Jane Fonda Decries Hanoi Jane ‘Myth’ ‘Created by Right-Wingers,’ Palin Popularity ‘Worries Me’

On Monday’s Larry King Live on CNN, guest Jane Fonda portrayed herself as a victim of a "myth" that was "created" by "right-wingers" about her infamous "Hanoi Jane" visit to Vietnam to protest the Vietnam War. Without specifying what aspect of the "Hanoi Jane" story she considered to be a fallacy, though the "Product Description" at Amazon.com seems to shed some light on what she was referring to, she claimed that author Jerry Lembcke’s new book, "Hanoi Jane: War, Sex, and Fantasies of Betrayal," dispels the "myth," and asserted that it is "sad" that some conservatives are "still stuck in the past":

JANE FONDA: No, it's about the myth, you know, why it is that 300 people went to North Vietnam, people, many people before me, why me, why have they created this myth? You know, when I came back from North Vietnam, there was maybe a quarter of an inch of media about it in the New York Times. Nobody made any big deal out of it. It was created, and some people are stuck-

LARRY KING: By critics?

FONDA: By right wingers. There are some people who are like stuck there, you know, they're still stuck in the past. I always want to say, "Get a life," or, you know, "Read what really happened," you know. The myths are now true.

Referring to people who sometimes protest against her, she continued: "But it makes me sad for these people who are stuck because they've not taken the time – if they're going to waste their energy on hatred, they should take the time in finding out what was really true."

The "Product Description" of the book at Amazon.com contends:

Hanoi Jane, the book, deconstructs Hanoi Jane, the myth, to locate its origins in the need of Americans to explain defeat in Vietnam through fantasies of home-front betrayal and the emasculation of the national will-to-war. Lembcke shows th t the expression Hanoi Jane did not reach the eyes and ears of most Americans until five or six years after the end of the war in Vietnam. By then, anxieties about America s declining global status and deteriorating economy were fueling a populist reaction that pointed to the loss of the war as the taproot of those problems. Blaming the antiwar movement for undermining the military s resolve, many found in the imaginary Hanoi Jane the personification of their stab-in-the back theories.

Ground zero of the myth was the city of Hanoi itself, which Jane Fonda had visited as a peace activist in July 1972. Rumors surrounding Fonda s visits with U.S. POWs and radio broadcasts to troops combined to conjure allegations of treason that had cost American lives. That such tales were more imagined than real did not prevent them from insinuating themselves into public memory, where they have continued to infect American politics and culture.

Hanoi Jane is a book about the making of Hanoi Jane by those who saw a formidable threat in the Jane Fonda who supported soldiers and veterans opposed to the war they fought, in the postcolonial struggle of the Vietnamese people to make their own future, and in the movements of women everywhere for gender equality.

When asked by host King what she thought of Sarah Palin, after asserting that "she should not be a politician, in my opinion," and that it is "sad when someone says I'm going to run for office and they can't answer basic questions, you know, about the world, about what they read, about history," the left-wing actress concluded that Palin’s popularity "worries me, frankly."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, April 5, Larry King Live on CNN:

LARRY KING: Twitter question, King's Things got a number of Tweets referring to you as "Hanoi Jane." There's a new book coming out, get this, "Hanoi Jane: War, Sex, and Fantasies of Betrayal."

JANE FONDA: Yes, it's a good book.

KING: You know the book?

FONDA: Yeah, I advertise it on my blog.

KING: It seems to be a book critical of you.

FONDA: No, it's about the myth, you know, why it is that 300 people went to North Vietnam, people, many people before me, why me, why have they created this myth? You know, when I came back from North Vietnam, there was maybe a quarter of an inch of media about it in the New York Times. Nobody made any big deal out of it. It was created, and some people are stuck-

KING: By critics?

FONDA: By right wingers. There are some people who are like stuck there, you know, they're still stuck in the past. I always want to say, "Get a life," or, you know, "Read what really happened," you know. The myths are now true.

KING: Do people still yell at you? People still yell at you when you walk down the street?

FONDA: No, no. I mean, when I did the play on Broadway last year, there would be, you know, for about two or three weeks, there was a small protest of four or five people, you know, outside the theater. Nobody paid any attention. But it makes me sad for these people who are stuck because they've not taken the time – if they're going to waste their energy on hatred, they should take the time in finding out what was really true.

KING: Some other things. What do you think of Michelle Obama and the obesity fight?

FONDA: I think it's great that she's staked this out as one of her issues, as has Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is sending me a greeting and a salute in the Georgia Dome on May 1.

KING: You keep saying that. We've repeated it a lot. I think we're getting it through to them.

FONDA: We know how to sell. No, but it’s important-

KING: WorldFitnessDay.org, one word.

FONDA: A lot of people are very obese in this country. One out of six youth are obese. And it's a huge medical crisis.

KING: What do you think of Sarah Palin? There was a little quick move. You went from crisis to huge crisis.

FONDA: You betcha!

KING: What do you think?

FONDA: You betcha. I think she could have a television show maybe.

KING: She’s got one.

FONDA: But she should not be a politician, in my opinion.

KING: What do you make of the feelings about her? What do you make of – I don't even to have ask you the question – Sarah Palin. What do you make of the story?

FONDA: Sad.

KING: Sad?

FONDA: Well, I think it's sad when someone says I'm going to run for office and they can't answer basic questions, you know, about the world, about what they read, about history, things like that. I mean, I think we should take our political, our political world, life, members who aspire to be elected officials more seriously, you know, they have to be grounded in some kind of reality.

KING: How do you account for her popularity?

FONDA: Well, I , I don't know. It worries me, frankly.