Matt Dean vs. Neil Gaiman

Minnesota House Republicans are attempting to change the way culture groups in the state receive money from the Legacy Fund. It’s a special fund generated from sales tax, and is intended to be used to help promote the arts in the state. Republicans want the various groups in the state to compete with each other for the money.

House Majority Leader Matt Dean has pointed to the $45,000 payment of Legacy money writer Neil Gaiman was paid for a four-hour appearance last year at a Minnesota public library as evidence that the way the money is doled out needs to be changed.  Not only does Dean not like to see tax dollars spent on wasteful things, he has some real personal hatred for Gaiman. He said Gaiman was a “pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota.”

Ouch.

Something tells me House Majority Leader Matt Dean isn’t a big fan of The Sandman or American Gods. Maybe his kids forced him to take them to see Coraline.

Though I agree spending $45,000 generated from a regressive sales tax on a four-hour author visit to a public library is a colossal waste, I don’t see the value in calling anyone names.  I just don’t see how this help’s Dean’s cause. I think Dean has a point, but that point gets muddled when he starts calling people names.

Say what you will about Neil Gaiman accepting $45,000 to appear at a public library, but it wasn’t his idea. Librarian Patricia Conley recruited Gaiman to speak at the library. Chris Olson, executive director of the Metropolitan Library Service Agency, is the one that agreed to pay Gaiman’s exurbanite appearance fee.

If Matt Dean wants to call anyone names, maybe he should focus on his fellow Minnesotans that were actually responsible for how the $45,000 was spent, not Gaiman.

Rick @ Bentcorner.com

I'm originally from southern California, but western Maryland is my home now. This is my blog. It's where I write about whatever I feel like writing about, when I feel like writing.

You can follow me on Twitter. I promise I'll follow you back.

4 thoughts on “Matt Dean vs. Neil Gaiman”

    1. Actually, Gaiman’s response can be read here:

      http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2011/05/opinions-of-pencil-necked-weasel-thief.html

      I think it’s interesting that Gaiman is now claiming he received only $33, 600 in tax payer money when it’s public record that he received $45,000. When defending yourself against the charge of weaselism, it’s important not to fudge the numbers. Though his net may have been “only” $33, 600, the remainder went to his agent and taxes.

      That’s what you do with income, you pay taxes.

      1. Dean accused Gaiman of stealing 45k. Gaiman walked off with 33,600 which he donated to charity. He didn’t take a cent from that gig. Donation was done long before Matt Dean even heard about this whole thing. What he was PAID though, as a matter of public record, was 40.000, not 45.000 *. So if mr. Dean wants to accuse people of “weaselism”, as you put it, he shouldn’t be fudging numbers himself.
        What is especially interesting here is that mr. Dean accuses Gaiman of stealing, but has no problem accepting donation money from criminals. That, I guess is fine. *1
        And last thing. Republicans keep talking about market economy and how goverment should not interfere in our market. Neil Gaiman’s stated price for appearances is 40.000$. Quite a lot of money, yes, but he is one of most popular living authors today and can command such a price. Lot of people pay it, happily. And I think that if Sarah Palin can get 100.000 for a speech, Gaiman is underpaid. So why is Republican accusing Gaiman of stealing, when Gaiman simply accepted money that was offered to him, by his market rate?

  1. No, Neil Gaiman was paid $45,000. It’s been documented over and over again that the fee requested by Gaiman for the talk was $45,000 and that’s what the library paid him.

    Also, if he had donated all the money like he said, he would have paid zero dollars in taxes. When you donate money to a charity, you don’t have to claim that money as taxable income. He may have made a donation, but I think the fact that he paid tax on at least some of the money shows that he also made some income that day.

    And as far as the free market is concerned, this whole mess was about as far from free market as you can get. Only two people decided what the price would be: Neil Gaiman and librarian Patricia Conley. The people in attendance didn’t pay a dime. Conley was spending other people’s money in a very irresponsible and foolhardy way.

    That’s not free market economics.

Leave a Reply