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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

How Butina Did It

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign.

Monica Hesse has very perceptive observations at WP:
Whether or not Butina is actually a Russian spy, what becomes clear is that she was very good at being an American fantasy. While Cold War buffs spent the past week talking about how Butina was reminiscent of Jennifer Lawrence in “Red Sparrow” or Keri Russell in “The Americans,” the pop-culture reference I kept thinking of was author Gillian Flynn’s description of a “Cool Girl.” 
The concept was a major theme in Flynn’s novel “Gone Girl” — which is itself essentially a deep dive into the relationship equivalent of spycraft: the personas some women adopt in order to please men, and the boyfriends who buy into it. Cool Girls might package themselves in different formats for different types of guys, i.e., sports bros, earnest freegans, Star Wars cosplayers. The common thread, Flynn writes: A Cool Girl is “basically the girl who likes everything he likes and doesn’t ever complain.”
Maria Butina is an NRA Cool Girl, a unicorn dream of what a man who loved guns might be seeking in a woman to love him.