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Q&A: Jane Fonda on life, longevity and activism

Jane Fonda spoke Aug. 18 at Kepler's bookstore

By Jeff Carr

Special to the Almanac

Actress, activist, author and fitness guru Jane Fonda spoke and signed copies of her new book at Kepler's bookstore in Menlo Park on Aug. 18.

"Prime Time: Making the Most of Your Life" aims to provide a comprehensive blueprint for healthy, fulfilled living well into what Ms. Fonda calls the Third Act of life.

Via email, she answered Almanac questions about longevity, its effects on humanity, and activism for seniors.

Q: There are other books about living well in old age. What inspired you to write "Prime Time," and how does it add to the conversation?

A: There are many books out there on aging, some very good, none that cover the gamut as my new book does. There are books called things like "How to Live to be 100," catchy sorts of titles that promise all sorts of things. There are many books about how to extend your lifespan (not supported by most scientists), how to do financial and legal planning for the Third Act, books about wisdom and soul.

But none that I know of include all those subjects along with issues of intimacy and how to maintain a safe and pleasurable sex life as you age things people have told me they have never been able to find out about elsewhere. As my editor says, "This is a very generous book." I have done four years of intense research and I am very proud of what this book can bring people.

Q: Recent reports show that San Mateo County residents live longer than just about anyone else in the country. Are we buying more of your videos? What are we doing right?

A: That's terrific! I know that Loma Linda (in Southern California) is one of what are called "Blue Zones," which are places where there is an unusually high number of centenarians. The reason this is true in Loma Linda is because many of that town's population are members of a religion (Seventh-Day Adventist) that encourages healthy eating and lots of physical exercise as a normal part of their days.

Q: How should those still in Act II be "rehearsing" for Act III? What about those in Act I?

A: I have heard from a number of people in their forties who have already read my book and tell me they learned a great deal about how to begin preparing for their Third Act. I offer many questions that readers can ask themselves about people and events in their first and second acts -- questions that will help them understand themselves better -- what they can change and what they can't about their character and personality.

Act II is a perfect time to start thinking about the future. For example, begin a life review. This was so important to my own sense of well-being now as I age. Begin to think about savings and budgeting. Start becoming more physically active if you haven't already.

Q: You talk about a "longevity revolution" changing everything, including what it means to be human. Expand on that bold statement.

A: When you add a new room onto a house, it isn't just that new room that is different -- how you use the entire house is altered. This is a good way to think about the 34 years that have been added to the average American lifespan over the last century. It represents an entire second adult lifetime.

This changes (or potentially changes) our notions of marriage, of relationships in general, of how we pace ourselves through life. We are able to experience our own species' effects on the planet in ways we couldn't when we only lived to an average of 45 years.

Q: In addition to your work with fitness, you're known for passionate social and political activism. Is that sort of thing compatible with old age or is that strictly a younger person's game?

A: Activism is not only compatible with old age, it is quite usual for people, women in particular, to become more radical when they're older. We have less to lose. We're beyond the pleasing stages.

I feel our task is to mentor, encourage, teach the younger generations and to use our increasing numbers, ongoing zest (Post-Menopausal Zest, or PMZ, as Margaret Meade called it) and wisdom to make the world a more peaceful, equitable place.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Arch Conservative
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Amazing that Hanoi Jane did mention her time as concierge of the Hanoi Hilton and betraying the trust of the POWs that she so graciously agreed to meet.
A traitor of the first class


Like this comment
Posted by Arch Conservative
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Aug 22, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Sometimes the spell checker does not pickup dumb omissions-

Amazing that Hanoi Jane did not mention her time as concierge of the Hanoi Hilton and betraying the trust of the POWs that she so graciously agreed to meet.


A traitor of the first class


Like this comment
Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 22, 2011 at 2:07 pm

I notice that Clark Kepler likes to have very liberal people lecture at his bookstore. When was the last time Kepler had a conservative speak? When is he going to have Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham or Andrew Breitbart speak? Kepler should't complain about Amazon when he engages in soft censorship by not allowing conservative voices speak at his bookstore.


Like this comment
Posted by invisible hand
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Aug 22, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Start a conservative book store, Hank. You can prove how easy it is to beat amazon.

It's called the invisible hand of the free market.


Like this comment
Posted by invisible logic
a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm

invisible hand, you either missed Hank's point, or you are just excercising the liberal MO of spinning things way out of context. Nobody suggested a conservative book store, just simply a more balanced one. Nobody is out to "beat Amazon", nor does anybody think that is even possible. Amazon needs to start playing on a level playing field by collecting sales tax, which in turn supports the local services I assume you use.

Meantime, back to the subject of the article, in spite of Kepler's not so subtle omission of most things conservative, I still felt the desire to support his book store, as I do all locally owned businesses. But now Kepler has lost me. Anybody who offers a forum to a low life scumbag like Jane Fonda, without holding her responsible for her self serving, anti-American traitorious activities, I will take that as an endorsement of her motives, and will no longer support that person. It's been nice doing business with you, Clark. Maybe, if you decide to expose her for what she really is, I might come back.


