Gene Wilder and grieving in the digital age: Why we mourn the famous, and in such a public way
On Monday, the news of Gene Wilder’s death provoked a swift-moving, digitally enhanced river of emotion. Tweets of grief, admiration and gratitude rose like a cloud of sparrows startled from a field; media platforms of every sort were stacked with tributes. Facebook filled with video clips and favorite lines — “Put. The candle. Back.” Whether in an office or an airport, Americans paused over their screens to call up scenes from “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein,” listened to “Pure Imagination” on repeat.