Now it's happening with Nancy Reagan. No sooner was it announced that she died than the phenomenon of the six degrees of separation took hold in the media, establishment and social. Everyman and Everywoman were sharing their wonderful moments with the former First Lady.
The same thing, of course, took hold after United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia passed on. The legal media were jam packed with personal tribute. Somehow I have a hunch that their supposed intimate moments with Scalia consisted of shaking his hand after he delivered a speech at some conservative organization.
Not that this is new. When I was a freshman at a tiny rural liberal arts college so many faculty and classmates tearfully shared their personal relationship with John F. Kennedy. That was after he was murdered. An insecure first-generation college player I felt less-than. I had no idea that it was common to claim a six degrees of separation experience with brandnames.
The difference now is that the proliferation of media platforms multiplies that phenomenon exponentially. Reagan and Scalia had many more close associations than did Kennedy.