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There’s been a lot written over the past couple of days about Minnesota House Majority Leader Matt Dean’s churlish, and childish, criticism of Neil Gaiman for accepting $45,000 from the state’s Legacy Fund to speak a year ago at a library. (Dean called the author a “pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota,” but has since apologized, at his mother’s urging, for the name-calling.)
However, my favorite take on the kerfuffle is this webcomic by cartoonist Evil Wylie. Titled “Neil vs. The Bully,” it parodies the old Charles Atlas comic-book ads while also depicting Neil Gaiman and Matt Dean in swim trunks. Check out the full comic at EvilReads.
Politics | Minnesota House Majority Leader Matt Dean has apologized for calling Neil Gaiman a “pencil-necked little weasel,” but contends the author and comics writer should return the $45,000 fee he received in May 2010 for speaking at the Stillwater, Minn., library (Gaiman donated the money, minus agents fees, to charity). Dean’s original remarks were made during a discussion of how the state’s tax-generated Legacy funds for the arts are spent. He was quoted as saying that Gaiman, “who I hate,” is a “pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota.”
Now, however, the Republican lawmaker has dialed back the rhetoric while standing by his underlying criticism. “My mom is staying with us right now,” he tells Minnesota Public Radio. My wife’s out of town, and she was very angry this morning and always taught me to not be a name caller. And I shouldn’t have done it, and I apologize.”
Gaiman, who responded to Dean’s initial comments early Wednesday on Twitter, has since expanded on his remarks on his website, writing in part, “I don’t like the idea that a politician is telling people that charging a market wage for their services is stealing.” [Minnesota Public Radio, Underwire]
Comics | A psychologist has been brought in to a Houston elementary school after a group of fourth-graders created a comic book allegedly depicting them holding a gun to the head of one of their classmates. [My Fox Houston]
Although the national spotlight is no longer on the controversial budget battle in Minnesota, the political climate remains heated.
As evidence, look no further than this Star-Tribune report about efforts by House Republicans to force arts and culture groups like Minnesota Public Radio — no surprise — and the Minnesota Zoo to compete for grants rather than receive special appropriations from the state’s Legacy Fund, which is generated through sales and use tax
Explaining why the state funding for the arts is undergoing scrutiny, House Majority Leader Matt Dean singled out $45,000 in Legacy money paid to author and comics writer Neil Gaiman for a four-hour appearance at a Stillwater public library in May 2010.
Dean is quoted as saying that Gaiman, “who I hate,” was a “pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota.”