Neil Gaiman reading his poem Reading Instructions at Cody Books in Berkeley, 2007
I am a huge, gushy fangirl of Neil Gaiman. I was introduced to his graphic novels by an illustrator friend of mine and was just thunderstruck by them. Now I have an extensive library of Gaiman books. If he spoke at my library, I would actually consider camping out to hear him. But Minnesota Republican House of Representatives Majority Leader Matt Dean apparently doesn't find him as enchanting as I do. In fact, he is so upset at Gaiman that he called him a “pencil-necked little weasel.” What did Gaiman do to invoke such schoolyard insults from Dean?
“I woke up this morning and people sent me links to the story and someone quoted it on Twitter and I thought, ‘That’s mad, a real politician can’t have actually said that,’ and then I went to the article and read it,” Gaiman told Wired.com, still snickering at the thought. “I expected him to carry on [in] the article saying that I was a stupid stupidface and that he would be meeting with his friends behind the lockers.” ‘That’s mad, a real politician can’t have actually said that.’
Why the insult? Republican Minnesota House of Representatives Majority Leader Matt Dean called out The Sandman author Tuesday, saying Gaiman “stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota” for accepting money from a state arts fund to speak at a public library.
Gaiman responded Wednesday on Twitter, linking to a story in Minneapolis’ Star Tribune that reported Dean’s comments.
“Sad & funny. Minnesota Republicans have a ‘hate’ list,” Gaiman tweeted Wednesday. “Like Nixon did. I’m on it. They also don’t like capitalism.”
The comments came as the Minnesota House was discussing its Legacy funding, which goes to cultural programs like public radio. Dean told the Associated Press that, although it was legal for the fantasy writer to take the money, he found the payment “infuriating” and he wanted Gaiman to return the payment. (Wired.com’s message left with Dean’s office seeking comment was not returned.)
Gaiman, who noted he was a little dumbfounded as to why he was called a thief by Dean, said he received $33,600 for speaking at the library and he donated the funds to charity.
Seriously? This is the *best* use of Dean's time in Minnesota? As far as I can tell, that's the free market in action...if the marketplace supports these kinds of speaking fees for celebrated and award-winning authors, who is Dean to whinge about it?