Reports that the politician has been sent to bed without any dinner have not been confirmed.
Minnesotan politician Matt Dean has apologized to author Neil Gaiman after calling him a "pencil-necked weasel," and accusing him of stealing $45,000 of taxpayers' money in the form of a speaking fee. Dean said that his mother had prompted the apology, after giving him a stern talking too about calling people names.
Gaiman - who has written books, movies, comics, and even an episode of Doctor Who - appeared at the Stillwater Public Library in May of last year. The money he received for his four-hour appearance had been specifically earmarked to get writers of Gaiman's stature to appear in local libraries. Gaiman accepted the fee - which was actually only $33,600 and would not have rolled over to the next year - and then donated it all to charity. Dean's comments about Gaiman were seemingly motivated by Dean's efforts to push through new legislation that would require arts and cultural programs to bid for their state funding. The same amount of money would apparently be available, but it wouldn't be earmarked for anything.
On his blog, Gaiman responded to Dean's comments, saying that they were the sort of thing he'd expect to hear from a 14-year-old high school bully, not from an adult, and certainly not from an elected official. "[They're] not something that people who have serious, important things to say call other people," he said. He was also a little playful with his response, however, saying that his stock had gone up with the acquisition of a new enemy, and that he liked the phrase "pencil-necked weasel," because pencils were so very useful.
He also asked his fans to make their displeasure at Dean's comments known, especially the people who had elected him. "I think that if you're a Republican in Minnesota," Gaiman wrote. "And you read my books or my blog, you could do worse than tell Matt Dean what you think of this kind of bullying schoolyard nonsense from someone who's meant to be representing you. Honestly, it makes you all look bad."
Dean then apologized for his remarks, amusingly enough on Minnesota Public Radio, whose funding would be endangered by Dean's proposed legislation. "My mom is staying with us right now because my wife's out of town," Dean said. "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."
It seems likely that Dean was worried about a potential political backlash after criticizing the well-known and well-liked Gaiman, although if that was the case, he could have come up with a better cover story. Let's face it, pretending to be a mommy's boy probably won't do much for his political credibility. Of course, he could actually have been told off by his mother, and if so, that's just too hilarious for words.
Source: Comics Alliance