Patton Oswalt is living through something no one wants to experience. One year ago, he lost his wife, Michelle McNamara, due to the combination of prescription medication and an undiagnosed heart condition neither she nor he was aware of.
On the one-year anniversary of her death, the comedian and former King of Queens player, took to Facebook to open his heart to his 645,000+ followers at the social media site.
In a post headed, “It’s awful, but it’s not fatal,” Oswalt shares what happened on the day of April 21, 2016, when he came home from taking his daughter to school to discover “the life I knew was gone.”
— HelloGiggles.com (@hellogiggles) April 23, 2017
For the last year, Patton has tried holding it together for daughter Alice but acknowledges that it has been a difficult journey. So difficult, in fact, that he did not even take off his wedding ring until the night before the one-year.
Oswalt said it felt “obscene” to continue to wear it, like it was denying the situation that he is now in.
“That anonymous poem about the man mourning his dead lover for a year and a day, for craving a kiss from her ‘clay cold lips.’ I was inviting more darkness. Removing the ring was removing the last symbol of denial of who I was now, and what my life is, and what my responsibilities are,” Oswalt said.
While most of the comments to his post have drawn wide praise and sympathy, this is the internet and Patton is a man of opinions, so it was only a matter of time before he attracted the wrong type of commenters.
Two in particular on TheWrap’s coverage of the Patton Oswalt blog post stood out. “This unfunny untalented slob needs to go away. He is repulsive like the lame Rory Feek,” a reference to the widower and collaborator of country star Joey Feek, who died of cancer last year.
“This unfunny untalented slob needs to go away. He is repulsive like the lame Rory Feek,” a reference to the widower and collaborator of country star Joey Feek, who died of cancer last year.
A second commenter chimed in.
“Okay, dude… you’re in pain… we get it. This continuing to whine about it in public is getting to be old hate (sic), man. I saw this and said to myself… ‘still?’… ‘again?’… is ‘this dude still doing this?’ I feel for you, man… but not because you lost a love (sic) one. We’ve all been through that and many of us will be again. I feel for you because you seek public attention for your misery which is worse then the misery (sic) of losing someone… sharing is good… sharing and sharing and sharing and sharing is not so good. Just sayin’… hope someone you know tells you this. For your own good as well as the public’s.”
Internet trolling like this is common for celebrities going through difficult times, but it is also quite common for the average person.
A Time article from August 2016 entitled, “How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet,” journalist Joel Stein, referring to a Pew Research Center survey, notes that “70 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds who use the internet had experienced harassment and 26 percent of women that age said they’d been stalked online.”
Furthermore, a study from 2014 in Personality and Individual Differences revealed five percent of internet users self-identifying as trolls “scored extremely high in the dark tetrad of personality traits: narcissism, psychopathy, Machiavellianism and, especially, sadism,” Stein adds.
The anonymity of the internet is believed to be the trigger that leads to behavior like the kind now being aimed at Patton Oswalt.
A beautiful friend
She opened up her heart and let me in… pic.twitter.com/YdqevJ2UiS
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) April 21, 2017
How about you, readers?
Have you ever been trolled over something inappropriate? How did you handle the situation? Sound off in the comments section below.