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That Gaiman Debate

I've been watching this debate around Neil Gaiman's speaking fee bubble out for the last day or so, and I find it pretty interesting that people are getting bent out of shape about it. So he charges forty five grand--the point is?

Now, don't get me wrong, I don't do a lot of public speaking. There's not a line of people asking me to do this, or that, and when I do it, it's often for free because of the nature of who I am. Which, by that, I mean incredibly generous and lovely and awesome. It has nothing to do with the fact that Z grade author with a line of people who both love and hate me. I also rescue kittens from trees, like puppies, and once told a child that no, they weren't fat, when indeed they were. I'm just that nice. But the one thing I have noticed in my limited exposure, is public speaking isn't just about the time on the stage, entertaining. It's about the time before hand, mixing with people, shaking hands, saying hi, listening to their opinions about you (not always flattering, I might add; strangers often feel that they can say anything they want to another stranger, but will be mortally offended when you turn round and verbally slap them, which of course I would know nothing about, since I am a very nice and lovely man who rescues kittens, saves puppies, and helps fat children, as mentioned above). Sometimes, these people are boring. Sometimes, they're not. Sometimes you have to even eat with them, and their table manners are sometimes not the best. Occasionally you tell them that your dream was to be a playboy photographer and that this is just your fall back plan until then. Mostly, however, you have to curtail such behaviour, put on your best face, smile, make jokes, and entertain people.

Sometimes it's fun, sometimes it's not, is what I'm saying.

So, if Gaiman wants to charge forty five k for that, then why not? He's put his time in, made his name, and he is successful. It seems to me that a lot of the complaints coming out stem back to a strange argument of, how dare he be so successful that he could charge forty five k. He's just an author. He hasn't made a sex tape, been ridiculous stupid in politics, nor been on MTV (well, he might have, but it was probably British MTV, which doesn't count). Really, if anything, people ought to be sitting around saying, 'Fuck, that dude who wrote some comics and that book about parents with button eyes now gets forty five k just to talk for an hour. That's fucking awesome. Fuck you Steven Speilberg.'

Not that Steven Speilberg has anything to do with this, but you know, if we're going to publicly lynch someone about the money they make without being worth it, y'know what I mean?

(crossposted)

Comments

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angriest
May. 12th, 2010 11:32 am (UTC)
I am completely with you - I don't understand why market forces are suddenly offending all those people.
ashamel
May. 12th, 2010 12:52 pm (UTC)
There writers. If they ever took account of market forces, they'd give up now.

(I assume they are writers, not having seen the complaints.)
ataxi
May. 12th, 2010 12:56 pm (UTC)
Market forces are pretty offensive. You don't want to gaze on the naked flabs of capitalism too often.
angriest
May. 12th, 2010 12:59 pm (UTC)
What I mean, more precisely, is I don't understand why the market forces are offending these people now, as if they'd never encountered it before.
ataxi
May. 12th, 2010 01:49 pm (UTC)
I'd suggest that because the circumstance - genre writer being paid $40k for a speaking appearance - is unusual to the point of being unheard of by most, the shock has naturally reacquainted some with the fundamental, morally bankrupt absurdity of the system whereby we remunerate artists.

Scattershot moral indignation and blubbering is the path of least resistance in such cases.

As for me, I just wanted to talk about the exposed sweaty flabs of capitalism!
ataxi
May. 12th, 2010 12:50 pm (UTC)
Agreed. Fucking storm in a teacup. But he does show a bit too much skin during his lengthy self-justification.

It's predictable that tall poppy syndrome will occasionally cut Neil Gaiman off at the knees. His talents as a writer are rather workaday relative to the success he enjoys.
benpeek
May. 12th, 2010 01:21 pm (UTC)
i suspect everyone gets hit by the tall poppy syndrome eventually. well, if they've grown tall enough, or someone feels a bit jealous of what they've done.
ataxi
May. 12th, 2010 01:44 pm (UTC)
Absolutely. But I've always considered Gaiman to be overrated. In his case, I'm not at all surprised there was a wellspring of resentment around ready to be tapped.
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
May. 12th, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC)
sing it!
nihilistic_kid
May. 12th, 2010 03:28 pm (UTC)
The issue is that most writers have to hustle and beg to even be allowed in the library to talk at all; most of them have a speaking fee of $0.
benpeek
May. 12th, 2010 11:07 pm (UTC)
most of them sell far less books, too.
(no subject) - brendanconnell.wordpress.com - May. 12th, 2010 06:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
benpeek
May. 12th, 2010 11:07 pm (UTC)
that's true, but most of us haven't gotten that bit of unaccountable luck that's taken us to his fame, either.
lyndarama
May. 12th, 2010 10:18 pm (UTC)
It's only a scam if you're not in on it.

FYI my speaking fee is seven dollars lol.
benpeek
May. 12th, 2010 11:08 pm (UTC)
i reckon you could charge a bit more, personally.
lucius_t
May. 13th, 2010 01:43 pm (UTC)
How do you know he's never made a sex tape?

The debate is BS. Does Rowling deserve mega-millions? Does Gaiman? Does anyone? Probably not on some scale of literary equivalency, but that's the price the man's put on his time and if some are fool enough to pay it, big woof.
benpeek
May. 19th, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC)
well, he never leaked a sex tape. he probably made one. i mean, don't we all?

as for the money, yeah, pretty much. i mean, is anyone really worth millions anywhere? price is a price. you pay it if you want and laugh when people pay it.
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