- Lake Charles, Louisiana, United States
- Hello, and welcome to my blog! I like to write about children's literature, fairy tales, feminism, and pop culture in general. I've recently earned my Ph.D. in children's literature at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I also review children's and young adult books for Kirkus and teach English at Sowela Technical Community College. Oh, and I like cats! [Banner image artwork by Yuki Midorikawa]
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I'm with Gaiman
I feel the burning need to rally to amazing British author Neil Gaiman's side, I'm with Coco-style, after he was called out by a Native* scholar (Debbie Reese) for remarks he made (presumably at a signing):
"What Neil Gaiman Said..."
No matter what Reese says, it is indeed making a mountain out of a molehill. The entire situation has blown way out of proportion. Gaiman was quick to comment and explain his comments, and things probably should have been left at that. Reese's eyes caught those remarks and said "LOOK AT THIS," perhaps rightly so. But Gaiman's response acknowledges the blunder and places it in the sort of context only an author can offer.
1. As he explained, he has a microphone in front of his face. Most authors aren't born public speakers. And even great speakers say silly things sometimes. I do believe we currently have a perfectly capable (and even beloved) VP who called his future Black running mate "clean and articulate." Oops.
2. His explanation regarding European cemeteries actually makes sense. Furthermore, Reese admits to not having actually read The Graveyard Book. If he places the remarks within the context of his book's setting, she can't really offer a rebuttal (as yet).
My voice is small, but I'm offering it in support of an author I admire and respect. I hope my writing is someday as crisp and clear and clever as Neil Gaiman's. I hope my characters are as memorable. And while I'm at it, I hope one day my words inspire as quick a response as Debbie Reese's blog post did!
Conclusion: Kudos to Reese for spotting the faux pas, but let Gaiman go. And Reese may be cast as the Jay Leno in all this, considering how righteously devoted Gaiman's fans are.
Note: To put this all into perspective, I am part Native myself. I'm primarily Cajun though. I recently saw The Princess and the Frog with my sister, and our reactions to the comically Cajun firefly (I forget his name) were so incredibly different. Where she was annoyed, I was amused. Of course, part of being Cajun is being able to laugh at ourselves.
Then again, Cajuns were never wholesale slaughtered and/or wiped out via deadly unknown disease the way Native peoples were.
But still -- it was just a silly little comment.
And that's all I have to say about that!
Well, for now, anyway.
*EDIT: By "Native scholar" I mean to refer to Debbie Reese as a scholar of Native studies and issues.