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Poruchik Mikhail Zulov

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.

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14 Responses to Poruchik Mikhail Zulov

  1. avatar
    GLaB August 7, 2013 at 12:56 am #

    LOL. Thanks for clearing that up – I saw the comment about “Representative Kijé” joining in the putative Stockman bill and was a might confused when I couldn’t find anything about a “Representative Kijé.”

  2. avatar
    richCares August 7, 2013 at 2:21 am #

    a common tactic used by birthers and the far right is “appeal to authority”, that is exactly what “Lt. Zullu” is, and among the delusional that tactic works. Poor silly people!

  3. avatar
    The Magic M August 7, 2013 at 4:26 am #

    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.

    Sounds a bit like the premise of “Brazil”, one of my favourite movies (except there it was a mix-up of two names caused by a fly in the printer).

    richCares: that is exactly what “Lt. Zullu” is

    I’m pretty sure Lt. Mika Zulu was born in Kenya. 😉

  4. avatar
    Lupin August 7, 2013 at 6:19 am #

    Anecdotally, in the same Russia novella, another Lieutenant is mistakenly declared dead, and nothing he can do can ever reinstate him; he ends up a pauper.

    The name “Lieutenant Kijé” was also used in the 60s as a nom de plume by a French science fiction writer.

    Sadly, I see no parallels with Zullo who is both very real and very toxic, unlike Kijé.

  5. avatar
    Lupin August 7, 2013 at 6:22 am #

    How about Captain Tuttle?

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 7, 2013 at 7:27 am #

    Don’t rely on this, but I understand Charles Tuttle was a real Captain in the military.

    Lupin: How about Captain Tuttle?

  7. avatar
    Lupin August 7, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: Don’t rely on this, but I understand Charles Tuttle was a real Captain in the military.

    Not this one:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuttle_%28M*A*S*H%29

    🙂

  8. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 7, 2013 at 8:32 am #

    Yes, of course. Charles Tuttle was a guest on the RC Radio show last night (not the one from MASH).

    Lupin: Not this one:

  9. avatar
    The Magic M August 7, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    Lupin: How about Captain Tuttle?

    Archibald Tuttle? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazil_(1985_film)

  10. avatar
    Northland10 August 7, 2013 at 8:55 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    Yes, of course. Charles Tuttle was a guest on the RC Radio show last night (not the one from MASH).

    Interesting timing of the article. 🙂

  11. avatar
    Volkonski August 7, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    Thanks for the video link. I had seen other films with scores by Prokofiev including “Alexander Nevsky” and “Ivan the Terrible” but had missed seeing the “Lt. Kije” film until now.

  12. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy August 7, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    Well, with almost 3,000 articles, a few were bound to coincide with something.

    Northland10: Interesting timing of the article.:-)

  13. avatar
    Thomas Brown August 7, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    Вы являетесь самыми большими.

  14. avatar
    Crustacean August 7, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    Doc,

    I’m just glad you didn’t call him “Misha” Zulov. You-know-who (one of my favorite commenters here) might’ve taken offense. You do NOT want to be on the Shit List of the International Jewish Conspiracy ™.