You don't know America if you don't know the Jane Fonda cult. Or rather, the anti-Fonda cult. At places where soldiers or former soldiers congregate, there'll be stickers of her likeness on the urinals; one is an invitation to symbolic rape: Fonda in her 1980s 'work-out' costume, her legs splayed, pudenda at the bulls-eye. Every night at lights-out midshipmen at the US Naval Academy cry out 'Goodnight, bitch!' in her honour. They've learned, Carol Burke writes in her study of military folklore, Camp All-American, Hanoi Jane and the High-and-Tight, what you learn at all the service academies: 'that being a real warrior and hating Jane Fonda are synonymous.'[*] When Maya Lin's Vietnam Veterans Memorial was built on the Washington Mall, well-organised veterans who criticised it as the 'gook monument' - Lin is Chinese-American - were allowed to open their own kiosks nearby. These became the cult's temples, the places to buy its sacraments and phylacteries; bumper stickers, for example, saying 'Jane Fonda: John Kerry with Tits'. Phyllis Schlafly and Tom Wolfe have both described the memorial wall as a 'monument to Jane Fonda'.
LRB 17 November 2005 | PDF Download