Jane Fonda has complained in a 7.16 Wrap article about QVC having cancelled an appearance today on the network to promote “Prime Time,” her book about aging and fitness. She says QVC has caved in to right-wing pressure.
“The network said they got a lot of calls yesterday criticizing me for my opposition to the Vietnam War and threatening to boycott the show if I was allowed to appear,” Fonda writes. “I am, to say the least, deeply disappointed that QVC caved to this kind of insane pressure by some well-funded and organized political extremist groups. And that they did it without talking to me first.
“Most people don’t buy into the far-right lies,” she states, adding that “the bottom line” is that “this has gone on far too long, this spreading of lies about me! None of it is true. NONE OF IT! I love my country. I have never done anything to hurt my country or the men and women who have fought and continue to fight for us.”
Lies and exaggerations have, I gather, been pushed by Fonda’s right-wing antagonists. But the thing that created the strongest anti-Fonda sentiments is a photo taken of her sitting at the controls of a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun, and not over Fonda’s general opposition to the Vietnam War. What she said in a statement she read from Hanoi was, by my sights, humane and compassionate and correct and prophetic. But the photo is what stuck in people’s mind. Posing for it, Fonda has said, was not a wise thing.
Fonda’s Wiki bio recounts what she said about this in a 1988 interview with Barbara Walters: “I would like to say something, not just to Vietnam veterans in New England, but to men who were in Vietnam, who I hurt, or whose pain I caused to deepen because of things that I said or did. I was trying to help end the killing and the war, but there were times when I was thoughtless and careless about it and I’m very sorry that I hurt them. And I want to apologize to them and their families. I will go to my grave regretting the photograph of me in an anti-aircraft gun, which looks like I was trying to shoot at American planes. It hurt so many soldiers. It galvanized such hostility. It was the most horrible thing I could possibly have done. It was just thoughtless.”
On the Catch 22 commentary track, Mike Nichols tells Steven Soderbergh that there’s something to be said for flamboyance and showing off, and perhaps even for vulgarity. “The funniest thing about movies is that they don’t like good taste. They don’t like austerity. All the things…you’ll see…the things that you’re a little embarassed about, the show-off things. Those are things that are most alive 20 years later. It’s one of the most interesting things about movies. It’s that they like showing off. It’s life, it’s vitality. Austerity and classicism just lie there.”
Or to put it more concisely, “Starkist doesn’t want tunas with good taste. They want tunas that taste good.”
I’m not saying Mike Nichols was wrong or incorrect when he began to regard his static, long-take style of shooting as “affected” (i.e., sensing that these shots were beginning to seem more about themselves than anything else) but I do love that style regardless, and I miss it. I wish somebody — anyone — was into shooting films this way today. Wait, has there been a recent film (or two or three) that has used this style?
I’ll be driving out to the 405 Sunset overpass later today to take some shots of the utterly empty 405. Everyone has spoken about Carmageddon as a blight, a plague, a traffic nightmare, an imprisonment. Except totally deserted highways and roads are a profound visual delight, and the only way to capture them is to shoot at 5:30 am and even then, etc. Or organize the emptiness like Stanley Kramer did when he shot On The Beach.