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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)

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