Patton Oswalt’s Twitter Feed Proves That We Need to Stop Yelling, Start Reading

Patton Oswalt


It is good to care about things. To come across as malfeasance of some kind and feel compelled to spring to action in an effort to rectify, or at least call out its flaws. But the hotheaded lot that we are — rich in passion, poor in attention span… you know, Internet users — might do well with a slower pace in our reactionary warfare. As soon as we see something that irks us, we are wont to shirk any benefits of the doubt or logicizing rationale, opting immediately for the far more gratifying black-and-white vantage point: I hate this. And I’m going to voice that hate. It’s a problematic methodology. One that results in gross misunderstandings and threats of arson. And while I would not presume that it was Patton Oswalt’s intention to highlight this panemic of short-fused judgment in the Twitter comedy routine he set forth on Saturday, I will allow him kudos for doing just that. Many of us, Oswalt devotees included, found ourselves culprits of big picture disregard.

If you follow Oswalt on Twitter, you might stumbled across tweets like these on the afternoon of Aug. 17 (NSFW):

Highly offensive stuff, all of it. Some fans of the progressive comedian felt there was something fishy going on, assuming that Oswalt’s messages were meants as some kind of nebulous satire. But others jumped right to accusation: the comic is a racist, a sexist, an anti-Semite, among other terrible things.

As such, tweets admonishing Oswalt came from all corners of the Internet, calling him out for the remarks to which we bore witness. But what about those we didn’t see? As our thirst for more things to hate is proverbially unquenchable, we headed straight to Oswalt’s Twitter page to see what other horrible things he’d been posting lately.

And that is when our goats were gotten. That rascal was up to something.

Oswalt wasn’t vying for a porhibition for abortion. Quite the contrary. The would be pro-life tweet was actually the second part of this pairing:

In fact, each of the above tweets was the misleading “second half” of a coupling that spouted the opposite ideology that users were accusing Oswalt of propagating. Behold:

We’d been had.

But in his scathing sociopolitical gags, Oswalt was most effectively pointing out a pivotal problem in the Internet generation’s behavior: we rarely take a step back. When faced with an issue, we often ignore the very idea of context and shoot for the throat in attack mode. Yes, it’s good to care that much, to be passionate about your beliefs, to be willing to fight for them. But it’s also good, and incredibly important, to be willing to find out the true nature of a situation before plunging into it headfirst.

Oswalt, you’ve done it again.

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