Writer Totally Nails Why Millennials ‘Refuse To Grow Up’ In Viral Thread

Bill Maher invited hearty social media backlash over the weekend after he doubled down on previous comments made denouncing Stan Lee and comic book fan culture.

“To every person on social media who’s asked me since November, ‘Bill, what do you have to say about Stan Lee?’ – and to every paparazzi outside a restaurant who’s still shouting at me, ‘Bill, what about the Stan Lee thing?’ Okay. Your day has come,” said Maher on Real Time.

“You can, if you want, like the exact same things you liked when you were 10, but if you do, you need to grow up. That was the point of my blog. I’m not glad Stan Lee is dead, I’m sad you’re alive.”


Maher then launched an attack on actor/comedian/writer/comic book fan Kevin Smith, explaining that “if someone says you’re being childish and you react by throwing a tantrum, you’re not Iron Man — you’re Irony Man.” My shot wasn’t at Stan Lee. It was at, you know, grown men who still dress like kids.”

(These comments only serve to compound Maher’s continued and somewhat befuddling attack on comic books; After Marvel legend Stan Lee died last year, Maher published an essay titled ‘Adulting’ in which he wrote, “America is in mourning. Deep, deep mourning for a man who inspired millions to, I don’t know, watch a movie, I guess.”)

The comedian’s comments were meant to incite, and incite they did. But a poignantly-written Twitter thread by writer Catherynne Valente broke down in no uncertain terms why Maher’s belief that comic book appreciation equals a refusal to grow up is both misguided and flat-out mistaken.

Valente first delivered some well-deserved burns, calling out Maher’s habits of smoking weed and having sex with young women and asking how that is “any more mature than reading comic books.”

She brushes aside arguments about comic books not having literary/artistic merit by noting how every genre has its trash and its genius.

Valente then goes into the crux of her argument: Why millennials “refuse” to grow up.

Mainly: we’re broke.

We’ve figured out that if traditional goals aren’t reachable for our generation, we may as well do what makes us happy.

Valente frames the notion of success as having the freedom to pursue your individual version of happiness.

Our parents’ world doesn’t exist anymore. So we find happiness where we can, because “life is so heartbreakingly brief.”

Valente’s thread resonated with many who turn to comics, games, and “childlike” hobbies for joy, leisure, and creative expression.