American political commentator and comedian Bill Maher blames the rise of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States on superhero movies specifically 'the idea of waiting for one man (or woman) to rise up and save the world.
So while it may not have been in the greatest taste, his attack this week on the legacy of Stan Lee, who died on Monday, and those who mourn him, was at least consistent. He writes on his Real Time With Bill Maher blog,
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. And now when adults are forced to do grown-up things like buy auto insurance, they call it "adulting," and act like it's some giant struggle.
I'm not saying we've necessarily gotten stupider. The average Joe is smarter in a lot of ways than he was in, say, the 1940s, when a big night out was a Three Stooges short and a Carmen Miranda musical. The problem is, we're using our smarts on stupid stuff. 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.
Though thankfully ex-CIA operative and current writer of the Batman comic books for DC Comics, Tom King, to retort.
That would be the Spider-Man quote by Stan Lee 'with great power must come great responsibility', Stan's oft-quoted column about respect for diversity, Bill Maher hanging out with Donald Trump, and a quoted interview with Maher where he talks about how Trump makes a refreshing politician, calling him attractive and a genius.
One might have also pointed out the moment Bill Maher appears in a deleted scene from the Iron Man 3 movie, but maybe that would be just too much.