In her new book, Doppelganger: A Trip Into the Mirror World, leftist public intellectual Naomi Klein argues that the phenomenon of “doubling”—of the self or a collective, whether adopted or imposed—shapes the politics of our time. Klein’s frequent confusion with the feminist-writer-turned-Covid-conspiracy-theorist Naomi Wolf provides the jumping-off point for a journey through internet culture, vaccine conspiracism, the wellness world, eugenics, and contemporary dynamics around settler colonial denialism, as she explores the way that “doubling” structures what we see and don’t want to see, what we project and what we hide. The book culminates in an extended discussion of Israel/Palestine, which Klein reveals to be a potent site of such “doppelganger politics,” as the scholar Caroline Rooney has put it, in which Israel has created its own “double” of the European nationalism that has oppressed so many Jews, and which allows it to project everything it cannot bear to see about itself onto the Palestinian Other.
In this episode of On the Nose, editor-in-chief Arielle Angel speaks with Klein about her book and its relation to the present crisis: How can the figure of the doppelganger help us understand the long history that is erupting in the present—both the Holocaust and the Nakba—in ways that can move us toward justice and solidarity? And how can the left adequately respond to this moment—on campus, on the page, and in the streets?
Thanks to Jesse Brenneman for producing and to Nathan Salsburg for the use of his song “VIII (All That Were Calculated Have Passed).”
To leave a voicemail for our upcoming episode about talking to your families in this moment, please call 347-878-1359.
Books, Films, and Articles Mentioned and Further Reading:
Doppelganger: A Trip Into the Mirror World by Naomi Klein
Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire
They Do Not Exist, 1974 film by Mustafa Abu Ali