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September 21, 2011

It’s a Whole New Dance Down at the Recruitment Office: Life (and Pictures) After DADT

Talkin’ ’bout a revolution … and a radical cultural shift playing out in the cultural and visual media sphere in one day’s pivot. I predict that the military’s end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is going to yield such a wellspring of fascinating photography, it might yet (move over GOP, OBL, Arab Spring, 9/11/11) be the picture story of the year.

This photo shot yesterday by Michael Stravato for the New York Times, which I’ve slightly marked up in lime, is absolutely fabulous. Here’s the caption:

Master Sgt. Anthony Henry, a top Marine recruiting trainer, right, and Staff Sgt. Chris Cano, a Marine recruiter, center, speak with Ariel Pratt, a lesbian, about joining the Marines at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center on the fist day of the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” in Tulsa, Okla., Sept. 20, 2011. With the 18-year-old ban now changed, the Marines appear determined to prove that they will be better than the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard in recruiting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender service members.

What got me going?

1. How the line of succession in the poster on the table, the three Marines at attention in formal uniform, including the caps, perfectly extends to and incorporates Ariel Pratt, also in uniform, heavy on black-and-white, as well, with the eagle on her soldier ready-to-go.

2. The pull up bar as a metaphor, given how dramatically the bar just shifted.

3. How Ariel and Master Sgt. Henry, both stereotypical, in dress and posture, but heretofore on completely opposite and opposing teams (at least, as far as I know) are, suddenly, potential brother-and-sister. …By the way, I can’t help but note Henry’s facial expression (in the eyes and around the mouth), part Marine skeptical and authoritarian bad-ass, but also, it seems, a little softer.

4. Funny how Staff Sgt. Cano’s pants seem just a little tight.

5. Ah, the fist. So the service’s definition of “pride” just got bigger, that’s all.

(Denver Post extended slideshow)

  • Anonymous

    Interesting, that white rectangle right in front of her privates. Yeah, it’s a paper she’s holding, but visually it’s a white rectangle.

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  • LanceThruster

    I wonder how much of a setback previous discharging of gay and lesbian Arabic translators (I’ve heard around 60) hurt national security. Gay Cambridge mathematician Alan Turing helped break the WWII German “enigma” code and then was hounded to suicide afterward (forcebly injected with female hormones – see: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32799951/ns/world_news-europe/ ).

    As people tried to tell wingers and other people steeped in their own prejudices, gays were always part of society and all around them, they just had to pretty much stay in the shadows.

    The best way to reform negative attitudes towards others, is to actually get to know some of them.

  • Jonathanghess

    I first though she was a boy, so the image had that old great stinger for me.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Pad-Dar/100002515504977 Pad Dar

    I would SO love it, Mr Shaw, if you were in the military right now.
    I love your tolerance!
    Imagine if some big, gigantic ‘gay’ man rams his hoo-hah right up your ittty, bitty, butthole. :)
     

    • glenn

      This is a bizarre comment. Are you implying that’s the conduct that takes place in the US military – forcible rape of one’s colleagues? Or are you simply voicing your own fantasies?

      Love the smiley emoticon – that’s the special touch.

  • http://www.serr8d.blogspot.com/ Serr8d

    I keep looking for the “W”, signifying ‘washout’…there it is.

    The stripe on SSG Cano’s left leg, to the supports on the pullup bar (note the handy grime from actual workouts, not metaphorical ‘equality-based’ workouts) then back up the stripe on MSG Henry’s left leg.

    Is Ariel to be one of the ‘few’, the ‘proud’? I think she might have left that back in (lips) Petulantsville.

    • glenn

      Who are you to dis someone who wants to serve her country? Let’s see you make the commitment this young woman is contemplating.

    • Anonymous

       Huh?

    • http://ralfast.wordpress.com/ Ralfast

      And based on the erroneous assumption that this person can hack it. I seen many a skinny recruit, men and women transformed by basic training. It’s not just the physical endurance but also the mental and in real war, lots of muscle doesn’t make you bulletproof, shrapnel resistant or immune to PTSD.

  • Boxcar

    Michael: When you say “the fist” are you referring to Master Sgt Henry (on right) with his knuckles curled under his left hand?

    If so, to me that is not pride. That is the betrayal. This dude, in every way is trying to accept the parameters of his new role, but that knuckled curled under (hidden fist) shows the tense need to sublimate his desire to actually form, raise and use that fist on the new recruit.

    Ok, so i have an imagination! ;)

    • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw

      Yes, I glossed over the possibility the recruiter is conflicted. (That would be natural, in fact, as change is a gradual process and doesn’t turn on a dime.) I wouldn’t assume, however, that he’s harboring resentment. The article did emphasize how the Marines, driven by pride, are determined to out-recruit the other services as “this new market” for talent opens up.

    • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw

      Yes, I glossed over the possibility the recruiter is conflicted. (That would be natural, in fact, as change is a gradual process and doesn’t turn on a dime.) I wouldn’t assume, however, that he’s harboring resentment. The article did emphasize how the Marines, driven by pride, are determined to out-recruit the other services as “this new market” for talent opens up.

    • http://www.bagnewsnotes.com Michael Shaw

      Yes, I glossed over the possibility the recruiter is conflicted. (That would be natural, in fact, as change is a gradual process and doesn’t turn on a dime.) I wouldn’t assume, however, that he’s harboring resentment. The article did emphasize how the Marines, driven by pride, are determined to out-recruit the other services as “this new market” for talent opens up.

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