It’s big news today that the lovable, baby-faced comedian/actor/nerd Patton Oswalt wrote a “Twitter rant” about how much people get outraged by arbitrary things. Read that rant here.
His rant was in response to a very recent, arbitrary event that made a lot of people outraged. This event was that comedian Trevor Noah is going to be replacing Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show.
Of course people had questions about Trevor Noah, who is not exactly a high-profile comedian in this country. But instead of reasearching and learning about him, here’s what people did: they scanned his Twitter account and recited some dumb jokes of his from as long as 6 years ago.
It’s completely ridiculous that a person’s entire being was relegated to a few weak Twitter jokes (especially considering that there are FOUR tweets that have people outraged, and Trevor has written OVER NINE THOUSAND tweets in total). If you follow any comedian on Twitter, you know that Twitter is their go-to place to try out their newest one-liners and zingers. Every comedian has terrible jokes on Twitter. Most comedians have a lot of good jokes on Twitter too, but of course no one cares about that part. Being fair or compassionate to another human being is not the norm of our society.
People were scrolling years back into Trevor’s Twitter history just to find something to get angry about. If you are that determined to be angry, then of course you will get angry.
Many comedians responded to the complete bullshit of how Trevor was being treated. The first person I noticed defending Trevor was one of my favorite comedians, April Richardson:
But then Patton Oswalt decided to write a full-on Twitter essay. 53 tweets. I won’t embed his essay into this post, but you should read it here.
Oswalt uses satire to explain how absurd it is that people allow themselves to get so outraged over insignificant things. He starts out with a really simple, bad joke, and then he dissects it word-for-word to explain how someone could, if they really wanted to, find something to get mad about in that joke.
Eventually he says, “Jokes should always entertain. EVERY SINGLE PERSON WHO HEARS THEM” which is obviously the opposite of the truth. Then he adds the brilliant, “A simple series of clarifying post-joke Tweets like the ones I just sent out will insure EVERYONE a gentle, comforting chuckle.”
When you have to write 53 tweets to apologize for every possible way that you might have been offensive in 1 joke tweet, then it defeats the purpose of even writing that 1 joke tweet.
Oswalt’s commentary on our society today was on fleek. In fact, it was so accurate that, as you might be able to predict, tons of people started bashing Patton Oswalt for his essay. Not any of the professional, successful writers who are publishing their work to well-known media outlets. Those people are all calling Oswalt a genius, and saying that he has “won” Twitter.
But it’s the mindless, senseless, everyday people, the very same folks that Oswalt was writing about, who have decided to express outrage over his essay. If you go on Twitter right now, or read any comments on any of the articles that have been written about his essay, you will see people judging Oswalt, writing the most degrading and insensitive things about him. Just like they were writing about Trevor Noah. Just like they will write about someone else tomorrow. And the next day. These people, certainly without even realizing it, have proven Oswalt’s words to be the truth.
Misery loves company, and our whole society is a massive community of misery.
Here was my own mini Twitter rant when I saw this was going on: