejoices at the introduction to lesbian love she received from her molester. I was expecting the play to be something, and I found it very dull and dumb, like some relic from the 70s, and then the molestation monologue came on. At that point, I descended into pure hatred of the play, and I'm rather disgusted with everyone in the theater who applauds that one.

rhhardin said...

Vagina monologues was after my time, but I went to plenty of NOW meetings.

It was no worse than being dragooned into shopping trips, and if you show sensitivity there's a reward sometimes.

Nor is that as superficial as it seems.

Doug said...

Was Paul's last comment a parody? Somebody please tell me that it was.

Meade said...

Ann Althouse said...
"...Shadow, you are playing directly into my hand..."



And I think that pretty well sums it up.

Can we move on now? To a sex kitten truly worth studying and discussing?

Blake said...

I think Alito needs to do a "New Jersey Monologues", to raise awareness of how we think about mafioso.

Meade--Brigitte Bardot? Wasn't she Jane Fonda's warm-up act for Roger Vadim?

Meade said...

Blake, Blake, Blake, my friend:
BB is far far more than just a warm up act.

Fen said...

Doug: Was Paul's last comment a parody? Somebody please tell me that it was.

You've heavily invested your identity in the liberal brand, haven't you? You refuse to recognize that blacks can be racist, and now refuse to recognize the intolerance of liberals.

Consider for a moment that it hasn't been the Right telling Ann what she can & can't say on her own blog [despite our disagreements with her], its the Left.

Meade said...

Let's just say Roger Vadim was in way over his tiny little head and had to downsize to Jane.

Meade said...

You've got your
Marilyn Monroe,
your Jackie O
And your Brigitte Bardot

Those would be your main acts.
After that you've got Isabella Rosallini
and that's about it.

Well, except for Ruth Anne.
Always Ruth Anne.

And Althouse
Of course.

LordSomber said...

Sad that a 70-year-old is still talking about her own cootchie.

ricpic said...

Bardot went to the dogs, literally, as she aged.

Paul said...

"Was Paul's last comment a parody? Somebody please tell me that it was."

Too funny! It's just like I said. Liberals are so thoroughly convinced of their moral superiority that they can't even conceive that they could be bigoted. That's the mechanism by which the bigotry takes root...any self screening apparatus is neutralized by the smug certainty that the good liberal is beyond all that. Unfortunately bigotry is in our DNA and is only expunged by honest self scrutiny and effort in character development.

Self righteousness itself sets up a division between "me and those who think like me" and the "other", who is morally inferior by definition, and thus demonized and dehumanized. Just look at the left's portrayal of "right wingers"...ignorant, venal, knuckle draggers, rethuglicans, etc. Anyone reading the comments on this blog or many others can see that the righties are generally more informed, civil, and interested in the debate of ideas, as opposed to the lefties who are generally smug, insulting, dismissive, and given to sweeping assertions offered as facts merely because they in their superior enlightenment, say so.

The interesting thing about "Curb Your Enthusiasm", besides it's comic genius, is that even though Larry David skewers the Hollywood liberal set for their ridiculous political correctness and perpetual adolescence, he obviously still believes that they are more enlightened and on the right side than those stupid benighted Republicans and red staters.

MadisonMan said...

LordSomber, it would be sadder still if she were talking about someone else's.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Jane Fonda can go fu** herself.

Hopefully when she's dead, and that won't be a day too soon her and Lord Haw Haw can share stories.

Peter Palladas said...

It's been so long I've plain forgotten.

Which is the part and which the hole?

former law student said...

Vagina monologues was after my time, but I went to plenty of NOW meetings. relic of the 70s

I had to double check the date it was written, because it reminded me of nothing so much as when the libbers included a visual examination of their hoohas as part of their liberation. It seems as much a part of the seventies as Judy Chicago's "The Dinner Party," but it was written 20 years later.

AJ Lynch said...

Meade:

Was that clip from the French version of the Vagina Monologues?

Meade said...

AJ:

I have to admit I've never even seen The Female Genitalia Dialogues in English, so I don't know.

It was a Harley-Davidson commercial from the 60's, I believe, and it had the three things pretty much every real man from that era desired:

Brigitte
a motorcycle

and Macrame

Roger said...

I had (obviously foolishly) thought that as a 25 year cavalryman I had heard every possible reference to female genitalia. Not so, if I am reading this thread correctly. This internet is truly a great thing.

Smilin' Jack said...

Object to the content all you want, but give her credit. She's a first-class media genius.

I'll give her credit for being really hot in Barbarella. After that, please. Media geniuses don't do workout tapes.

ZPS said...

Another college campus shooting, Hillary & Obama sparring, a US satellite crashing into Earth, the Westminster Dog Show's first Beagle winner in over 50 years, the LA and NY Times are slashing their workforce, and Althouse is still prattling on about has beens like Jane Fonda and Rush Limbaugh.

One has to ask, is she writing for an audience? Who is her intended audience? Does she know?

Does she care?

And are these truly the only things she thinks about (Rush, Fonda, American Idol, new camera lens)?

And yet look at all these comments. We care, for some reason, about these innane topics. I'm reminded of "Field Of Dreams"....

If You Build It, They Will Come.

She could do a post about the efficacy of her lint brush and we'd all be here, turning it into a partsian debate.

So the real question is...who is more boring in need of an empty vacuum to express pointless musings?

Althouse, or us?

LoafingOaf said...

She did exactly what she wanted to do, and she's got your rapt attention....

First I've heard of it.

AJ Lynch said...

ZPS:

What would you rather we do? Follow the MSM as it follows the likes of Paris and Britney?

Michael McNeil said...

As others have noted in this thread, the “c-word” is an excellent word — as I affirm in two postings (also from the vicinity of Valentine’s Day):  “In Praise of the C-word” and “C-word II” — starring Geoffrey Chaucer’s Wife of Bath and the OED!

It’s also worth noticing that (however her politics) Jane Fonda uses the word precisely right: to refer (not unapprovingly) to a woman’s private parts, not degradingly to the woman herself.  “Ass” or “asshole” are similarly unobjectionable when they refer to a donkey or the anus, but not when employed to characterize the whole human being.

titusvart said...

Jane's got a nice set of tits for a 70 year old.

I would fuck her up the cunt and up the ass.

Eve Ensler, not so much.

Palladian said...

"So the real question is...who is more boring in need of an empty vacuum to express pointless musings?"

Speaking of pointless musings, reread your comment.

I don't understand people who say things like "oh, all she writes about is American Idol and Jane Fonda and squirrels when there are children starving and being killed by US satellites falling from the sky in Africa!" Is this a news website? Of course not. And why would you want it to be? You already know about all those news stories you mentioned, so why do you need it here? I actually dislike going to blogs and seeing the same links to the same stories with the same boring commentary. I come here and to the other blogs that I read because I like the writing and I want to hear the writer's perspective of the things she's interested in. I don't come here for the news.

If Althouse isn't filling your needs for beagle (yuck!) or school shooting related stories, then start your own blog.

titusvart said...

I would fuck Diane Keaton's cunt too.

I like the word cunt. It is so raw and juicy and succulent. I am getting horny just thinking about the cunt.

Palladian said...

Speaking of tiresome attention whores saying dirty things to shock the bourgeoisie, hey titus!

titusvart said...

Some cunts stink though (like an asshole).

Some cunts smell like anchovies and that is gross.

A girlfriend of mine likes to smell her own cunt when it stinks.

titusvart said...

If you dig deep enough in your belly button it can smell like an asshole too.

I do enjoy smelling my own farts but then again who doesn't.

I am right now wafting a greasy fart of mine in my face right now-I am drinking it in.

titusvart said...

I don't like a woman with a hairy cunt though-I need to see it trimmed over completely waxed.

A really hair cunt is disgusting. It is hard to find the hole and it devours your hog.

I want to see the hog sliding in the hole-not the hole covered up with millions of huge long hairs.

titusvart said...

If women have any hairs around the corona of their nipple that is gross too.

I once saw a nasty porno where this woman had black long hairs coming from her nipples.

She was being fucked by a lamb as she was sucking on a goats hog.

I was disgusted but intriqued.

titusvart said...

I also saw a really fat lesbian in Madison Wisconsin with a beard playing pool.

She was a good pool player.

Middle Class Guy said...

ZPS said...
She could do a post about the efficacy of her lint brush and we'd all be here, turning it into a partsian debate.


Does she have one of those velvet types or the sticky roller type of lint brush. What does that say about her? I guess it also depends on what type of clothing one wears. She may have both. I happen to like sticky roller type myself, as the Llewelyn Stetter I have sheds a lot.

Now, I bet Hillary uses the velvet type of lint brush. You know, that whole iron fist in a velvet glove thing. From what Barak’s wife says about him, he probably does not have one. This may be a cause for concern to some. McCain probably has a valet, so we may never know about him. That could be dangerous.

I am also all for helping people in Darfur. We should take up a collection and send them lint brushes. I also heard today that the Navy is rethinking about using a missle to shoot that satellite down. They may use a laser guided lint brush.

Uno the Beagle has several types of brushes.

No great loss at the NYT or LA Times. It was a clean sweep. Velvet for sure. They do not want anyone sticking around.

There, happy now?

titusvart said...

The topic is cunts Middle Class Guy. Let's stick to the topic of the posting.

Thanks for your compliance.

chuck b. said...

I like the idea of 70 year old women using the word c*nt. Well, I enjoy hearing people swear too.

The c-word is a little too strong for me.

Middle Class Guy said...

Titus,
I did not bring up lint brushes. ZPS did. While were are on the subject of brushes, what kind do you prefer?

ZPS said...

Yes. Thanks MCG, at least you were creative. Unlike Althouse lately. Maybe she could post a poem. I enjoy Haikus. Does Althouse have a creative bone in her body? Yes, she does take nice photographs...but has she ever done any prose or poetry?

Althouse has a blog
her readers expect more than,
"jane fonda said cunt"

Michael McNeil said...

“Since you've enough, why do you reck or care
How merrily all other folks may fare?
For certainly, old dotard, by your leave,
You shall have cunt all right enough at eve.
He is too much a niggard who's so tight
That from his lantern he'll give none a light.
For he'll have never the less light, by gad;
Since you've enough, you need not be so sad.”

Fen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

Althouse has a blog
her readers expect more than,
"jane fonda said cunt"


No, what we expect is something more than innane comments from idiots who don't like whats being discussed. You could always start your own blog, but somehow I doubt you have the creativity to pull it off.

BTW, is somone forcing you to stay and read stuff you have no interest in?

ZPS said...

"what we expect is something more than innane comments from idiots"

Well, now there's an example of a nasty cunt!

Michael McNeil said...

“I brought it so about, and by my wit,
That they must give it up, as for the best,
Or otherwise we’d never have had rest.
For though he glared and scowled like lion mad,
Yet failed he of the end he wished he had.
Then I would say: ‘Good dearie, see you keep
In mind how meek is Wilkin, our old sheep;
Come near, my spouse, come let me kiss your cheek!
You should be always patient, aye, and meek,
And have a sweetly scrupulous tenderness,
Since you so preach of old Job’s patience, yes.
Suffer always, since you so well can preach;
And, save you do, be sure that we will teach
That it is well to leave a wife in peace.
One of us two must bow, to be at ease;
And since a man’s more reasonable, they say,
Than woman is, you must have patience aye.
What ails you that you grumble thus and groan?
Is it because you'd have my cunt alone?
Why take it all, lo, have it every bit;
Peter! Beshrew you but you're fond of it!
For if I would go peddle my belle chose,
I could walk out as fresh as is a rose;
But I will keep it for your own sweet tooth.
You are to blame, by God I tell the truth.’”

Or, in Chaucer’s Middle English:
“Ye be to blame, by god, I sey yow sooth.”
I like that.

By the way, the word, in Middle English, is queynte.

Ann Althouse said...

"...but has she ever done any prose or poetry?"

As long as the subject is theater, may I recommend Moliere? Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme? There's a famous line in there that might help you laugh at yourself for asking that question.

ZPS said...

Thanks for the tip. I've always loved Tartuffe.

And for anyone who cares...I'm just having fun. Razzing Ann ala Maxine, if you will. I miss Maxine.

Meade said...

You miss Maxine?
That's improbable.
She has a blog.
Go to it; enjoy yourself.

titusvart said...

I actually wrote three poems last night here: hog, tits and pucker and no one even noticed so I had to take my poetry skills elsewhere.

Inspektor Friedrich said...

'Maxine' will be back. They always lay low for a while when they've been fisked, outed, deleted, etc. But they'll be back.

I gotta give it to you, 'Maxine.' That's first-rate mockery, to a very third-rate purpose.

It would be a blessing, too, if 'Titus' took his poetry skills along with the rest of him elsewhere. But if you have to have an irritating character, 'Titus' is a lot more amusing than 'Maxine' and their sock puppets.