Like this comment
Posted by invisible hand
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Aug 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm

logic and hank:

perhaps it isn't censorship, but actually virtually no demand locally for fox/heritage/koch created and supported talking heads

seriously, how many conservatives are elected on the peninsula?

if there was demand, ksfo or the other conservative stations would host them at an event

if there was demand, Hank and the invisible hand of the free market would have a golden opportunity to open a store

just no demand

these guys get most of their books bought up by the thinktanks and given away, anyway

look at the promotions on newsmax and the other sites; no one actually buys a brietbart book

no real demand or sales for wingnuts, especially locally


Like this comment
Posted by What?
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Aug 22, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Like Jane Fonda can give advice to anyone. Her life was a car wreck which she blames on a distant Father and a suicidal mom. She is such an attention seeker. Jane, isn't it about time to go away quietly since you have found such "peace" in your world. I would rather buy tickets to a little league game than spend time with her memoirs.


Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Maybe if conservatives (beyond the few who post here) learned to read books, there would be a demand for conservative writing beyond garbage like Palin's book.


Like this comment
Posted by invisible logic
a resident of another community
on Aug 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Hmmm........you represent the depth of liberals perfectly, implying that Sarah Palin is the benchmark, if not only, conservative read. How pathetic, but true to form. [Portion removed. Accusing someone by speculation.] You would rather spew nonsense about irrelevence than actually listen to what a good conservative has to say. The same conservatism that built a solid respectable country, rather than the wimpy social giveaways that you seem to embrace, which are running this country into oblivion. [Portion removed. Discuss the topic. Don't attack other posters.]

Besides, as soon as the liberal censors at Almanac read this, they will probably take it down anyway, rather that risk offending their staunch liberal reader base.


Like this comment
Posted by Hank lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 23, 2011 at 7:15 am

Jane Fonda told our Country that we "should not hail the POWs as heroes because they are hypocrites and liars".

When the subject our of brave POWs being tortured was brought up she said it was "laughable". I fail to see the humor in our brave servicemen who sacrificed greatly so that we can enjoy our freedom as being "laughable".

Jane Fonda then said "These were not men who had been tortured. These were not men who had been starved. These were not men who had been brainwashed".

Jane Fonda further said that the POWs were "exagerating, probably for their own self-interest" and then said "Never in the history of the United States have POWs come home looking like football players. These football players are no more heroes than Custer was. They're military careerists and professional killers trying to make themselves look self-righteous, but they are war criminals according to law."

And liberal self righteousness lives on. They honor traitors by hosting events for them and denigrate American Heroes by spitting on them when they sacrificed greatly so our country can be free.


Like this comment
Posted by invisible hand
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on Aug 23, 2011 at 11:00 am

logic:

For conservative books, the best you can come up with in comparison to Palin is a dead guy?

Was expecting Rick Parry's book, where he calls Social Security and Medicare unconstitutional, to be your touchstone.

Wingnut books are supported bulk purchases. No one buys them in real bookstores, let alone in the bay area bookstores. So why have the author speak?

"This is a long-running phenomenon -- conservative books nearly always outsell liberal books in large part because of bulk orders. A couple of months ago, for example, Mitt Romney boosted sales of his book by requiring various schools, think tanks, and institutions to buy thousands of copies in exchange for his speeches. Various conferences and Republican outlets do this all the time."

Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Hank Lawrence
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Aug 23, 2011 at 11:12 am

Mitt Romney required schools to buy his books? You see how desperate and nonsensical the liberals claims are. They read some piece of horse manure on a left wing website and then accept that as gospel. This makes about as much sense as the New York Times excoriating Ronald Reagan when he said "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!". The NYT went apoplectic at these "lunatic ravings of an irrational man" that would most certainly plunge our country into a war-- and hasten the demise of Western Civilization. Then those feckless fools at the New York Times looked like the simian dolts that they are when the Wall came tumbling down.


Like this comment
Posted by Willy
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Aug 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Willy is a registered user.

"Mitt Romney required schools to buy his books? You see how desperate and nonsensical the liberals claims are."

So sad that Hank couldn't bother to read the link the man provided that show the facts. Web Link

Shows why some books don't sell - their readers can't even click links.

"The hosts ranged from Claremont McKenna College to the Restaurant Leadership Conference, many of whom are accustomed to paying for high-profile speakers like Romney. Asking that hosts buy books is also a standard feature of book tours. But Romney's total price — $50,000 — was on the high end, and his publisher, according to the document from the book tour — provided on the condition it not be described in detail — asked institutions to pay at least $25,000, and up to the full $50,000 price, in bulk purchases of the book. "


Like this comment
Posted by srini
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm

srini is a registered user.

Invisible hand---nobody compared Palin to Buckley. The point was that even one of the most respected conservatives and best seller ever, would not have gotten a forum at Kepler's. What an incredible spin--so typical of libs when they have nothing constructive to offer, which is usually the case. Then your colleague "hmmm...." suggest that Palin is the face of conservatives...you [word deleted] do plenty to discredit whatever is left of liberal credibility---now there's an oxymoron!


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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