The Sexuality, the Spectrum, and the Socratic Seminar

photoAfter skimming through the novel, I  noticed Moisés Kaufman added two similar quotes which belong on separate ends of the spectrum. Now, how can the quotes be similar and different at the same time? The quotes below are similar in their purpose and approach; justify their preferred sexuality with as much bile and condemning language possibly. The ends of the spectrum are pro-homosexual and pro-heterosexual.

“You and the straight people of Laramie and Wyoming are guilty of the beating of Matthew Shepard just as the Germans who looked the other way are guilty of the deaths of the Jews, the Gypsies, and the homosexuals. You have taught your straight children to hate their gay brothers and sisters. Unless and until you acknowledge that Matt Shepard’s beating is not just a random occurrence, not just the work of a couple of random crazies, you have Matthew’s blood on your hands” (Kaufman 56).


“Do you cry like a baby on TV for all of your patients or just the faggots” (Kaufman 71)?

As I said before, the quotes above are similar but different. The reason I chose these quotes is their representation. The Laramie Project has a theme where the thoughts and opinions of the town are evaluated. Then, there is the question of whether or not Matthew’s death was a hate crime. I believe the origin of the colossal battle for the hate crime ruling was clearly represented in the quotes: the beliefs of the world range from extremist to moderate and back to extremist. Kaufman, whether it was intentional or not, slips in the opposing attitudes but from the point of view of the outside world (as if Laramie was a goldfish in the fish bowl). I think the opinions (more like attacks) from the world truly affected the psyche of the town on how strongly people felt about sexuality. For example, Rulon Stacey never realized the “magnitude” of hate one could possess. In general, the town was pretty moderate on sexuality. Most of the people interviewed were contempt with heterosexuality, but would never be gay themselves.The diction and metaphor to the Germans citizens during the Holocaust were not necessary, but both quotes were fueled by pain and emotion. In the end, I personally disagree with the presentation of these emails just because they reveal so much negativity on something I think is super irrelevant (yes, sexuality is a point but it is not THE point) in the case of a brutal beating and murder of a young man.

Anyway, the Socratic seminar for The Laramie Project comes dead last in my book of in-class discussions. I felt like nobody really understood the aim or what was supposed to come out of this, so the answers and questions reflected that. From what I gather, everyone in our class accepts homosexuality; however, the thought of it being the cause of Matthew’s death is fuzzy. I think it is difficult for us to even have an opinion on this matter when we have not seen any evidence and we have read conflicting testimonies. Therefore, it was hard for people to back up their points with concrete items. Lastly, I want to add that our class is too emotional in terms of Mr. B liking our values. I think he is trying to build up our oral analysis skills, but cannot resist the temptation of putting in his own input. He is human. I am not trying to be a kiss up, but I do not think the complaining is worth a thing. Just keep doing what you are doing and move on.


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