Friday, May 06, 2011

Oh! Oh! A Literary Fight!

Well, it's not a truly literary fight the way the Lillian Hellman/Mary McCarthy thing was, because Neil Gaiman was the only literary figure involved. And he wasn't really fighting, he was just laughing at the Minnesota politician who called him a "pencil-necked little weasel" because he accepted a payment from a Minnesota state arts fund for speaking at a Minnesota library. But the politician did say he hates Gaiman. And it was all very entertaining.

The question that arises for me (And I always have a question, don't I?--Oh! There's another!) is did Neil Gaiman hold a gun to someone's head and say, "Stand and deliver, your money or your life?" I understand that people involved with providing funding for organizations that engage speakers may not want to see a lot of their money going to any one individual speaker. (Gaiman was not poorly paid.) But isn't their issue with the organization's policies and not with the speakers who enter into contracts with the organization? The organization did not have to hire Gaiman. He was not forcing anyone to do anything; he was hired to perform a job.

Don't get all riled up, anyone. I'm not saying funding should be cut for anything. I'm not stupid. I'm just saying the complaint here should have been addressed to the administrative organization that wrote the check and not to the laborer who received it for his work.

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