The Mystery of the Soldier in the Pink Boxers

What Women Really Think
May 21 2009 5:46 PM

The Mystery of the Soldier in the Pink Boxers

On May 12, the New York Times ran a photograph featuring a soldier in his underpants . The photo was eye-catching-I know it caught my eye-and appeared above the fold on the front page. The photo was taken by David Guttenfelder for the Associated Press , and its subject was Spc. Zachary Boyd of Fort Worth, Texas. But what made it a standout was that it was taken in Afghanistan, and Boyd was in his Army gear and brandishing a weapon but doing so in pink underwear. A few days later, an IT guy at the Times noticed that site visitors were searching for the usual subjects-"Obama," "India," and "cancer" among them-but there was something new, too: "pink boxers." As it turned out, they were looking for Boyd.

Lens , a wonderful new photojournalism blog the Times launched recently, has the story behind the photo that spawned the pink boxers searches .

Advertisement

"It had an impact on me immediately," [ Times editor Michele McNally] said. "Your first reaction is: 'What? What’s going on?' Because you are smiling-and then you realize its meaning. War never stops, look how intense it could get. You understand then that he is fighting out of uniform, in underwear which reads "I Love NY," in the midst of really rough terrain in a remote region so very far from home. And New York.

"And yet again, it calls up what mom said, 'Always wear clean underwear, you never know.' "

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.