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April 24, 2012

Secret Surface

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For my own interests, I’ll admit, I’m grateful for the Columbia Secret Service scandal. When you look at jillions of news photos every day, it’s a wonderful thing that something suddenly comes along that causes all of us to see the same-ole, same-ole in a completely new way.

Ever since the scandal broke, those diligent newswire photographers — those daily excavators of action in-and-around the rostrums, the hearing tables and the tarmacs — have been having just a little more fun, I’m sure, capturing a little more emphasis, a slightly wider angle, a new slice of irony, a funky frozen grimace in all those photos clogged with bodies (1, 2) we would otherwise never notice.

So, let’s hear it for these guys in generic suits with their custom lapel pins, the two guys on the right still looking near-identical even as we, for once, are paying attention. Now don’t get me wrong, because the icons far left and in the background don’t get any bigger, these guys, on duty, as first line of defense, are critical players. Having said that though, it’s not surprising — in today’s anonymity-defying culture — that these guys actually took so long to hit the spotlight. (Hello, HBO?!)

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I do particularly admire this photo, also, taken the same day at the Port of Tampa just before the President departed for Columbia. Now, I don’t know which agents were good, which were bad, and which were just sorta-good and sorta-bad. But now that we know these guys, behind the shades and under the suits, happen to also be regular red-blooded American men, it’s easy to imagine they’re looking forward here (maybe the bald guy with all the facial tension, particularly) to after-hours in Cartagena.

(photo 1: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images caption: US President Barack Obama (L), surrounded by US Secret Service agents, walks to greet guests upon arrival on Air Force One at Tampa International Airport in Tampa, Florida, on April 13, 2012. Obama arrived in Tampa to speak at the Port of Tampa, before continuing to the Summit of the Americas in the Colombian city of Cartagena. photo 2: Joe Raedle/Getty Images caption: U.S. President Barack Obama (blue shirt) surrounded by Secret Service agents walks away after a visit to the Port of Tampa on April 13, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. The President, on his way to the Summit of the Americas in Colombia, used the visit to emphasis small business trade with countries in Latin America.)

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