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Naomi Klein is worried about her ‘Doppelganger’? Try being called Alex Jones

Alexandra Jones (ES / Natasha Pszenicki)
Alexandra Jones (ES / Natasha Pszenicki)

Delving into the shadowy world of conspiracy theorists, Doppelgänger, Naomi Klein’s upcoming work of non-fiction, details the existential vertigo of being mistaken over and over for another person, a doppelgänger with despicable views and bad hair.

Hers is a fellow author and politically commentating Naomi. The problem for Klein is that other Naomi, Naomi Wolf (once a pop-culture feminist — not an insult, FYI, I liked The Beauty Myth — and darling of the American liberal elite) is now a tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorist of the burn-the-5G-towers variety.

A regular on the right-wing talk show circuit, an anti-vaxxer and a Karen of the highest order, her views are anathema for liberal climate campaigner Klein, who is increasingly put-out when people mistake Wolf’s words for hers and vice-versa. To which I say, Naomi hun, I feel your pain, but try sharing a name with the most nutty, hateful right-winger on earth: Alex Jones.

‘The most paranoid man in America’s’ theories have famously included one about the Pentagon poisoning American water with a chemical ‘gay bomb’ that’s turned ‘the majority of frogs in most areas of the United States’ gay to, perhaps most perversely, one about how the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School (where 26 people died, including 20 children) was staged. Last year he lost that argument, in court, and was ordered to pay the families $965 million.

Klein — who shares only a Christian name with her doppelgänger — at one point quotes Dan Hon as saying: ‘Naomi Klein should sue for trademark dilution and brand harm.’ Which, given the high-profile nature of my both-names-namesake and the absurdity of his views, surely means I have a case? He has unquestionably tarnished my brand: otherwise I would be writing cover stories for Time by now, not spurious columns for ES Magazine but… well, we move, as the kids say.

I’ve been spared some of the humiliations Klein describes because it is quite difficult to mistake me for other-Alex-Jones (I hope). He’s a jowly, middle-aged American man with a pot belly and a neck beard, and I am a not-yet middle-aged British woman (with a pot belly and a neck beard), so no one’s ever come up to me at a party to complain about the time I called them a eugenicist. Yet. Before my doppelgänger dragged our name through the mud, I was always pleased about being an Alex Jones, thinking mainly of that scene in The Terminator when Arnie is sent from the future to terminate Sarah Connor but has trouble tracking her down because of how many Sarah Connors there are in the phone book (the thought that anyone/thing who wanted to hunt me down would have a raft of Alex Joneses to sift through remains some comfort).

For Klein, the doppelgänger is a metaphor that allows her to explore the forces that have led us to a post-truth reality, in which a frightening number of people believe America’s election was stolen (despite the evidence) or that the climate crisis is a myth (despite the science). Me? I just wish I shared a name with someone who would help me get reservations at nice restaurants, instead of Alex Jones.