Jane Fonda: She's Always Known How to Get Our Attention

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the Toronto Star/Canada

Jane Fonda: She's Always Known How to Get Our Attention

Last Wednesday, when Jane Fonda sat in Stephen Colbert's lap, I stood up and cheered.

Currently doing the promotional thang for her not-so-good flick Georgia Rule, she gave the blustery fake cable news talk show host a whole new definition for blowhard.

Let's talk about your anti-war protests, he practically begged as she writhed and wiggled.

"We cannot elect men to office that are afraid of premature evacuation," she cooed, kissing him on the neck.

He looked like a frat boy trapped in a hotel room with the entire cheerleading squad and an open bar. Scared.

Jane Fonda knows how to make people pay attention - and for all the right reasons.

Unlike Salon magazine chief editor Joan Walsh, who has written paeans to Colbert, I did not find the almost five-minute interview - now all over the Internet - "cringe-inducing."

Cringe-inducing is watching beautiful privileged young women behaving badly, when they know that they are, omigawd, omigawd, role models for millions of young fans.

Consider Paris Hilton, now facing time in stir for drinking, driving and then driving with a suspended licence.

For years, she has been a useful idiot to marketers wanting to hook young women on big sunglasses and little dogs.

She has "designed" purses and jewellery. She has a perfume line bearing her name.

She obviously has influence, otherwise she wouldn't be making these deals.

Now compare Hilton to Fonda, who has confessed her own idiocy for posing atop an anti-aircraft gun during the U.S. war on Vietnam.

Both born with the proverbial silver spoons. Both with access to the elite. Both known for steaming up the screen: Hilton in a sex video and burger ad. Fonda as a double Oscar-winner.

But there the resemblance ends.

In fact, last week on CNN's Larry King Live, Fonda bitch-slapped Hilton.

"I'm glad she's being sentenced," she said. "I'm glad she is going to do the time. If she were black, if she were poor, she would have done it much sooner - maybe the first time that she had an offence."

To Fonda, there's such a thing as noblesse oblige, "especially if you're rich and spoiled and you are made into a celebrity. Somebody is going to give you your comeuppance, and hopefully these young people are smart enough to learn from it."

Oh, it didn't end there.

She also kicked the ass of Dina Lohan, leech-mom to Lindsay, to the end of the red carpet.

It was from the set of Georgia Rule that gossip kept leaking of Lohan's lack of professionalism and drug use.

According to the New York Post, Dina, inexplicably hired by Entertainment Tonight to cover the premiere, asked Fonda what it was like working with Lindsay.

Fonda berated her for Lindsay's condition and snapped: "If you screw it up now, you don't get another chance!"

This is not a woman who plays the game. What's more, the political activist and businesswoman has, from a young age, used her position to push for peace and women's rights.

Sure Fonda has had implants in and out, and bits moved up and around. She's done drugs. She's gone through the binging and puking, long before the tabloids started monitoring the state of the stars' skeletons. And she's made some bad marriages, after which she would admit to giving up a lot of power to her husbands.

But, as Colbert's red face showed, she is still a sexpot at 69. All that "feeling the burn" - her exercise routines are among the top-selling videos of all time - is still paying off.

So, just like Colbert parodies the right-wing talk show hosts who read their questions from the Karl Rove playbook, Fonda mocked the bimbos du jour who are all sex, no substance.

At the same time, she struck a blow for older women who have been marginalized by the celebrity culture.

What more could you ask for?

Now, if only she could straddle Fox News's Bill O'Reilly - and ride him right out of town.

Antonia Zerbisias

Antonia Zerbisias is a former columnist for the Toronto Star and is the co-creator of #BeenRapedNeverReported.


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