Friday, May 6, 2011

In Which I Talk About Pencil-Necked Weasels

I'm back from vacation...if it can even be called a vacation. I'll be posting about my trip later on this weekend but today I want to talk to you about weasels. Specifically, the pencil-necked variety.

Having been on the endangered species list for several years now, a recent report proves what scientists have long feared--there is only one pencil-necked weasel left. It was spotted in Minnesota earlier this week, not by a scientist, but by a politician: Minnesota House Majority Leader Matt Dean (Rep.). Below is a rare photo of the last pencil-necked weasel:

That's right, everyone. Neil Gaiman, long thought to be a member of the human race, is actually Mustela pencilus-neckus. Who knew?

Not sure what I'm talking about? A few days ago (when I wasn't near a computer and therefore couldn't talk about it until now) I was checking Twitter on my phone and saw that Neil Gaiman had tweeted about being on Matt Dean's hate list. This is a link to an article from the StarTribune about how Minnesota's GOP is fuming over funding for such evil things as Minnesota Public Radio and the arts. I personally shudder at the thought of money being carelessly thrown at useless things like that so I'm glad that people are finally taking a stand against programs and organizations that enrich people's lives. How dare money be spent on music and books? What is this world coming to?

Among the people and organizations that Republicans, especially Matt Dean, are railing against is Neil Gaiman, who Dean called a "pencil-necked weasel." Dean also revealed that he "hate[s]" Gaiman (direct quote, folks). Tell us how you really feel, Matt.

Matt Dean: Fighting the Good Fight

Gaiman's huge crime against humanity? He received $33,000 (Dean claims that it was $45,000 and that it wasn't received but was, in fact, "stole[n]") for a speaking engagement, money which he promptly gave to charity. According to Gaiman's blog, there were two charities, "a sexual abuse one and a library/author one." We already know that Republican lawmakers hate things like libraries and that they think that sexual abuse is something from a fairy tale so I guess I can see why Dean would hate him so much.

Gaiman tweeted several times about the incident, including revealing that later that day Matt Dean actually (sort-of) apologized to him...because, get this, his mother made him do it. I can just imagine how that conversation went:

Dean: Hey, uh, Neil, can I, um, talk to you a minute?
Gaiman: Sure, Matt, what can I do for you?
Dean: (looking sheepishly at his shoes) I'm...I'm really sorry for a what I said. You're not a weasel and I shouldn't have said that.
Gaiman: Wow, um, what made you change your mind there, Matt?
Dean: (trailing a sneaker through the dirt) My mommy said that if I don't have anything nice to say I shouldn't say anything at all. (big pause) But I still think you stole money. And that you're a big doo-doo head.

Its a sad day in America when politicians can act like playground bullies. It's an even sadder day when talented authors have to defend themselves against childish name-calling.

Here's Gaiman on being a "political football", an MPR News article on the incident that includes the speech in question (scroll down to #2), and an article from the Huffington Post.

I apologize if this issue has been flooding your blog feeds but I haven't had a chance to talk about this yet and, as Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, I felt the need to get the word out there.



  1. I did actually see this on twitter. Good on Dean's mum for making him apologise. Goes beyond rediculous! For a start how immature must you be to have a hate list in the first place! Does he even realise that authors in general actually make very little out of their work. The publisher gets most of it. I wonder how much money Mr Dean makes and how much of it he donates to charity.

  2. Exactly. I don't think people (regardless of political party) realize how little any artist makes from his or her work. It's absolutely insane.

    To be honest, though, the whole thing made my trip more amusing. While we were driving back up North on Wednesday I would check Twitter every time we stopped at a rest area.

  3. Just came across this article on Gaiman's twitter >

  4. That is absolutely disgusting. I love how it's okay for Republicans to do what they want while everyone else has to "toe the line." I heard on the radio a few months ago that even though Republicans said they were against the bailout, they were some of the biggest recipients of bailout money. It's like they think the rules are different for them or something.

    I have a lot of Republican friends that I highly respect but I have no love for Republican politicians. I'll pick libraries over NASCAR races any day.

  5. The idea that a debate about which is more beneficial NASCAR or libraries is horrific. It's a real worry the priorities so many of the people in charge have today, it's almost enough to pack my books in a suitcase and go live in the woods!

  6. I'm thinking Canada. I don't really feel like living in a tent. :)

    Seriously, though, there's a lack of respect for education in this country and an over-abundance of entertainment. It's like we're amusing ourselves into idiocy. In some countries, a solid education is the most important thing you could ever have and teachers are treated with the respect they deserve. In this country, we give millions of dollars to sports stars and actors and everyone else has to scramble for what's left.

    It is unconscionable that our "leaders" would choose a set of priorities that benefit themselves while leaving their constituents stupid and uninformed. It doesn't surprise me, but it's unconscionable.