Fighting with Patton Oswalt on Twitter is a terrible idea. The stand-up comedian arguably best known for voicing Remy the rat in Ratatouille is wickedly witty, and can cut down trolls and the egg-avatared with edgy rejoinders and sharp logic. He does it like a samurai, without breaking pace or blinking an eye. But, as Oswalt is not fan of Donald Trump and his fitful hateful followers, there are always impetuous challengers lining up to fall to the blade of Oswalt’s wit, foolishly attacking his politics, his career, or his beloved late wife. And all of these battles big and small have taught him a shocking and terribly true lesson about Trump supporters.
Oswalt posted on Facebook:
Well now, if I didn’t learn me a bunch of fascinating stuff today.
Last night, a Peoria, Illinois realtor Tweeted a nasty “@” mention to me. He’s a big Trump supporter. So I must’ve Tweeted something nasty about his guy, right?
I Tweeted out a very positive, very benign Tweet in support of Sally Yates, and her risky stand on principle, which cost her her job. The realtor’s response Tweet was along the lines of, “Oh, the nasty little troll has another opinion. Stick to show business and shut up.” I’m paraphrasing. Another person who hates my Twitter feed’s content who nevertheless follows me.
I Tweeted out something in support of someone. He reacted with immediate disgust and offense. Fine, whatever.
That was the first thing I “learned,” and it was something I should have noticed long ago, but it took awhile to sink into my thick-ass skull.
What I learned was that when I Tweet or Facebook negative things about Trump — comedic insults, mocking responses, etc.? Trump supporters will push back mildly, in that dismissive tone of, “Yeah, whatever. We won. Get over it.” It’s sour, but not vicious or threatening. It’s a disagreement. Which is fine.
But when I Tweet something POSITIVE, or HOPEFUL, in support of a group that’s been made to fear or doubt because of Trump and his ghoul brigade’s actions? A helpful link for peaceful action? Praising someone who speaks up eloquently against the smirking racism of Trump’s parking lot carnival of an administration?
THAT’S when the responses get violent, and threatening, and ominous. As if the language itself — the grammar of thoughtfulness — lands in their guts like glass shards. Empathy and understanding literally feel like an attack to them.
I Tweeted back an equally snarky response to Tony’s initial Tweet. It was late, I’d had a bad day, I was in an awful mood, and something about attacking someone who’s simply encouraging another human being landed wrong with me. He insulted me, I returned the insult. Moving on. Or so I thought.
THEN Peoria Realtor Tweeted out THIS little nugget, in response to someone Tweeting, “Everyone stop having opinions!”
“I’m a psychic and I’m channeling his wife’s opinions.”
HA HA! My wife’s dead. Zing!
Again, that was his FIRST go-to — this patriotic, God-fearing, father of two. Insult someone and, if they respond? Go after their dead spouse.
So I started trolling him. And I never even mentioned the shitty, dead wife crack. It’s not the first one the anime Nazis have sent my way. I’ve ignored every one of them (except for the ones Martin Shkreli farted out). I don’t want to give anyone the satisfaction.
But again, it was late, I was in a dark mood, and he caught me at the wrong time.
But my trolling focused ONLY on his comically pathetic Twitter feed. At his clueless attempts at hyping houses. His creepy in-the-woods selfies while hunting. I saw that other people were giving him shit about the “dead wife” joke. I figured it was going to blow up in the poor slob’s face without zero help from me.
In the morning, his account was gone. He’d closed it down (I assume). He’d also closed down his Facebook profile and professional page.
And then the realty company he worked for posted a message to their website about how Mr. Dead Wife Joke did NOT represent their company and that he was no longer employed by them.
And then the shit storm REALLY started.
Pro-trump accounts BOMBING my feed with “wife murderer Patton Oswalt” Tweets and “libtard cuck” Tweets and death threats and every variety of misspelled rage.
‘Cuz here’s the SECOND thing I learned.
The main thing that Trump supporters are excited about, now that he’s president? Is that finally, at LOOOOOONG LAST, all of the awful things they want to say, that used to lose them friends and jobs and marriages? They’re EXCITED about potentially getting to say them with ZERO repercussions. Just like Trump did. All the way into the White House. All the way into unlimited, forever power to spew any awful shit that comes to your head and no one dares correct you, rolls their eyes, or punches you in the nose.
But I’m afraid Peoria Realtor is going to the first in a long line of Trumpers who will realize, on the other side of firings and divorces and black eyes, that Trump’s Teflon Umbrella covers Trump and no one else.
His cabinet and staff are going to learn that as well.
That might be fun.
Try to be nice. As far as that goes.
I’ll be honest, even after months of trying to understand the mindset of a Trump supporter, after heated arguments with members of my own family, after reading countless “Trump Regrets,” this is the first time I’ve felt sorry for them. They “won.” But they’ll never be happy. They’ll never get the teflon coverage for their vicious tongues their hero has, because we won’t let them. They won the battle, but we fight the war everyday. And every day more join our side.