Good post, I actually burst out laughing at the bit bold.
As crass as it was I've come to miss the days when the death of a celebrity was an immediate opportunity to make tasteless jokes about them. I didn't hear a single one about George Michael despite there being plenty of easy material to work with, just excesses of cloying false-sentiment among people trying to portray themselves as more sympathetic and sensitive than everyone else in the mistaken belief that others would think more highly of them for it.
Attenborough will be widely mourned when he dies because the nature of his work is uncontroversial and almost universally adored, unlike creative artists whose work can be inspiring to some and obnoxious to others. He's also still a cornerstone of some of the BBC's finest content, unlike the ageing celebrities whose careers effectively ended decades ago. His longevity also appeals him to people of all ages, everyone grew up with Attenborough, he's been a household name for so long, a bit like Murray Walker but working in a field with broader appeal.
I think 2017 could be Stephen Hawking's year, if he survives next year rumours will surely abound that he's invincible.
Thing is, while online socialising has become increasingly part of life, it's also become a much more sterile and paranoid environment than face to face ever was. If you're with your mates at the pub you can come out with some crass joke about George Michael the day he dies and get a couple of laughs because everyone there knows you're just having a joke. But online you're aware that a comment to your mates could even end up on the news, with your character being smeared as bigoted by thousands of losers on the internet who can't wait to join the tsunami of faux-moralism. Hell, the outrage could even pressure the police into investigating as has happened with tasteless jokes in the past. It's only a matter of time before this behaviour spreads out of the internet becomes the norm in general isn't it? Or at least until it gets so bad that loads of people want to change politics so much that they'll even vote in a leader who says all kinds of genuinely outrageous s*** without ge- oh. Oh.