I won’t mourn Stan Lee.
I’m looking at my bookshelf. On that shelf, there are fantasy novels. There is a volume of literary classics allegedly penned by William Shakespeare. There are a couple of science books (though the majority of those are in my Audible Library).
There is also a graphic novel called Watchmen. That graphic novel—comic book, rather—is the embodiment of my lack of sophistication.
I’m sure, by now, we’ve all heard about Bill Maher’s blog post—Adulting—and his subsequent interview with Larry King about his post’s claims. If you haven’t at least read the post, do so. It’s enlightening.
Bill Maher—famed talk show host, comic, and blogger—suggests that Americans spend too much time on stupid stuff and have a problem giving up childish things. Also, paying car insurance isn’t ever a life-altering struggle.
He’s right, of course. Comic books are childish things. There is no sophistication in the illustrations of bigotry, domestic violence, criminal activity, or the failures America’s own justice system. Why? Because there are pictures. There are people with superpowers. If I’m continuing Maher’s line of logic, I’d have to suggest that anybody paying money to take a trip to the Vatican to view a painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is ultimately childish. The Last Judgment is, after all, a picture some dude painted centuries ago depicting the fantastical notion of Man being judged by a deity that is more likely than not to be totally made-up.
I want to follow Maher’s example. I’m not going to mourn Stan Lee because the only real impact he had on my life is convincing me to spend money I could have used on my insurance payment watching another black guy in a catsuit fight to save his mythical empire from the colonialist impulses of Westerners and their all-too-willing pawn (who turned out not to be so much a pawn). Sure, Mr. Marvel and his colleagues didn’t teach me anything. What could I have learned from comic books? It’s not as if there are stories detailing American fear during the Cold War. There aren’t any stories about how America and the world at large still struggle with racism, bigotry, warfare, persecution of minority groups, the subjugation of women, or anything else that could be said to be real adult problems.
No, I’m going to give my life to more sophisticated pursuits, like listening to NPR and drinking a glass of Scotch whilst indulging in the myriad economic and political problems to which talking heads on Real Time with Bill Maher pay lip service. And since I already listen to NPR, I’m two-thirds of the way there.
I’m not going mourn Stan Lee. I’m going to reduce Lee to just some guy who told decent enough stories for children from time to time and had no real impact on American culture. And whatever impact he did have, I’ll just attribute that to Americans wasting their time on stupid stuff.
I think I’ll give up that “Watchmen” comic. There is no value in entertaining psychological, anthropological, philosophical, religious, or social studies conducted by those wasting their time and intellect studying comics. That’s really just some millennial fad undertaken by people who aren’t serious students or serious professors.
While I’m at it, I’ll forget the death of Richard Pryor, one of my favorite comedians. I’m swearing off comedy, stand-up or otherwise. I will no longer pay for my cable service or HBO Now just to watch Bill Maher make jokes because, you know, joking is childish, and I have a car insurance bill to pay–adulting which I shouldn’t have to struggle through despite my being 1000x less wealthy than Bill Maher.
Bill Maher is right. I won’t mourn Stan Lee. I won’t spare a thought considering Lee’s contributions to literature and art. And when it’s Maher’s time to go, I won’t mourn him, either. I will not waste my intellect on stupid stuff, like comics.