Bill Maher, America’s very own Piers Morgan, offended a large chunk of the public on Saturday. What did he do this time? He insulted comic book readers mere days after the passing of Stan Lee, the Marvel god and co-creator of any number of superhero icons.
It was Lee’s death that prompted the comments, which didn’t appear on Twitter or on his show but on the Real Time with Bill Maher blog, which is still a thing in 2018. In a post entitled “Adulting,” he wrote, “The guy who created Spider-Man and the Hulk has died, and America is in mourning. Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess.”
The political commentator, who regularly draws the ire of both the left and the right on a show that has remained on HBO for 16 seasons, went further, using the death of a prolific innovator to rail against what he saw as the infantilization of society:
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. 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.
But then twenty years or so ago, something happened – adults decided they didn’t have to give up kid stuff. And so they pretended comic books were actually sophisticated literature. And because America has over 4,500 colleges – which means we need more professors than we have smart people – some dumb people got to be professors by writing theses with titles like Otherness and Heterodoxy in the Silver Surfer.
He concluded by blaming people who went to see Ant-Man and the Wasp on opening weekend for destroying the country: “I don’t think it’s a huge stretch to suggest that Donald Trump could only get elected in a country that thinks comic books are important.”
The severity of his remarks, combined with their timing, have not sat well with the nation’s other commentators, i.e., those with Twitter accounts. Earlier this week, people roasted Armie Hammer after he made sarcastic remarks, for which he has since apologized, about celebrities and plebeians posting old photos of themselves with Lee. Now imagine what they’d say about someone who’s longtime close friends with Ann Coulter.
Among Maher’s detractors was one of the finest authors of highbrow comics himself, Neil Gaiman:
Another one pointed out that he was in an Iron Man Three deleted scene:
Others were simply mad or amused or both.