While virtually everyone on the planet was mourning the passing of Stan Lee for not only creating characters that inspired heroism in all of us but also for launching readers' life-long obsessions with reading, talk show host Bill Maher preferred to make the tragedy about himself by penning an essay about Lee being linked to the dumbing down of society. Kevin Smith, a friend of Lee's, avoided insulting Maher by reminding fans how much good the creator brought into the world.
"Just taking a shot when no shots are f-ckin' necessary," Smith shared on his Hollywood Babble-On podcast in response to Maher's dismissive comments. "And like, this guy, he did so f-ckin' much for this world. He put so many smiles on people's faces. He launched imaginations. He made kids feel part of something. He made adults feel part of something. He was a whole good. Everything about him was f-ckin' good. He was sweet, he was nice, anything you ever heard that was negative, honestly, was f-ckin' horseshit, made up. He was a great man, I'll miss him all of my days."
Maher is no stranger to being at the center of a controversy, with one of the first times he faced massive backlash stemming from comments he made about the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
Less than a week after the attacks, on his show Politically Incorrect, Maher described of the American response, "We have been the cowards. Lobbing cruise missiles from 2,000 miles away. That's cowardly. Staying in the airplane when it hits the building. Say what you want about it. Not cowardly." These comments resulted in ABC opting not to review his show for further seasons.
Last summer, Maher's attempt at a "joke" landed him in more hot water when he referred to himself as a "house n—-r" on his HBO program.
"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," Maher wrote in a blog post on the website for his show, Real Time, which kicked off the uproar. "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."
A subsequent appearance on Larry King Now attempted to not only serve as damage control for the situation, but he also reiterated his initial remarks.
"But talk about making my point for me: Yeah, I don't know very much about Stan Lee and it certainly wasn't a swipe at Stan Lee. Yeah, fine. I am agnostic on Stan Lee," Maher said. "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-cking culture. And for people to get mad at that just proves my point."
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