I generally enjoy Bill Maher, but this time…I’ve gotta step back and disagree with his words.
On Thanksgiving, some set themselves to chill, deciding to at least try to not fight with their relatives they may not agree with. And then there are people like Bill Maher. In an interview on Larry King Now posted Thanksgiving Eve, the political commentator and HBO figure responded to controversial comments he made last weekend, where he used the death of Marvel legend Stan Lee to smear comic book fans. And, in the spirit of our ceaselessly pugilistic times, he of course decided to, as jerks say, double down.
“Talk about making my point for me,” Maher told King. “Yeah, I don’t know very much about Stan Lee and it certainly wasn’t a swipe at Stan Lee…I am agnostic on Stan Lee. I don’t read comic books. I didn’t even read them when I was a child. What I was saying is: A culture that thinks that comic books and comic book movies are profound meditations on the human condition is a dumb f—ing culture. And for people to, like, get mad at that just proves my point.”
A refresher or a catch-up for those coming in late: Last weekend, the host of Real Time with Bill Maher wrote a blog post, entitled “Adulting,” in which he targeted those grieving for the co-creator of Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Blank Panther, and countless more.
“Now, I have nothing against comic books — I read them now and then when I was a kid and I was all out of Hardy Boys,” he explained. “But the assumption everyone had back then, both the adults and the kids, was that comics were for kids, and when you grew up you moved on to big-boy books without the pictures.”
He concluded by blaming comic book readers for paving the road for Donald J. Trump’s presidential ascendency by dumbing down the culture, not, say, by coarsening the discourse by doing things like attacking comic book nerds days after the death of one of its kings.
As you can imagine, this didn’t sit well with the internet’s massive superhero contingent, especially coming mere days after Lee’s death. Nor did it sit well with the man’s team at POW! Entertainment. They released a lengthy statement, calling Maher’s comments “disgusting” and implored him to see that they were more than childish entertainment.