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Zelensky is an ambulatory virtue-signal; the comedian-president is so much one with the Western system, with “clown world”, that even his name is a virtue-signal. It is the norm in the West to write “Zelenskyy”, not “Zelensky”: this signals that the person who writes the president’s name is au fait with the latest developments in Ukrainian transliteration into English; further, it indicates that they support the Ukraine as a distinct identity separate from Russia. So there is a lot going on when people write “Zelenskyy” and “Kyiv”.

This is pretentious, especially since the “yy” adds nothing to the English pronunciation; it exists purely to indicate that you understand that there are two different “y” sounds in Ukrainian, sounds that were not transliterated previously because there was no social capital in doing so. You do it to show off; it has no practical point, clarifies nothing. I have no idea whether this is an improvement in the transliteration, or if Ukrainian is really that different from Russian; but until the people who do this start to say “Paree” for “Paris” I see no reason to change other than to signal allegiance, or to pretend that you know an “exotic” language and so are special.

Zelensky’s approach to government is pure spectacle: he appears on telescreens around the world unshaven and in a t-shirt. “But he works so hard, no time for social niceties when you fight Putin. The balls on Zelenskyy,” say the NATO heads. Yet Nelson managed to fight at Trafalgar in an ornate uniform, and even Hitler in the bunker kept up appearances. The reason Zelensky appears in this way is that he is acting a Bruce Willis role. Tenebrous voiceover: “Volodymyr Zelenskyy had it all: wife, family, country. Then…screen fades to black, sinister music; Putin’s Asiatic visage appears over the Urals…Putler. Now Zelenskyy will risk it all to save his country…montage of Zelenskyy in a wifebeater doing push-ups, shooting a machine-gun, air boxing…This holiday season one president will risk it all to save everything he loves. Zelenskyy, in cinemas December 19.”

Zelensky could perfectly well put on a suit; he is not in that much danger. The Russians need him alive to negotiate a surrender, he is not fleeing from endless Spetsnaz attacks—though he wants you to think he is. Zelensky wants you to think he works his fingers to the bone, so much so that he has barely a moment to shave or throw on a suit. Narcissism: the act trumps everything; it is about what Zelensky imagines war to be. What a world leader wears does not matter, except that there are arbitrary norms people follow; if you refuse to respect the norms—as actor-comedians desperate for attention do—then all you show is that you do not respect yourself, your office, or the people you serve. You also disrespect all the other world leaders who managed to shave and put on a suit because they represent serious countries not invented media events.

Zelensky acts to the West as if the West were his mother; he puts on these cute acts, these passive-aggressive appeals for aid—and he is rewarded for the act. He appears via telescreen at various parliaments repeats whatever sappy catch phrases he has learned about those countries from Hollywood. Britain: “Blitz. Battle of Britain. Finest hour. Churchill. To be or not to be.” America: “MLK. I have a dream. Pearl Harbor. 9/11. Liberty or death.” Zelensky does not speak from the heart about his country, speak proudly even if other countries do not understand the details; rather, he narcissistically patches together the Hollywood version of the country he addresses to flatter and manipulate.

“I have a dream”: whatever you think about MLK, he was sincere in his non-violence; presumably he would have advised Zelensky to lay down his arms—yet really all MLK means in our narcissistic world is “nice good black man”; and when Zelensky invokes his name he just means “I’m a nice good person”.

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