In the last issue of the eXile, we brought to our readers' attention a blog called "La Russophobe," a freakishly whiny, obsessive site devoted to hating ethnic Russians and Russia. The freakiest thing about the site is its brand of hatred, coated not with humor or irony, but with screeching moral righteousness. This sort of ethnic hatred combined with pious crusading is the oldest, purest, rawest sort of hate that human beings can muster up, and quite frankly, as hate connoisseurs, we find ourselves at times almost impressed by it.
The big mystery, of course, is "Who is La Russophobe?" We were inundated with emails from readers, a few of which offered some serious sleuth-work that could be leading us closer to the answer.
To recap: The site "La Russophobe" purports to be run by an American woman named Kim Zigfield. Problem is, the idiot gave herself away as using a pseudonym by publishing various letters to the Moscow Times as Kim Zigfield using different spellings and different cities of residence. She also has been caught red-handed emailing her rants to various Russia hands using different pseudonyms and email addresses, male and female.
After we ran our "Who Is La Russophobe?" article, the blogger panicked. First, she foolishly admitted, in her trademark mix of middlebrow thickness and moral righteousness, that yes, Kim Zigfield is a pseudonym, but after all, "Did 'Huckelberry Finn' lack credibility because the author used a pen name?" You read that, and you start to feel so bad you think maybe you should just leave her alone.
If this wounded, righteous tone wasn't enough to convince us that La Russophobe is not an NGO project but the genuine ravings of a lonely American woman, then one line cemented it. In our article, we published a drawing of a flabby American woman's ass as if it was an artist's sketch of Kim Zigfield. La Russophobe's opinion on the ass? "Even by anorexic standards, that ass isn't fat," she wrote.
Bingo. Only an American female could possibly look at that ass and think, "If only I cut down on my Ben & Jerry's nights, my ass could look that good!"
So how did our readers react? Some of the most interesting letters were those that opened up to us the grotesquely petty world of blogging, flaming, and all of the post-industrial loneliness and desperation that this virtual playground implies. It's a world we've managed to largely avoid all of these years, and reading some of her postings and little flame wars, we realize why we've stayed away: we simply don't have the guts to face that abyss, an abyss so abyssy that it crosses over into something like abyssyosity.
So how lonely is "Kim Zigfield"? As one reader noted, La Russophobe relentlessly promotes her laughably insignificant popularity, the blog world's version of the "I have more friends than you have, and I'm getting more and more popular every day!"
That's sad enough, but even on the virtual playground, La Russophobe fudges her popularity like a GosKomStat chinovnik:
"Ames, No idea who 'La Russophobe' is...but I did notice this: La Russophobe is proudly awaiting the day, several weeks hence, when she records the 100,000th page view at this blog (we're now at 90,000). They claim to have close to 90,000 views...but this print screen taken today (Jan. 30th, 2007) clearly shows a substantially less amount. Are they really this stupid?"
The reader sent in this screenshot as proof:
Another reader, Ger from Ireland, was moved to indignation and action: "As a man married to a Russian and having a Russian son and having spent a long time working there myself, I am flabbergasted by the poison and vitriol being spat out on that site. It beggars belief that someone could firstly be bothered writing all this shit and second to be so inaccurate." Ger tried to fight flame with flame, but quickly understood that it was as effective as Bush's Iraq war plan: "I fired a few shots at the bitch on her blog-shite but she doesn't deal with questions very well. Will you do us all a favour? Give someone a call at Lubyanka and get a MIG 29 to just blow the cow away?"
Believe us, we have an open invitation to Lubyanka to smoke out Kim Zigfield. And judging by your letters, we'd have to hold a lottery to decide who would mule out the polonium.
Now, onto the Scooby Doo-ing unmasking.
We've narrowed down our list of suspects to this: a woman living in the United States, perhaps native American-English speaker, or at one least living long enough in the US to imitate the inflections and mannerisms almost to the point of burlesque -- a type of miming which may indeed point to the Russophobe as some sort of immigrant.
Jack Gladstone opined, "Who else would show such anal psychopathology about hating Russia but a Baltic nationalist? What gives the game away is the unintentionally funny manner in which he hammers on the most petty details -- borsch, Sharapova, the cover of one Russian translation of Huck Finn -- that an American just wouldn't be aware of or care about. And the knowledge of Russian language and culture betrays the dour rigour of the Soviet public school, even if it was transmitted to the author through his parents. Estonia it is!"
Yuri Mamchur, director of the Real Russia project (whatever the fuck that is) suggested, "That a certain 'Lenard Daulton' (who post with the same charm and razor rant as 'Kim Zigfeld') is the real 'phobe. So don't be restricting the search to powdered sugar-obsessed Anglo chicks." We might have taken Yuri's letter a bit more serious if he didn't include little smiley faces in his email. Folks, if there's one thing we hate, it's people who write us letters with chummy smiley-faces.
"Doctor Mike" narrowed his suspect down to a recently-divorced American ex-wife of a Brit television hack who worked in Moscow. Apparently the divorcee is from Allentown, Pennsylvania -- one of the great giveaway clues in our hunt. But so far, the trail stops there.
One stateside reader, "Adam," fingered a local English journalist as the culprit: "I'm thinking Andrew Osborn from the Independent is the blogger. Even if he isn't it ... his consistently anti-Russian slant on everything-- if he found out his mom was Russian he'd probably write a gleeful story about her getting beaten by English skinheads-- makes him worth at least some harassment." We'll get on that harassment as soon as this mystery is solved, Adam.
Among all the sleuth reports we received, the most interesting came from a Russian emigre living in the US who came up with this key bit of info:
"Kim Zigfield committed one major slip up in writing to Moscow Times, she indicated her point of origin - Allentown, PA - no doubt a vanity motivated move to give validity to her comment at a reputable publication. A quick google search reveals that Allentown is home to Muhlenberg College -- one of the first American schools to offer a Russian studies program."
Let's just say, we'll leave it at that for now. Stay tuned.