Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

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Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:07 pm

Fellow Vermonter Dave Littendorf's recent rant about Naomi Wolf being an NSA agent got me thinking, thinking about some thinkings I've thunk before.

See, back when Naomi Klein was getting mixed up with Naomi Wolf, I was lamenting the fact that Klein's book on "Disaster Capitalism," while flawed, strident and one-sided, was still an extremely important argument ... and one that looked even better compared with the tome that Naomi Wolf was touring in support of, The End of America. In fact, having been subjected to Wolf's documentary effort of the same name, I was struck by the fact she was doing a very partisan paint-by-numbers pastiche of pretty much everyone else who was already on the scene, saying the same shit, only better. (And for a long time prior to 2007. Naomi Klein among them.)

Anyways, I casually brought this up to an academic friend, and to my surprise, she jumped onboard and provided me with another datapoint: her own conspiracy theory that Naomi Wolf was a CIA "cultural asset" who was put into play to counteract Camille Paglia. She discussed this at some length, brought up a lot of fishy stuff I've long since forgotten, and impressed me with how fleshed out and considered her presentation was.

So, being reminded of both this week, I perused her biography and found my first data point: Naomi Wolf published "acclaimed" and heavily promoted books in two fields: 1) Feminism, where her 1991 book "The Beauty Myth" presented a toned-down and photogenic counterpoint to Camille Paglia's ambitious and political 1991 book, "Sexual Personnae" and 2) Left Politics, where he 2007 book "The End of America" provided a talking-points manifesto complete with astro-turf marketing "movement" the same year as Naomi Klein's ambitious and original 2007 book, "The Shock Doctrine."

The fact Naomi Klein was a Rhodes Scholar does not exactly hurt my case.

http://www.nndb.com/people/454/000117103/

Anyways, a parting study in paranoid patterns of thought. I banish with laughter and mean the woman no harm, her agitation for the human vagina is a welcome signal and probably the best use of the 2012 zeitgeist.
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Re: Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

Postby 82_28 » Mon Jun 17, 2013 9:45 pm

I've long thought the exact same thing. You are not alone. It actually gives me the chills how EXACT yours and your friend's feelings on "the Naomi's" are and the old role of Paglia.
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Re: Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:24 pm

Damn, interesting. I am only recently catching up to Paglia in the last 2 years, working on the Hump Jones book. She was dope.

But, yeah: "probes" aside I don't think it's a joke idea that feminism needs to be de-politicized and actively managed. Steinem was CIA for awhile, after all.

Always unpredictable, the academic disciplines that lead to active subversives: history, geography, economics, physics, design, photography ... next thing you know, the computer science wing will causing problems.
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Re: Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

Postby compared2what? » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:02 am

Wombaticus Rex » Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:07 pm wrote:Fellow Vermonter Dave Littendorf's recent rant about Naomi Wolf being an NSA agent got me thinking, thinking about some thinkings I've thunk before.

See, back when Naomi Klein was getting mixed up with Naomi Wolf, I was lamenting the fact that Wolf's book on "Disaster Capitalism," while flawed, strident and one-sided, was still an extremely important argument ... and one that looked even better compared with the tome that Naomi Wolf was touring in support of, The End of America. In fact, having been subjected to Wolf's documentary effort of the same name, I was struck by the fact she was doing a very partisan paint-by-numbers pastiche of pretty much everyone else who was already on the scene, saying the same shit, only better. (And for a long time prior to 2007. Naomi Klein among them.)

Anyways, I casually brought this up to an academic friend, and to my surprise, she jumped onboard and provided me with another datapoint: her own conspiracy theory that Naomi Wolf was a CIA "cultural asset" who was put into play to counteract Camille Paglia. She discussed this at some length, brought up a lot of fishy stuff I've long since forgotten, and impressed me with how fleshed out and considered her presentation was.

So, being reminded of both this week, I perused her biography and found my first data point: [b]Naomi Wolf published "acclaimed" and heavily promoted books in two fields: 1) Feminism, where her 1991 book "The Beauty Myth" presented a toned-down and photogenic counterpoint to Camille Paglia's ambitious and political 1991 book, "Sexual Personnae"


Camille Paglia was, herself, very photogenic (as well as very telegenic) and got about ten times the MSM play that Wolf got, as well as at least that much more intellectual respect, which even I'd say she deserves in a straight-up comparison. (Can't stand either of them, never could.) So there's that.

But besides....Well. It might just be me. But I can't actually remember any of Naomi Wolf's books even having a cultural impact, to speak of. (The Beauty Myth made a big splash, but the ideas in it didn't, particularly. I mean, they weren't new ideas.) Whereas Paglia's work very definitely did. And still does. She's like a conversion experience, practically.

