While many anti-birthers use pet names for various birthers, particularly for Orly Taitz and Mike Zullo, you will notice that I don’t use them in articles here and very rarely in comments. I do that for several reasons, the main reason being that I’m trying to have the blog taken seriously. Secondary reasons include trying not to appear biased, the belief that a thing should be called by its proper name (consider the use of the name Voldemort in the Harry Potter stories), and trying to act differently from birthers who regularly use demeaning names for the President. I think the birthers lampoon themselves by what they do far more effectively than any cute name I could label them with.
That said, the reader might well wonder about the title of this article, “Poruchik Mikhail Zulov.” Thanks to a commenter today, I was referred to a vintage anecdote from Russia about one Lieutenant Kijé (or Poruchik Kijé in Russian). Mike Zullo is often referred to with titles by birthers, frequently the title of “lieutenant” even though no one has ever to my knowledge justified using it. The Cold Case Posse’s initials “CCP” in Cyrillic letters are equivalent to “SSR” in English, and stand for the well-known phrase “Soviet Socialist Republic” (CCCP was the initials of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). So having the Soviet reference in the name of the Cold Case Posse, and the comment about a Russian lieutenant, led me to translate Zullo’s first name into Russian and to Russify his last name giving “Poruchik Mikhail Zulov,” or in Russian characters: «Поручик Михаил Зулов.»
The purpose of this article is not to call Mike Zullo a funny name, but to illuminate a point with a story. The original story about Lieutenant Kijé was an anecdote attributed to the time of Tsar Alexander I. It was about a bureaucratic screw-up in the army. Through a transcription error, a name was created in the army promotion list, and a non-existent Lieutenant Kijé was created and his name presented to the Tsar for approval. Indeed over time (and I guess from the lack of any negative reports whatever on the fellow) he was promoted, and promoted again. He rose rapidly through the ranks until the Tsar himself wanted to meet the now Full Captain Kijé in person. Of course, he could not be found and an examination of the records revealed the original bureaucratic mistake. Rather than admit the embarrassing error to the Tsar, he was told that the soldier had died. The Tsar remarked: What a pity! He was such a good officer.
I guess the moral of the story is that mistakes can perpetuate themselves and grow. Such things are rampant among the birthers from belief that April fools jokes are true to the amplification of qualifications of birther volunteer experts. The title of “Lieutenant” for Mike Zullo seems to have appeared out of thin are just like the person of Lieutenant Kijé appeared in the story, and like our fictional lieutenant, Mr. Zullo has been elevated by some to “captain” and by others to “commander” without merit.
I doubt that I will ever use “Poruchik Mikhail Zulov” in another article, but if you see it in a comment, it alludes to this story from Russia, referring to a title held without merit.
The anecdote was expanded into a novella and then a film that’s available on YouTube with English subtitles.