Patton Oswalt Liked A Thing. Let’s Mock His Grief

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So Patton Oswalt saw an early screening of the Ghostbusters reboot yesterday. Apparently, he liked it:

The reboot has been, um, controversial among fans, to say the least. So of course Oswalt was immediately subjected to the predictable ire of people who were deeply offended that he enjoyed a thing.

That’s to be expected, of course. But a Facebook friend of mine pointed out one reaction that was beyond the pale. This appeared on a DVD Talk forum, and, as of this writing anyway, is still there:

Ghostbusters - Patton Oswalt

In case you can’t see the photo, that’s a commenter who felt the need to bring the recent death of Oswalt’s wife, Michelle McNamara, into a conversation about a movie. Not only that, the poster questioned the legitimacy of Oswalt’s grief, and even seemed to imply that there was something fishy about McNamara’s death. Over a movie.

I’ll say it again: Over a movie.

Can we all agree that’s going a bit far? Actually, as my Facebook friend put it: “If your defense of your hatred of the new Ghostbusters is so extreme that you need to attack Patton Oswalt about his wife’s death because he tweeted that he liked the film, you are objectively a terrible person.”

I couldn’t agree more. There’s a dark side within fandom that sucks a lot of the joy out of loving the things we love — a dark side that says, “If you don’t agree with me, not only will I take it personally, I’ll make it personal.”

From doxxing Felicia Day to belittling Patton Oswalt’s grief, this kind of thing is becoming all too common, and the fan community needs to stand up to it. We need to make it clear that it’s not okay. And no, I’m not sure how or where to begin. But we need to keep the conversation going.

Ryan Smith
Ryan Smith is a writer and podcaster living in Denver. He is still angry at Fox for canceling "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr."


  1. Im a huge fan of Pattin, but NO ONE deserves that. Over a movie? Jeebus. Nerds used to be the ones picked on for what they liked…not picked on each other for liking different nerdy things.

    Comedy musicians the great Luke Ski and Insane Ian (aka, ME) have a name (and subsequently a song) about behavior like this. We call it, simply, Angry Nerds. (Forgive the shameless plus, but it seemed, somewhat, relevant)

  2. I agree with Mr. Smith here. I’ve been subjected to the darker side of fandom (and I’m NO celebrity). I will say this up front right now. I have never been a fan of the Ghostbusters franchise from the very beginning and actually like the Filmation animated series from 1986. Some people have told me to eat something unflattering (won’t say out of respect). What Patton Oswalt has tweeted was his own personal opinion of the movie. I don’t agree but certainly will NEVER go attacking him personally or go through his personal life. I like Patton as a person, and no matter his opinion, I still think he’s cool. Let him grieve over his wife in his own private time. Bringing it up against him is wrong on every level.

  3. Umm can we stop making news articles outta of a few trolls comments? Why must we give them a voice and credit? It’s so weird. Every time any creepy bored person writes a ridiculous comment 100 articles come out acting like its a “thing” instead of 10 “tweets” outta hundreds. Why keep giving voices to what’s really a few weirdos opinions….oh yeah Click bait! The truth is most people write kind, nice things. There’s more love than hate on my social media feed. So can we all just chill out?

    • Sadie, it has nothing to do with click bait. This is something I feel strongly about. It’s important to call people out when they’re abusive. In Oswalt’s case, this is just a jerk saying a terrible thing. In other cases, like Felicia Day, these idiots potentially put a human being in physical danger by publicizing personal information including home addresses. If you think that’s not dangerous, ask John Lennon or Rebecca Schaeffer. Ultimately, though, even when it’s just a jerk being a jerk, it’s not something people should just accept. It’s not too much to expect people to act like human beings.

  4. Just block and move on – I’m sure Patton knows that. I’ve been online since 1988 and there have always been sick people out there. The sickies, the attackers are just much louder these days.

  5. …… It’s never been okay – being ‘mean’ used to be something EVERYONE looked down on, rudeness was declasse, bullying was for the less intelligent/socially challenged. Our parents used to set standards of acceptable behavior. Then, one day – a child/actor in a sit-com talked back to the parent/actor with a mouthfull of food: and the laugh track played. Or, that time the movie told the story of how funny AND POPULAR it was to be the ‘mean girls’ – we’re conStanly bombarded with glorification of deplorable behavior – aka: Kardashians, anyone? Does anyone really become ‘famous’ millionaires by a ‘leaked’ sex-tape? Oh, that’s right – they DO….. If ‘We The People’ want decorum to return, then WE have to stop buying in to the TRASH! STOP REINFORCING that awful behavior is ok …. why are you watching ‘Real Housewives’ when not one of them is actually a homekeeper/housewife? Advertisers are paying money for you to accept that crap as ‘entertainment’ – and you buy the products supporting these shows, encouraging the cycle to continue. We’ve ALL been desensitized to the worst human behavior – YouTube videos of small children f-bombing the camera are rewarded with millions of views – where/how does it end? When WE STOP – stop ‘liking/sharing’ made-up memes full of lies on Facebook – stop using vulgar language when we disagree with another’s opinion – ask that racist/hateful/violent statements be removed from social media AS SOON AS YOU SEE IT. Unmask the offenders – hold your own presence in social media to a higher standard – why do we think these things will get better if we let someone ELSE ‘fix’ it?

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