Here in the nation’s capital, just as it seems things can’t get any weirder than our weather dominating headlines, we’ve busted open a ring of Russian spies and, over the weekend, began trading Russia theirs for a couple of our own.
As this was happening, I had the same gut reaction I had last summer when our government was battling Somali pirates. Pirates? Really?
Russian Spies? The Cold War ended 20 years ago, so I confess, I haven’t given spies much thought since. Except, of course, during the arrest of Robert Hanssen, who sold U.S. secrets to the Russians for diamonds and cash. That was fun.
Before that, though, I had not given Russian spies any thought since, oh, the last time I watched Bullwinkle. Or Get Smart. I was a child of the 1960s but never experienced firsthand an air raid drill. In essence, I never felt the threat of potential communist attack personally.
At a young age, my frame of reference came from bumbling television spies. Agents 86 and 99 were the good guys, fighting the fictitious enemy, KAOS, an international organization of evil. And the real reason I rooted for the good guys was that, at age of seven, I wanted to be Barbara Feldon.
Back then, the enemy could be pretty sexy as well. Take Natasha Fatale, for example. Natasha’s character on the Bullwinkle cartoon was svelte and always wore a clingy cartoon cocktail dress. She and Boris were wily spies from the fictitious nation of Pottsylvania, trying to outsmart a stupid moose. We didn’t know where Pottsylvania was but its spies spoke with Eastern European accents.
This summer, as the recent spy-busting events unfolded, national attention zoomed in on one particular accused Russian spy, 28-year-old Anna Chapman, nickname, Lady in Red. Va-va-va-voom! When she wasn’t collecting secrets she was posing for suggestive photographs (the most famous of which looks like she’s wearing Natasha’s cocktail dress), working as a real estate agent in New York City and living a seemingly normal life on Facebook.
Apparently, she let her guard down one time too many and, before she knew it, her cover was blown, along with the covers of her compatriots. Whoops.
Obviously, I am not the first to make the Anna-Natasha connection. You can’t ignore the parallels.
But I am betting Natasha never came out of that red cartoon cocktail dress. It was the 1960s after all, people had their modesty. Plus, Facebook hadn’t been invented yet.