Politics Of Meaning Redux?

Politics Of Meaning Redux?

Back in their early White House days, one of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s more provocative guests was Michael Lerner, the Jewish activist and writer whose “politics of meaning” especially captured the first lady’s interest.

That ended when Lerner overpublicized their personal relationship. But now Clinton’s vice president and personal choice for heir has found a politics-of-meaning guru of his own. And unlike Lerner, prominent feminist writer Naomi Wolf does not make free house calls.

Wolf, 37, the author of the 1997 best-seller “Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood,” was outed this week as a senior Al Gore campaign consultant on retainer for $15,000 per month, now down to $5,000. Like Lerner, Wolf’s initial connection was with the women in Gore’s family: daughter Karenna Gore Schiff and wife Tipper. Observers noted that in her own writing, Wolf has argued for “sexual gradualism” as an alternative to sexual abstinence for teens, including masturbation, mutual masturbation and oral sex. But in a piece in Lerner’s Tikkun magazine last year, Wolf also proclaimed her conversion to Lerner’s brand of spirituality-inspired politics after becoming a mother and experiencing a mystical state recently.

“Part of what was shocking to me was [understanding] that all the things that [my] world tended to privilege — things like status, money, beauty, self, fame — were all stripped away, and that the only reality is service, the joy and beauty of it,” Wolf wrote then.

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