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Public grieving over celebrity deaths is really a celebration of ourselves

Public grieving over celebrity deaths is really a celebration of ourselves

Even before most major news outlets confirmed that Prince had died, mournful posts began filling my timeline. First, there was denial: “No. No. No,” a friend tweeted. “Not Prince, god dammit, not Prince,” wrote another. The other stages of grief soon followed.

I scrolled past concert memories on Facebook. Instagram was full of stills from “Purple Rain” and, later, photos of Los Angeles City Hall, Niagara Falls and the Eiffel Tower lit purple. Prince's actual funeral was attended by just 20 close friends and family members. Online, millions of us mourned together.

The outpouring was sincere but also eerily...

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