Neil Gaiman, pencil-necked weasel??

May 5, 2011

Over the last few days, I have been reading posts on Galleycat about: Minnesota Representative Bashes Neil Gaiman.  Minnesota Republican House majority leader Matt Dean publicly criticed Minnesota’s House Legacy funding division for paying Neil Gaiman for a speaking engagement at a public library which was taped and played on Minnesota Public Radio.

 The legislator called the author  “pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota.”

Neil Gaimon on his blog responded:

What I think is,
1) It’s funny. Sad that this is the kind of thing that elected officials say in public, but still funny. It’s the kind of thing that you expect to hear at school from fourteen-year old bullies, before they tell you that they’ll be seeing you by the lockers with their friends, not what you expect to see from an adult.
2) It’s kind of nice to make someone’s Hate List. It reminds me of Nixon’s Enemies List. If a man is known by his enemies, I think my stock just went up a little.
3) I like “pencil-necked weasel”. It has “pencil” in it. Pencils are good things. You can draw or write things with pencils. I think it’s what you call someone when you’re worried that using a long word like “intellectual” may have too many syllables. It’s not something that people who have serious, important things to say call other people.
4) I don’t like being called a thief. I’m pretty sure that I know what thieves are and do. In this case, Matt Dean’s claiming that I “stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota”. (I’m not sure where the $45K number comes from. I just checked: I actually received $33, 600 from the Minnesota Library System for a talk that was then broadcast and is still up [look down to second section].)
I do not know whether this man is calling me “a thief” because:
A) I charged more than he’s comfortable with for a talk, or
B) People happily pay me a lot of money to come and give talks, or
C) He thinks I gave the talk wearing a stripy sweater to an audience of people who were there at gunpoint and afterwards took their wallets, or
D) He’s against the principles of the Free Market, and feels that governments should regulate how much people are paid to talk in public.
But for whatever reason, it seems kind of weird, and is a lie. (Yes, I gave the money to charities – a sexual abuse one and a library/author one, long ago, when the cheque came in, well before this ever became a political football. But that seems completely irrelevant to this: I don’t like the idea that a politician is telling people that charging a market wage for their services is stealing.)
5) I think that Minnesota has things it can be proud of – quality of life things, that make it really good to live in this part of the world. The things that have kept me out here for twenty years. One of the biggest things is it has really good Public Radio and a thriving, active, involved arts scene. It makes me sad to see people trying to crush or even diminish these as part of their political agenda.
Evil Wylie posted on  evilreads:
posting by Lorraine
Update from New York Times:   Matt Dean apologizes – his mom made him.
posted by Becky

4 Responses to “Neil Gaiman, pencil-necked weasel??”

  1. kelli Says:

    While I don’t blame Gaiman for taking money for services rendered (and I am a fan of his work): when the state of WI is broke and laying off public employees, and you could likely hire 2 part-time library staff for the amount stated (either the $33.6 or $45 k), I can see why someone who is charged with monetary stewardship would criticize.

  2. kelli Says:

    Alhtough why he’s blasting Gaiman, I’m not quite sure…

  3. Jim McCluskey Says:

    I suggest a steel cage death match with Gaiman and Garrison Keillor on one side and Dean and a doofus of his choosing to settle the matter.

    I wonder where Jesse Ventura stands on this nonsense.

  4. Eric Says:

    Way to go, Mom.

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