HATERS GONNA HATE
Or as Wesley Lowery would put it: Haters mad for whatever reason.
I’ve owned my CazWorld.com domain for years. Probably over a decade at this point. I waited for the .com extension to become available for CazWorld, and when it did I swooped on it. I owned it and only used it for staging, to show clients work in progress that would be transferred to their hosts. The homepage said: Under Construction for years. Seriously. And then last December everything started to change.
In the week between Christmas and New Years there were some occurrences that seemed odd, but unremarkable. I got a notice from Instagram that someone had tried to log in to my account which is something I mostly just forget about. Millions of people get new toys at Christmas. One might have entered a typo when trying to log in to a brand new account. I brushed it off, didn’t think about it. Then I got an alert from PayPal that two charges were attempted at a site I’d never heard of: Jane.com. Then I got a new follower notice from Twitter. At first I just noticed that the first name was Caz. That’s not all that unusual. In the more than eleven years that I’ve had @caz, I do hear from other Cazzes mostly wanting to make a deal. No dice. I just tell them they’re 11 years too late to have @caz as their account and wish them great times in the Twitterverse.
This one was different. The account was @cazspringer. My full name. I clicked. You can look now. It has been suspended. It was harassment from my brother, who now notes that he is actually only a half-brother. (We were not raised that way.)
He had only just begun. By mid-January he would have populated sites on several free or very inexpensive web-hosting sites. Deranged accusations, childhood pictures of me, his tale of how he came to be. Note, as adults we learned that we have different fathers.
I went through Twitter’s harassment steps and they took actions to suspend that account. Then later I took that example to Wix.com and they took that trash down. Within hours of Wix.com taking down the abusive site he built there, this disturbed individual had posted one YouTube video of his online trash, and then another.
Before the December Surprise, anyone Googling me would see my work at the Southern Arizona LGBTQ community organization Wingspan, my Ariztical film company work, festival bookings and the like. They might see some of my Book-of-the-Month Club work, and a StoryCorps piece that I did which is hosted on the Arizona Public Media site. Somehow once his assault started his crap rose to the top and pushed legitimate links to me and my work far down. Explosive diarrhea.
I’m no social worker but in my work with Wingspan, I got to hear stories of kids who were treated very badly by siblings and other family members when they came out (or were otherwise discovered) as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or questioning. You hear stories second hand and you hear stories directly from the kids when you take some time to listen. Some young people are putting up with this same type of crap, but maybe their home, their housing hangs in the balance. Everyday, some youngster is dealing with this kind of abuse. I have the benefit of age and experience, I cannot imagine the stress if I were only 14 or 16 dealing with these charges and stressors.
If my asshole brother had simply said: I will sit shiva, you are dead to me, that would have been something to deal with. We have never been close. It really would not have been any big deal for me. Instead, he came after me, attacking my name and reputation online. And we all know, or should know by now, that the Internet never forgets.
It was up to me put my word out, to put my work out to combat the attack. One of my very most kind-hearted friends sees this as my brother reaching out. And in someway, perhaps that’s it in part. I’ve been generous through the years in describing my brother. He is very intelligent. He is a guy who got into computers and programming very early on. He was all about Popular Mechanics and Popular Electronics and all the early computer magazines. We had a Apple computer when not many families did. That came from my brother’s request. You have be of a certain age to remember the huge Interview-size Computer Shopper magazine that was almost an inch thick most months. He had stacks of that periodical. He knew how to build computers and all kinds of electronic gadgets. He was in the time slot to be with the guys who retired early from Microsoft and started things like our schoolmate Robert Glaser did with RealNetworks. [https://venturebeat.com/2016/04/03/the-boomerang-kid-rob-glaser-on-his-return-to-realnetworks-and-whats-next/]
So, what happened? That’s a question someone else will have to ask him. From a distance it looks to me like his mental health was not up to the task of seeing him through to those successes. How did he get out early from the Army? How did he end up in Leavenworth when he was in the Navy and got out early?
There are times when you’ve probably found it fairly easy to “take the high road.” On the other hand, a sucker punch that knocks out some teeth, is something that can ignite a low road response. His December Surprise through its days and weeks of growth came to feel like that kind of sucker punch. My launch of CazWorld is the high road. It’s my focusing on strengthening my online presence and working to make my presence larger and more focused and powerful than his crap throwing toddler tantrum.
For now, I am concentrating on content for the site. I may eventually get its look in line with a clean design while being cost-effective. For now, it’s just one step along the high road.