Serving as the hero of geeks everywhere, Neil Gaiman is something of a pied-piper. That is, his work is met with such a level of respect from the comic book crowd, it seems he can't do anything wrong. Every release is met with cheer and any time Gaiman's name is mentioned in relation to already-favorite intellectual property, the excitement builds and builds.
Of course, you can't please everybody, something Gaiman recently learned after a brush with a Republican leader from the state of Minnesota. Previously, Gaiman was paid a handsome sum for a public speaking engagement for the state of Minnesota, and apparently, one of the elected officials from the GOP didn't agree and lashed out at Gaiman as a result. To wit, House Majority Leader Matt Dean apparently didn't like the message Gaiman delivered, and as a response, Dean called Gaiman a "pencil-necked little weasel who stole $45,000 from the state of Minnesota."
Dean also indicated he hated Gaiman, which is always a brilliant strategy for an elected official, especially one who has risen to the level of House Majority Leader.
Needless to say, Gaiman and his legion of fans did not take such trash-talk idly. According to BoingBoing, after Gaiman tweeted a link to Dean's website, the site was crashed. Nothing like a Denial of Service attack featuring real-live people instead of bots, aye? Speaking of Twitter, Gaiman made liberal use of microblogging site in order to provide further details and reactions. He also used his blog to respond as well.
Without the 140-character limit, Gaiman's ability to paint a picture using words manifested as he explained the situation in depth. He offered his thoughts on the situation -- perhaps the best of them:
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.
Gaiman also offered reasons for why he was called a thief by Dean, which was not only amusing, but also an accurate and measured response:
I do not know whether this man is calling me "a thief" because:
A) I charged more than he's comfortable with for a talk, or
B) People happily pay me a lot of money to come and give talks, or
C) He thinks I gave the talk wearing a stripy sweater to an audience of people who were there at gunpoint and afterwards took their wallets, or
D) He's against the principles of the Free Market, and feels that governments should regulate how much people are paid to talk in public.
For what it's worth, Dean has apparently apologized for portions of comments, but not the entire package: