February 15, 2008
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.