For the first time in months, Bill Maher didn’t use his “New Rules” segment to grind an axe about “woke”-ness or something similar, or talk about something connected to current electoral politics. Instead he made a pretty good argument for why people should stop relying on online shopping: It’s doing massive damage to the environment and contributing to our increasing isolation from one another.
Of course, it is “Real Time,” which means during the latest “New Rules” segment, Maher did get some digs in at caricatures of “millennials” and “gen z,” but we’ll leave that for you to watch in the video, which is camping out at the top of the page right now.
The segment, called “Shop Making Sense,” Maher began, “since America’s such an incredibly f—ed up place right now, let’s scale back our goal of making it great again and settle for let’s just make the mall great again. Just start with that, and get a W.”
“Because online shopping is killing us. Psychologically, and environmentally,” Maher continued.
Maher noted that this isn’t the first time American’s have had a ton of options for mail order goods — there was the Sears catalogue for decades, which Maher said “was Amazon, just Amazon that never grew.”
Maher wondered why the Sears catalogue didn’t become what Amazon has now become more than a century, concluding “I don’t know, but lately I’ve been seeing a lot of stories about how isolated, and lonely people are, maybe it has something to do with that.”
“Marketplaces have always been the center of society,” Maher continued. “Yes, ours was a little tacky, but it was better than this,” Maher at this point referring to a pile of empty cardboard boxes.
“Turns out ordering online is way more eco-unfriendly than driving to the store ever was. How could it not be, considering that Americans now shop by the most inefficient means humanly possible: Since we can’t get off our ass and see how something feels, we order nine, and send back 8,” he said.
Maher spent some time jokingly talking about the way people used to shop — “they made these things called shopping lists” — which he contrasted to the online shopping model, “where robots, and people who are treated like robots” pack everything up in overly large, wasteful boxes.
Maher pointed out how few things are actually recyclable, and how much more energy and fuel is wasted bringing people their goods on a per-person, per place basis. He also talked about an unnamed cannabis vaporizer — “if you want the benefit of advertising, I have a podcast and the ad team would be happy to take your call,” he joked. — that has a phone app component.
Maher also dinged the fast fashion industry for its cheapness and the amount of waste, and then noted that the pandemic protocols have largely been relaxed across the country. Go out and play. Go to the mall. Our social skills are atrophying while we one-click ourselves into oblivion. Amazon’s in its prime, but you’re wasting yours,” he concluded.