Mr. Forward said...

Never monologue
When you can dialog.

vnjagvet said...

Yeah, and the T-Man is far ahead of Hanoi Jane in the uncanny ability to use a plethora of names for genitalia.

Highly useful for entertaining the troops.

rcocean said...

"Yes, she does take nice photographs...but has she ever done any prose or poetry?"

amba said...

I think you mean catharsis, not cathexis.

Steven said...

About 30 minutes ago I was reading Elizabeth Wurtzl's piece in the Wall Street Journal about Hillary Clinton. She used the word "cathexis." It jumped out at me because I didn't recall ever having seen it before. Then I come here and read this, and you use the word too. I go 48 years without seeing it once, and then I see it twice in the span of 30 minutes. Weird.

amba said...

rhhardin (8:38 AM): Props. Encore.

Pogo said...

Jane Fonda never got over being unable to make her father notice her and be proud.

This will fall short of the mark, too. 70 years old, but still acting like she's seven. Sad, really; can't say as I care to watch.

Ann Althouse said...

I wrote cathexis, but it should have be catharsis, for the theatrical context.

(Oh, now I see amba just said that.)

Ann Althouse said...

I corrected it in the original post now.

Jacob said...

Neil Sinhababu had a pretty funny post on the word "cunt":
"Cunt" provides an excellent example. Literally, it refers to the vagina, and metaphorically it's used as an insulting term for women. I don't understand why I should regard vaginas with the negative attitude that the metaphorical use suggests. As the following table illustrates, every interaction that I have had with a vagina in my life has been a positive one.
[the chart that follows this comment is pretty awesome]

M. Simon said...

Jane is an Omaha girl.

Those cunts don't take shit from anyone.

Cedarford said...

ZPS said...
I can't decide what's more annoying: people who can't get over jane Fonda's screw up during Vietnam, or Jane Fonda.


I can't decide what's more annoying, people that condemn and can't get over Benedict Arnold for his little Revolutionary War screw up aiding the British, or Benedict Arnold.

*******************
Despite the efforts of the Left to elevate "Vagina Monologues" into a classic piece of theater, it is slowly going into the feminist grave, dirt slowly thrown on it, along with other feminist artifacts of the 60s and 70s.

There always will be great "feminist writers", have been for centuries, but the Stalinist movement invented by NYC Jewish radicals and abortion clinic owners is all but moribound.

All the feminist "intellectuals" - except true ones like Paglia which tended to be outside the Stalinist "sisterhood" - have become marginalized as dimbulbs, and humorless, tedious writers. Purveyors of concocted rape statistics, of exposure of their infantile hatred of men as an excuse for their own ugliness and unhappiness.
Of becoming a joke when they lined up to salute and defend their man Bill Clinton, from charges they demanded the heads of other politicians and CEOs for - because solidarity was essential to protect the man that was advancing their broader agenda.
Then making their standard bearer a devious woman who rose to becoming a Presidential candidate on the accomplishments of her husband, and her getting an endless string of plush jobs and Board apointments through nepotism and intervention of his clout.

And as they stand up in theaters like lemmings and brainlessly chant about loving their C**ts, the C**t they were supposed to rise in a mighty female tide and sweep into office is foundering as her talents, personality, experience and charisma divorced from the abilities of her husband, stand revealed.

Feminists were always a fringe of women, dominated by Jewish neurotics and big city intelligensias, awarded sinecures in universities for academic dreck. Now they are a shrinking fringe.

Clinging to surviving artifacts like the "Vagina Monologues" which can only run with radical alumni and profs in Womyn's Studies diverting school funds into running the commercially non-viable play. Puffed by having "famous feminists" like Barbarella, with her butt-tightening workout videos and breast implants - come in and read to inspire a new generation to "be like Jane".

And all while mediocre media whores like Ensler prattle away about Patriarchal Christian values and insensitive Americans repressing women all over the planet and not saying a peep about what's wrong elsewher - most notably with Islam. As Paglia notes, if you bring up Islam to a pile of professional "feminist activists", the only sound you will hear is the faint chirping of crickets outside the room.

Smilin' Jack said...

ZPS said...
Thanks for the tip. I've always loved Tartuffe.

And for anyone who cares...I'm just having fun. Razzing Ann...


Actually, Ann's having fun razzing you. It's just that it goes over your head.

former law student said...

Omaha girl? Jane was born and raised in the Empire State.