What Future Historians Say Will Shock You | Real Time with Bill Maher | Transcript

On the eve of his book debut, Bill Maher ponders what historians of the future will say about the Americans of 2024.
What Future Historians Say Will Shock You | Real Time with Bill Maher

Real Time with Bill Maher
Season 22 – Episode 16
Original air date: May 17, 2024

On the eve of his book debut, Bill Maher ponders what historians of the future will say about the Americans of 2024.

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And finally, new rule: someone—maybe AI—has to figure out a way to slow down time. Because what everyone has been saying to me lately is, “I can’t believe it’s May.” Oh, Americans! We do nothing but bitch about everything under the sun, but damn it, life goes by too fast. It’s Memorial Day in a week? Christ, I might as well start my Christmas shopping. But it is, it’s May, a month I have been anticipating for a long time because my book comes out next week—a book I have waited my whole career to write. One that is based on collecting the creme de la creme of these end-of-the-show editorials and reimagining them, but also covers some virgin territory.

For example, I’m kind of obsessed with the idea of what historians of the future will say about us. Imagine it’s the year 3024, and you’re living in a colony on the planet Musk, formerly Mars. What will historians say about the Americans of 2024? Well, probably that we were self-absorbed, algorithmically enslaved, on drugs, and worshiped a god named Apple. But what they won’t do is write about the very thing that consumes us: our petty squabbles in the myopia of the present. Our partisan differences make each side believe they’re nothing like the other side—libtards and deplorables.

Historians will disagree. They won’t see red on one side and blue on the other. You’re thinking of Jaws 3D. But historians see the character of a people as a whole. The Scots were clannish, the Spartans stoic, the Mongols expansionist, the Greeks were too into anal. And for us, it will be no different. Historians will say we’re also too into anal. But also, they will see us as a singular people with the same pathologies and unappealing traits on both sides—traits that simply manifest themselves differently.

For example, I believe they will say Americans of our era were unscientific. One side thought climate change was a hoax, one thought gender was a construct. One waged war against Mother Nature, one against motherhood. One doubts evolution, one wears masks when they’re alone in the car. Just kind of like wearing a condom to jerk off. In medical schools now, professors are so fearful of being labeled transphobic they have to apologize for saying words like male, female, and pregnant woman. Katie Herzog writes some of the country’s top medical students are being taught that humans are not like other mammals—a species comprising two sexes. The notion of sex they are learning is just a man-made creation. Okay, but generally, the people with breasts and vaginas who give birth are the women, and the ones with the penis hogging the remote are men.

Historians will say that as a people, Americans lost our rationality. They’ll say we were conspiracy theorists. The right wanted to believe that Obama was born in Kenya; the left wanted to believe in Trump’s pee tape. We have January 6th truthers, but the Washington Post reports that there are also now October 7th truthers who believe Hamas never raped anybody and the hostages all died of natural causes. Now, does the right do conspiracy more? I think they do: QAnon and Jewish space lasers, Hillary’s pedophile ring, microchips in the vaccine, Sandy Hook didn’t happen, the election was stolen, Jews are trying to replace us. Yeah, but of course, on the left, Jews are the Nazis now. Somehow, even enemies always find a way to agree to blame everything on the Jews.

I think future historians will see us as a sad people, saddled with a genetic predisposition to always break into factions and then be consumed with the hate that engenders. Each side in America right now considers the other an existential threat to the point where both camps literally collaborate with foreign enemies over fellow Americans. Republican news channels use Russian talking points, their voters wear t-shirts that say “I’d rather be Russian than Democrat,” and their leader sides with Putin. When today’s Republican watches Rocky IV, they root for Ivan Drago.

Meanwhile, on the left, this happened: Americans chanting “Death to America.” College professors and their students exhilarated by aligning with a theocratic, murderous terrorist group with values fundamentally opposed to our own.

Finally, I think the people of the future will ironically be puzzled by our common desire to live in the past. On Fox News, they’re always pining for 1950—to make America great again. And in the Huffington Post, it’s always 1619, and nothing has changed. For people so into the moment, nobody seems to want to live in the year we’re living in. Trump’s entire shtick is to return America to some idyllic time when the traditional family was a husband, a wife, a couple of kids, and a porn star on the side. A time when America was the only superpower, and you could drink at work, when a cheeseburger cost a dime and a girl brought it to you on roller skates and she liked it when you complimented her ass. Nikki Haley says America was never racist. And then there are voices on the left saying racism has never been worse. And the normies in the center say, “How hard is it to meet in the middle and just not be stupid about shit?”

And that’s who my book is for: people who don’t want to be stupid about shit!


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