This twitter thread by Catherynne Valente gets it pretty much right:
Last night, Bill Maher went on a rant about comic books & those who love them & the generation (it rhymes with Schmelennials!) that uses words like #adulting & doesn’t want to give up the things they loved as kids or grow up
Well my name is Miss Valente & I got something to say
First of all, Mister Bill Maher, I’m not sure how smugly bloviating, smoking pot, and screwing people way too young for you is any more mature than reading comic books but okay buddy. Secondly, I’m not even going to get into the literary merit of comic books. Some are great art. Some are ridiculous trash. Kind of like every other genre & medium out there. It’s not worth discussing as it’s obvious on the face of it that adding pictures does not subtract value. I want to say this.
Do you know why millennials “refuse to grow up”?
Because we finally figured out that the whole idea is bullshit designed to suppress human joy enough to keep them grinding for an uncaring company for 50 years in unhappy marriages until death is a mercy. The reason my generation still plays in ball pits & reads comic books & plays dress up is that contemporary society has made most of the good parts of adult life financially unreachable: home, family, travel, even theater is $500 a ticket
All that’s left is the crushing despair! In the vacuum left by the loss of reachable life goals, we 80s kids kind of figured: fuck it.
Why the hell should we give up what is good & joyful & rich of the art & accoutrements of childhood in exchange for a yawning grey void? How was that ever considered a fair deal? What Maher and his peers cannot understand is that even their generation returned to the beautiful well of childhood—to share it with their own children.
The problem is, many in my generation cannot afford to have kids, or must wait until very late. You are not superior because you collect items from the Sharper Image catalogue rather than Comic Con. You have just allowed what others think of you to dictate a narrow range of joy you are allowed to experience.
Unless you really love $5000 massage chairs I guess. Adulthood has always been a trick played on the whole of humanity. Convincing us to give up magic & beauty & fun for their own sake in exchange for our labor & loyalty to whatever boss is going around
Only recently has society become decentralized enough to re-examine the terms
When complaining that millennials refuse to grow up, it might behoove the media to stop referring to 35 year olds as though they’re hapless children who don’t know what’s good for them. Companies will give us nothing but a company store. Governments sell out to each other and burn the planet. Markets offer no safety. There is almost nothing left of our parents’ world.
So read a fucking comic book if you want to, life is so heartbreakingly brief. Maybe, just maybe, consider the idea that the millennials got this one right.
It was always a bad deal that only benefitted the masters.
You get one life on this rock. Why in the hell would you give up something you love just because you got old enough to really appreciate it? Give us back the social contract, make the hallmarks of adulthood remotely reachable for us, and maybe we’ll consider putting down the comics.
Probably not, but we’ll have a house to read them in.
Boomers like Maher who reflexively dunk on the young, who have been fucked out of many of the social benefits that boomers take for granted, deserve this and more.