There’s this little skit from Monty Python’s “Travel Agent” where there’s a joke about this guy who can’t pronounce the letter C, so he replaces it with the letter B. Had Jane Fonda kept this in mind before she went on the Today Show, she might have been spared from a storm in a tea cup.
The conversation, obviously with some parts before and after, is between a customer and a travel agent and goes like this:
Agent: Anyway, you’re interested in one of our holidays are you?
Customer: Yes thats right, I saw your advert in the bolour supplement.
Agent: The what?
Customer: The bolour supplement.
Agent: The colour supplement?
Customer: Yes thats right. Im afraid I cant say the letter B
Customer: Yes. Its all due to a trauma I suffered when I was a Sboolboy. I was attacked by a bat.
Agent: Ah, a cat?
Customer: No a bat.
Agent: Well can you say the letter K?
Customer: Oh yes, Khaki, Kettle, Kipling, Kuwait, Kings Bollege Bambridge.
Agent: Well why dont you say the letter K, instead of the letter C?
Customer: What, you mean spell bolour with a K.
Customer: Ah thats very good. I never thought of that before. What a silly bunt.
So there Jane Fonda was not quite talking to a travel agent and not quite with the same speech impediment on the Today Show, appearing with Eve Ensler, better known for her work The Vagina Monologues. One thing lead to another, and invariably Jane Fonda spoke about how she was asked to appear in a monologue called Cunt.
The Today Show is broadcast live, and in America, you can do and say whatever you want, but heaven help you if you do it on live TV. Needless to say, immediately a storm in a teacup erupted when seconds later the host, Meredith Vieira voiced an apology on behalf of NBC and Jane Fonda.
I’m not sure whether the producers prompted her because somebody in the control box noticed and said “Oh fuck! She said cunt. You can’t fucking say cunt on live TV!! Make her apologise, quick!”, or whether perhaps a disturbed TV viewer phoned in to say “I’m terribly offended. I was watching your broadcast and these women speaking about vaginas and monologues, when the one on the left suddenly said a despicable word – the C-word. I’m terribly offended”.
Poor Jane Fonda. She should have sat up and said, “Hang on, I didn’t apologise – the monologue was called Cunt. That’s the name of the monologue.” Perhaps she should have pulled a Prince and referred to it as “I was asked to this monologue call a crass name for vagina“.
Well, as far as I know, the Vagina Monologues are controversial by design to bring attention to the plight of women, so yah! for Jane Fonda and big old boo for the Today Show and American Live TV. Surely the live TV watching audience are not morons and can appreciate the context of certain situations and words.
Either that, or they’re a bunch of silly bunts.