Sometimes even the most mundane minutiae of daily life can hint at the occult forces that ordinarily hide behind the curtains. In this exciting and clearly unstaged photograph from way back in 1968, we see various middle-aged white men smiling as they hold a framed painting for our perusal. It, of course, is a rendition of our beloved earth-toned community, with a sylvan scene of pristine boaters out for an afternoon jaunt on Lake Anne serving as a highly evocative representation of clean living out in the rapidly-being-tamed suburbs of Virginia. Check it, as the kids today haven't said for decades:
All in all, a lovely, almost pastoral scene, although as part-time semioticians and full-time "web loggers," we'd argue the larger scene around the painting is the one crying out to be "unpacked." Who are these men holding the painting to the camera? Some are representatives of Gulf Reston, the real-estate arm of the oil giant which, at the time of this photo, had full control over Reston after casting Bob Simon aside. The others are from General Electric, who had "commissioned the painting for a calendar," presumably to go alongside equally representative images of happy nuclear power plant workers and missile silo technicians. Behind them is a tableau of maps and plans for Reston -- many of which show much larger buildings than what eventually came to pass. The overall effect is one of a war room, a war room in which members of the Military-Industrial Complex are hungrily carving up the spoils of victory. Pay no attention to the men behind the fancy painting, they seemingly say with their unspoken fixed smiles, and carry on.
Or maybe it's just a cheesy PR shot for a company newsletter. Hard to say.