Archives About Staff BagNews is dedicated to visual politics, media literacy and the analysis of news images.
May 7, 2011

Sexy Seals and the Bin Laden Kill: Our Viagra Moment

Actually taken in Fallujah in 2007 by Getty’s John Moore, this picture accompanied a NYT print piece this week — spanning most of the page width – about the elite Navy Seals and their killing of bin Laden.

Stripped to his waist, muscles bulging and with two hands attending to the phallic holster, this is one electric photo, the anonymity priming our protector with a further voyeuristic charge. It’s far from all-Rambo, though. Complimenting the testosterone, the almost dainty small of the back combined withe the proportionally small waist  lends a soft-core, “Red Shoe Diary” vibe, too, loading up the photo with as much sensuality as sexuality.  (What looks like a skullcap layers in still-further goodwill, adding a dash of: “We are the World.”)

To the extent America was emasculated by the massive hit we took on 9/11, what went down last Saturday — as reflected in this photo, and reinforced by the more primitive behavior outside the White House and in Times Square that night — was a Viagra moment, the forty-minute affair like a jolt from a pair of crash cart defibrillator paddles to America’s dormant virility.  It’s early yet, but I expect this sensuous photo presages a bigger reaction in America than just the expected immortalization of last Saturday’s raid and the lionizing of these ultra-warriors.

(photo: John Moore/Getty Images caption: A U.S. Navy SEAL prepares for a night mission to capture Iraqi insurgent leaders July 27, 2007 near Fallujah, Iraq. American Special Forces operate throughout Iraq, targeting ‘high-value targets’ in commando raids, often at night to take advantage of their night vision superiority.)

  • http://twitter.com/huibree huib riethof

    This is about how deep we are sunk – Dit gaat over hoe diep we zijn gezonken – Dies ist über wie tief wir gesunken sind – Ceci montre combien nous nous ommes éloignés de nos valeurs…

  • http://profiles.google.com/futurebird Susan Donovan

    I don’t like this photo choice either… Though when you say things like ”

    the more primitive behavior outside the White House” I must wonder why you have this need to police other people’s emotional reactions. The initial response is emotion and it is hard to predict what we will feel or how we react. I’m not prone to shouting USA USA USA! but I wouldn’t look down on anyone who did.

  • dissector

    The tattoo across the shoulders looks vaguely like a set of diminutive, stylized angel wings. Given the religious (christian vs. islam) context many view all actions related to the GWOT, it seems significant to me that one of the assassins dropped from the sky – literally on the wings of an avenging angel – to kill OBL. Its not quite like manufacturing rifles with bible verses on them**, but still.

    ** http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/2010-01-19-Military-weapons_N.htm?csp=usat.me

  • Chuck
Refresh Archives

Random Notes