Neil Gaiman and the Invisible Hand
May 6, 2011 8:38 AM Subscribe
Neil Gaiman: "A pencil-necked weasel who stole $45,000 from the State of Minnesota".
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Minnesota House majority leader Matt Dean was moved to fury at the discovery that writer, comic book celebrity and Minnesota transplant Neil Gaiman received this sum for a speaking engagement at a Stillwater, MN high school.
Dean's outburst occurred in the context of discussions over the Minnesota House Legacy Funding Division, which assigns money to various public causes in Minnesota, and a move by the Division's panel chair, Rep. Dean Urdahl, to remove recommendations from the Legacy fund allocations, compelling organizations to compete directly for funding. This would potentially discomfit Minnesota's public TV and radio services, which currently receive funding from the the Legacy Funding Division.
Public funding for arts and cultural heritage projects came under the microscope of the new Republican majority, and Gaiman's apparently exorbitant speaking fee was cited as an exemplar of wasted public money. Those wishing to determine if it was worth the dollah can listen to it here
Gaiman's first response
explained the thinking behind his deliberately high speaking rates. His second
talks about the role of "pencil-necked weasel" as a piece of political language, and queries Republican objections to the invisible hand of the market.
Dean later apologised on Minnesota Public Radio
for the language of his plaint, although not the message, claiming that his mother had been angry at his terminology and told him not to be a name-caller.
Matt Dean is 45 years old.