Patton Oswalt Responds To Public's Strong Reaction To Him Getting Engaged 15 Months After His Wife's Death

Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic.
Patton Oswalt wasn't surprised to the public reaction to his engagement – he's a regular Twitter user, after all.
Oswalt's first wife, crime writer Michelle McNamara, died in her sleep in April 2016. McNamara had a health condition she didn't know about that caused blockages in her arteries. Combined with medications she was taking, the effect was lethal, Oswalt explained in a statement in February.
In July 2017, Oswalt and Meredith Salenger got engaged. Oswalt discussed their engagement in an interview with Vulture published Monday — and he's not surprised that not everyone expressed happiness at the news.
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When Vulture's Matt Zoller Seitz asked Oswalt if he was surprised by people's reactions, the comedian had a pretty fitting response. "No, I wasn't surprised at all," he told Seitz. "Have you heard of this thing called Twitter?"
Oswalt also explained that he and Salenger talked about the potential social media backlash before announcing their engagement. "It was what I suspected. And then I had my suspicions confirmed," he said of the public's reaction to the news.
The comedian also offered a theory about why strangers on social media might feel the need to weigh in on his love life.
"There's no one listening to them. It's really sad. You see these anonymous accounts, and you realize no one listens to them on even a one-on-one basis," Oswalt told Seitz. "It's that thing where you feel like you're floating in this void and anything you can do to feel alive — even if it hurts you or hurts other people — you'll do it. It's like a social-media form of cutting. They want to feel something. It's really, really sad. You look at these lives, and they just don't feel anything. If they don't feel anything, then they will try to feel any feeling, good or bad. It's that whole soft-monkey syndrome."
If you're wondering what "soft-monkey syndrome" Oswalt meant, he explained that, too. He noted that in an experiment where babies were taken away from their mothers, they clung to whatever was warm.
A scroll through the comments on Salenger's Instagram post announcing the engagement reveals plenty of positive and congratulatory notes for the couple. Hopefully, the positive comments will overshadow the detractors from weighing in about other people's personal lives.
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