Naomi Klein’s Journey Into the Unnerving World of Naomi Wolf

Laura Marsh in The New Republic:

A doppelgänger is a double, a person who appears so similar to another that they could easily stand in for them, maybe even take over their life. “The idea that two strangers can be indistinguishable from each other taps into the precariousness at the core of identity,” Klein writes. In Philip Roth’s novel Operation Shylock, a rogue double makes a mockery of Roth’s career, mimicking his lifestyle and parodying the themes of his work, to the point that nothing the real Roth can say or do appears authentic or holds a stable meaning. In Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s painting How They Met Themselves, the two young lovers who encounter their doubles in a dark forest simply cannot contemplate these identical copies of themselves: The man draws his sword, the woman faints.

Naomi Wolf does not in fact resemble Naomi Klein in appearance or personality particularly closely, but from the distance of a byline or a Twitter handle, they were, for many readers, similar enough. Both Naomis, Klein notes, are authors of “big-idea books” who started out in the 1990s, Wolf with The Beauty Myth in 1990, Klein with No Logo in 1999; both have “brown hair that sometimes goes blond from over-highlighting”; both are Jewish. Their name is “just uncommon enough that the first Naomi a person became aware of tended to imprint herself in their mind as a kind of universal Naomi.”

More here.