Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What does a $40,000 speech sound like?

You can find out by listening to one here. It was given by well-known author Neil Gaiman at the Junior High School in Stillwater, Minnesota back on May 27, 2010. Among other things Gaiman wrote the 2002 fantasy/horror novella Coraline that was made into a movie in 2009.

When I think of junior high school, I also think of the Boy Scouts, and the following joke:

What’s the difference between the State Legislature and the Boy Scouts? The Boy Scouts have adult leadership!

His speech was part of the Club Book program organized by the public libraries in the Minneapolis - St. Paul metro area and paid for with state Legacy Fund money. You might ask how I found out about that speech. Well, this May the Republican Majority Leader in the state House of Representatives, Matt Dean, took violent exception to Mr. Gaiman’s fee, and called him a:

“pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the State of Minnesota.”

Mr. Dean’s mommy told him to apologize, so he did, just like back in junior high school. Press coverage of the resulting spat has included both the local Minnesota Star Tribune and Minnesota Post, and both the New York Times and the Guardian (UK).

Mr. Gaiman defended himself in his journal both last year and this year, and on Twitter. Mr. Dean got his 15 minutes of fame, but probably made a bunch of new enemies, some not old enough to vote - yet.


Rich Hopkins, Speaker, Author, Coach said...

I remember reading Gaiman back when he was 'just' a comic book guy writing Sandman 20 years ago. He and Alan Moore changed comics, and the potential for illustrated storytelling forever.

Richard I. Garber said...

One famous quote from Sandman is:

"Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands maybe."

It has been illustrated in an Xkcd cartoon.