Minnesota Republicans, Funding for the Arts, and Namecalling
by Susana Polo | 1:47 pm, May 4th, 2011
[House Majority Leader Matt] Dean also singled out a $45,000 payment of Legacy money that was made last year to science fiction writer Neil Gaiman for a four-hour speaking appearance. Dean said that Gaiman, “who I hate,” was a “pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota.”
–The Minnesota Star Tribune, reporting on Republican attempts in the Minnesota Senate to do away with legacy funding for Minnesota Public Radio, the Minnesota Zoo, and the Council on Black Minnesotans.
You know what they say about when you can’t say something nice. Gaiman himself posted a larger explanation of the funding for that speaking event on his blog a year ago, and in a nutshell, it’s:
1. He prices his speaking events high because he does not have time to do very many of them, and pricing them high is a way of cutting down on the requests. Still, most of the speaking engagements he does do are done for charity.
So. I was asked if I’d come and talk at Stillwater, and be paid $40,000. I said, “That’s an awful lot of money for a little library.”
“It’s not from the library. It’s from the Legacy Fund, a Minnesota tax allocation that allows the library to pay market rates to bring authors to suburban libraries who otherwise wouldn’t be able to bring them in. They have to use the money now as it won’t roll over to next year and expires next month.”
3. He gave the money to charity.
Political objections to any of this aside… pencil-necked? Weasel? Mr. Gaiman’s a little to big to get shoved into a locker, methinks.