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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Opinions of a Pencil-necked Weasel-thief...


I'm now home, to Spring and dogs. Had a wonderful time with Ben Folds, Damian Kulash from OKGo and Amanda Palmer making the #8in8 project, which as of 3 days ago has raised over $21,000 for Berklee City Music, bringing access to music to inner city kids in Boston. Given that the minimum donation is $1, I think we've got a lot of people downloading the 8in8 music, and it is doing good things, and for that I thank you all.

If you haven't checked it out, here's a player for the songs and a link to the website. (The one I sing on is the last song, The Problem With Saints, but they're all wonderful, and Amanda, Ben and Damian sing on the other five.)



Here's one of the many wonderful videos people have made for the songs. This one is gloriously funny.




Also a huge thank you from me to all of you who donated to RAINN, who met and exceeded their fundraising goals in April, and told me that the signed posters from Neverwear were a really popular donation incentive. (This is a good thing to know for future such fundraisers.)

...

SEMI-POLITICAL BIT

Lots of my readers are Republicans, just as lots of my readers are Communists, Socialists, Anarchists, Liberals, Greens, Democrats, and supporters of political parties that Americans can't quite understand, like LibDems and Tories and Monster Raving Loony Party such. I'm not a particularly political animal -- if there was a party whose main platform was being nice to people, freedom of speech and supporting libraries I'd sign up for it, but mostly I try and vote, when I vote, which is in the UK by postal ballot, for the person whose politics I dislike the least, and who does the most good for the area s/he represents. Beyond that, I work hard for things like the CBLDF, alongside people of all political hues and stripes for the common goal (in this case, supporting the First Amendment for people who make, sell, publish or read comics).

So it was with a certain amount of surprise I discovered this morning that I'm on the majority leader of the Minnesota Republicans's Hate List. His name is Matt Dean, and he has a thing about my neck.

This surprised me. Until this morning I didn't know that Matt Dean existed. I had never thought about his neck.

Matt Dean, on the other hand, has been giving a lot of thought to me. During a debate on cutting money for the arts, we learn that,
Dean said that Gaiman, "who I hate," was a "pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota."


(He was referring to the events of this - http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2010/05/political-football-in-teacup.html. Read it first.)

I've had reporters phoning me up all morning, wanting to know what I thought about this. (Although not ones from the Star Tribune, interestingly. Although there's a great Star Tribune Blog about it.)

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.

And also I think that if you're a Republican in Minnesota, and you read my books or my blog, you could do worse than tell Matt Dean what you think of this kind of bullying schoolyard nonsense from someone who's meant to be representing you. Honestly, it makes you all look bad. Here's a page with his details. It has an email address, his office address, and it even has a photograph*.




* (I would not be human if I didn't admit that I looked at his neck in the photograph, to see if it was as mighty and bull-like as I felt he had implied, and that I might have been just a tiny bit disappointed.)



...



I display my neck, pencilly or not, to the world in this picture.

It's from Allan Amato's ILLUMINATE PARKINSON'S Kickstarter. He's raising money for a travelling photographic show and book that will then go on to raise money and awareness for Parkinson's Disease. I signed up to support it, as well as having my photo taken. You should check it out.

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