Only President Obama’s celebrity could outshine his most ardent Hollywood supporters. Steven Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman, Jay-Z, JLo and Beyonce are just a few of the stars who fled the nation’s capital for today’s historic inauguration. And they weren’t the only ones: an estimated two million people swarmed the National Mall to hear Obama’s prosaic speech about remaking America.
Even Spielberg quipped, “I couldn’t afford to do this shot in a movie.”
The Telegraph notes the celebrity quotient as a distinction in how America celebrates:
Unlike a British coronation, foreign monarchs, presidents and prime ministers were not invited to the inauguration, in keeping with tradition, although ambassadors from around the world were present to represent their countries.
So while the Brits pride themselves on the stuffy, civilized nature of their politics, the presence of America’s celebrities evinces a thing or two about American cultural values. Yet irrespective of our celebrity worship, wasn’t it nice that for one day, we got to see our larger-than-life superstars as part of our collective American identity? Today their star power couldn’t outshine Obama’s, so they became, simply, citizens.