If so, fail for the NSA wrt that part of it, is I guess what I'm thinking.
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Re: Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

Postby thatsmystory » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:34 am

One key point Klein made was that government/business can take advantage of situations without necessary being involved. Meaning that they can capitalize on genuine leaks by exploiting the aspects that work to their advantage.

I'm sure at the time somebody wrote an article about Wolf's book in which they explained how she was actually adding to the chilling factor and aiding the government in reducing dissent. I thought her article about Snowden was interesting if not convincing. How can you not question everything in this day and age?
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Re: Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

Postby Nordic » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:28 am

What about Madonna.
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Re: Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Tue Jun 18, 2013 10:59 am

Camille Paglia was, herself, very photogenic (as well as very telegenic) and got about ten times the MSM play that Wolf got, as well as at least that much more intellectual respect, which even I'd say she deserves in a straight-up comparison. (Can't stand either of them, never could.) So there's that.

But besides....Well. It might just be me. But I can't actually remember any of Naomi Wolf's books even having a cultural impact, to speak of. (The Beauty Myth made a big splash, but the ideas in it didn't, particularly. I mean, they weren't new ideas.) Whereas Paglia's work very definitely did. And still does. She's like a conversion experience, practically.


Appreciate the stroll down memory lane. This Naomi Wolf is clearly a more subtle & sophisticated operator than we feared!
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Re: Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

Postby compared2what? » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:43 pm

Wombaticus Rex » Tue Jun 18, 2013 9:59 am wrote:
Appreciate the stroll down memory lane. This Naomi Wolf is clearly a more subtle & sophisticated operator than we feared!


I actually think that she's essentially what you're suggesting she is -- ie, the kind of nominal opponent of the status quo who somehow always ends up doing stuff that serves establishment interests.

And I certainly don't think that Paglia was or is anybody's puppet, stooge or instrument just because she was introduced to the public via stuff like segments on 60 minutes and write-ups in Vanity Fair hailing her as (paraphrase) the feisty genius whose combination of ivory-tower intellectual achievement and native feeling for the tastes, concerns and desires of the common man were going to revolutionize and revivify feminism.

Or at least not anybody else's puppet, stooge, or instrument. She did seem to have kind of a self-stooging inability to recognize when she had nothing non-idiotic to say back when she was always being asked to comment on popular culture, imo. But whatever. That's obviously subjective and, in a way, immaterial.

So....fwiw, although I usually found what the both of them were saying foolish and/or offensive, I never thought Paglia wasn't authentic. And that's not a minor distinction, for the purposes of figuring out who's a CIA cultural cold war asset. It just doesn't win her my allegiance, because (to use the same examples I did the last time she came up)...

Camille Paglia wrote:You know what gets me sick and tired? The battered-woman motif. It’s so misrepresented, the way we have to constantly look at it in terms of male oppression and tyranny, and female victimization. When, in fact, everyone knows throughout the history of the world that many of these working-class relationships where women get beat up have hot sex. They ask why won’t she leave him? Maybe she won’t leave him because the sex is very hot.



Camille Paglia wrote:Woman's flirtatious arts of self-concealment mean man's approach must take the form of rape.


Camille Paglia wrote:Male tumescence is an assertion of the separateness of objects. An erection is architectural, sky-pointing. Female tumescence, through blood or water, is slow, gravitational, amorphous. In the war for human identity, male tumescence is an instrument, female tumescence an obstruction. The fatty female body is a sponge. At peak menstrual and natal moments, it is locked passively in place, suffering wave after wave of Dionysian power.


...I generally either authentically disagree with her or authentically have no idea wtf she's saying.

Seriously. How does that last sentence of the last quote make sense as thought? Or as anything but a very fancily worded "Ew, gross" with a shout-out to Dionysian power tacked onto the end of it?

I guess it's probably really there that she loses me for good on the one concession I'd like to be able to make, come to think of it. Because however authentically on the pro-sex vanguard being that disgusted by the female body may feel to her, it just sounds like conventional Eisenhower-era revulsion to me. Which is sad, since that was probably a part of her personal cultural conditioning.

But be that as it may. I'd still have to say that her views frequently struck me as a little less revolutionary than their billing.


...

Caveat lector, though. Because I can't help it that I'm old. But it's sometimes kind of a demi-disqualifier, when it comes to cultural nuance, I have to admit. I mean, it's true that I thought the same thing when I was 31. But that just proves I've always hated everything, arguably. So I could definitely be wrong, either way.
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Re: Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

Postby elfismiles » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:59 pm

interesting thread ...

:threadhijacked:

I just heard Thomas Mountain being interviewed by Scott Horton (live, just about 15 minutes ago) and for the first time publicly, he said some things about his suspicions regarding Jeremy Scahill being used to distract from genocide. I'll have to re-listen to it once it's posted later today.

