Observing this year's Oscar entrances, the WaPost's Amy Argetsinger writes that the red-carpet arrivals have become more central to stars' identities than the performances those arrivals supposedly honor:
"So the ritual of arriving somewhere -- of lighting up a place with their sheer presence, all that tragically underused charisma -- that's the performance these days."
Advertising imagery confirms her observation. Here are two ads that invite us to picture ourselves as stars. They show us pretty people in fine clothes but, above all, they suggest that we imagine ourselves as arriving some place special and being photographed as we do. The glamour of contemporary celebrity appeals less to the longing for beauty or riches--this isn't the Depression, no matter what the papers say--than to the desire for admiration, adulation, and love: the yearning to be recognized as important. Wouldn’t it be great to be like that?