When attempting to understand the nature of a specific pathology, it’s wise to seek information about its origins in the context of the subject’s history.
This is the first of a four part series on the origins of the pathology apparently afflicting our subject, Gary Weiss. This pathology is manifest as a compulsion to invent false identities online for personal gain, and, when discovered, to lie, deny, and attack his accusers.
Gary himself provides a beautiful launching point in the form of a story written for Business Week in June of 1995, entitled Online Investing. Around halfway, Gary offers this lynchpin piece of information:
My AOL address is Garywbw@aol.com. I also have a Prodigy address (NNEL28A@prodigy.com) and an address at an Internet provider known as NETCOM On-Line Communication Services Inc.: firstname.lastname@example.org. But initially, I was only at AOL.
It seems safe to assume that garywbw stands for “Gary Weiss Business Week.”
It also seems safe to assume that in 1995, Gary Weiss was among the many oblivious to the future implications of printing one’s personal email address in Business Week.
That future is here.
Exactly six months prior to Gary’s publication of his email address in Business Week, he made what appears to be his first newsgroup posting, to the misc.writing group.
The next post made as garywbw wouldn’t come until September of 1996, simply reading:
Looking for people who have had any dealings with [Monitor Investments, Global Equities Grp., State Street, Norfolk, Biltmore], as well as Sovereign Equity Management and First Hanover. Kindly email me at email@example.com.
Three months later, part one of Gary Weiss’s BusinessWeek story The Mob on Wall Street would make extensive reference to four of the firms inquired about in the above post.
Point being, firstname.lastname@example.org is our Gary Weiss.
Garywbw spends the first part of 1997 as a surprisingly constructive participant in a few support-related groups. Then, in March of that year, we see Gary’s first, fateful post to the newsgroup soc.culture.jewish:
This newsgroup sucks
Is there a better one somewhere — a moderated one, preferably to keep out the kooks, flames and so on? One where “Jewish culture” is actually discussed? Pls advise.
We consider that post “fateful,” because it represents Gary’s first apparent contribution to the newsgroup where the seeds of his habitual deception were sown.
Part two of this series examines a few of those seeds; and, if we may be so bold, will likely freak you out.