Minnesota State Representative Matt Dean tempted the wrath of aging goths the world over earlier this week. Speaking on a bill that would reduce access to arts funding in the North Star State, Dean called sci fi/fantasy author Neil Gaiman, creator of the essential goth comic The Sandman, “a pencil-necked weasel.”
Gaiman was paid a hefty, but not unheard of, sum ($45K according to Dean, $33K according to Gaiman) for an appearance at a Minnesota library. It’s one of the ways writers earn a living.
On his blog, Gaiman wrote:

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.

The story went from ridiculous to sublime yesterday when Dean apologized for the name-calling on Minnesota Public Radio (also targeted in his anti-arts crusade) at his mother’s advice. “She was very angry this morning and always taught me not to be a name caller. And I shouldn’t have done it, and I apologize.”
Moms are the best.