Maybe I'll start a thread on that then.

:backtotopic:
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Re: Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

Postby semper occultus » Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:04 pm

...yucky quotes admittedley but presumably Andrea Dworkin was getting her dander up a bit....if indeed feminists have danders...
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Re: Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

Postby compared2what? » Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:14 pm

Never occurred to me before, for some reason. But both Wolf and Paglia were mentored by Harold Bloom at Yale. And each, in her own way, seems never to have gotten over it. FWIW.
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Re: Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

Postby Project Willow » Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:54 pm

compared2what? » 18 Jun 2013 09:43 wrote:

Camille Paglia wrote:Male tumescence is an assertion of the separateness of objects. An erection is architectural, sky-pointing. Female tumescence, through blood or water, is slow, gravitational, amorphous. In the war for human identity, male tumescence is an instrument, female tumescence an obstruction. The fatty female body is a sponge. At peak menstrual and natal moments, it is locked passively in place, suffering wave after wave of Dionysian power.


...I generally either authentically disagree with her or authentically have no idea wtf she's saying.

Seriously. How does that last sentence of the last quote make sense as thought? Or as anything but a very fancily worded "Ew, gross" with a shout-out to Dionysian power tacked onto the end of it?



:rofl:

A reiteration of the female as victim/vehicle of man's and nature's furry. That's how I read it anyway, out of context. Dis-empoweringly Despicable. Paglia strikes me as another intellectual who's escaped into a world of disembodied thought in defense against the more unruly aspects of being human, selectively of course. The head-heart balance is off, as is a measure of self-consciousness. Perhaps what all those quotes boil down to is that she likes rough sex, or suspects most women do. (Oh, shame on me.)
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Re: Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

Postby compared2what? » Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:38 pm

Project Willow » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:54 pm wrote:
A reiteration of the female as victim/vehicle of man's and nature's furry. That's how I read it anyway, out of context. Dis-empoweringly Despicable. Paglia strikes me as another intellectual who's escaped into a world of disembodied thought in defense against the more unruly aspects of being human, selectively of course. The head-heart balance is off, as is a measure of self-consciousness. Perhaps what all those quotes boil down to is that she likes rough sex, or suspects most women do. (Oh, shame on me.)


Well.... The first of those options is more or less what I was saying. And it's definitely what I was thinking. So shame on me if it's shameful, but I agree. She's sort of like Pat (now Patrick) Califia in that way, except strangely unable to grasp the distinction between finding personal sexual liberation in a leather bar and discovering a universal practical solution to the sexual repression of women.

It's that concept/thing dichotomy. It trips people up.

____________

ON EDIT: It was also a real question, fwiw. Because I actually don't know wtf she's saying there. I mean, is she talking about cramps? Makes no sense.
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Re: Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

Postby Project Willow » Tue Jun 18, 2013 4:09 pm

compared2what? » 18 Jun 2013 11:38 wrote:
ON EDIT: It was also a real question, fwiw. Because I actually don't know wtf she's saying there. I mean, is she talking about cramps? Makes no sense.


Maybe she's referring to the fact that women don't have conscious control of the contractions of the uterus and cervix, but it's not like men don't ever feel or express a sense of helplessness in regards to their own urges, whatever the physical differences.
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Re: Probe: Naomi Wolf as CIA Cultural Cold War Asset

Postby OP ED » Tue Jun 18, 2013 5:01 pm

Project Willow » Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:09 pm wrote:
compared2what? » 18 Jun 2013 11:38 wrote:
ON EDIT: It was also a real question, fwiw. Because I actually don't know wtf she's saying there. I mean, is she talking about cramps? Makes no sense.


Maybe she's referring to the fact that women don't have conscious control of the contractions of the uterus and cervix, but it's not like men don't ever feel or express a sense of helplessness in regards to their own urges, whatever the physical differences.


that is how OP ED reads the grammary.

not that this is any way relevant to her ideas themselves or their potential validity for any sort of actual social campaigning.

[their potential value being: approaching the negative]


it could just as easily have been discussing hiccups for all of its glorious insight into human nature and its inherent conflicts.


[OP ED might concur also that OP ED's genitals are not always entirely cooperative with whatever non-genital-related-activities OP ED has in mind]

[thee male organs are also, frankly, badly placed, in the evolutionary sense]




compared2what? » Tue Jun 18, 2013 1:14 pm wrote:Never occurred to me before, for some reason. But both Wolf and Paglia were mentored by Harold Bloom at Yale. And each, in her own way, seems never to have gotten over it. FWIW.



hmm. now that is interesting to OP ED.
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