The murder of Lawrence King and LGBT online stimulations of narrative copresence

Authors: Pullen, C.

Pages: 17-36

ISBN: 9780203855430

DOI: 10.4324/9780203855430

Source: Scopus

The Murder of Lawrence King and LGBT Online Stimulations of Narrative Copresence

Authors: Pullen, C.

Editors: Cooper, M.

Pages: 17-36

Publisher: Routledge

Place of Publication: New York

ISBN: 978-0-415-99867-3


On the 12th of February 2008 (in Oxnard, California) a young gay teen Lawrence King (aged 15) was murdered in cold blood at school, by a fellow classmate, Brandon McInerey (aged 14). McInerey fearful for gay identification, after Lawrence King had indicated an attraction for him in the lead up to Valentine’s Day, executed the fledgling ‘unashamed’ gay teen. Classmates (in the computer lab) were reported to have witnessed the event, at the same time emotional online testaments seeped through social networking, and video blogging sites, in a manner which suggested co-presence. Many LGBT and ‘regular’ web users, reflected on the horror of the event, and attempted to discuss ingrained homophobia at school, foregrounding memories of their own childhood rejection, and senses of isolation. Following the murder of Matthew Shepard (in 1998), and the world wide attention gained in reporting the event (which stimulated hate crime legislation, which might be employed in punishing McInerey), narrative commentators were understandably surprised at the lack of mainstream media engagement. This revealed the online content, as a ‘primary’ documentary source, involving secondary discursive performances, and tributes to Lawrence King. This occurred not only through the use of written word (in blogs and vblogs), but also through the collage of iconic images and music (in montage videos), in memorial/emotional and political/ideological response.

This chapter explores online new media responses to the tragic murder of Lawrence King. The confessional testaments and media reinventions of contributors on ‘Youtube’, and the work of Waymon Hudson (and his web sites ‘Fight OUT Loud’ and the ‘Politico Homo’), offer political instances of documentary witness and intimate performative reflection. Lawrence King’s murder may be seen as a site of emotional engagement, and a stimulus for political cohesion.

Source: Manual

Preferred by: Christopher Pullen