A Thing From the Internet

You know, I have some experience at wading into flamewars on the Internet, and I have to say: if I was going to choose somebody to start a war of words with, it wouldn’t be Neil Gaiman. It’s not so much the legions of rabid fans that would put me off—I’m willing to tangle with people who are merely popular—but you have to stay in your weight class, right? This is a man who can eviscerate reputations with a single offhanded remark. This is a writer whose words are being taken down for posterity.

If you read up on the whole thing, once you come to this line from Neil: “I would not be human if I didn’t admit that I looked at his neck in the photograph, to see if it was as mighty and bull-like as I felt he had implied, and that I might have been just a tiny bit disappointed”—well, it reads a bit like that thing kung fu fighters do, you know. When they stretch out an open palm, and then wave the enemy in with a little flick of the fingers. That invitation to an almighty beatdown.

It’s like—I’m reading Norse sagas right now, and the poor fools who thought it was a good idea to tangle with the skalds, people are still laughing at their humiliation. It’s poor planning to insult a bard. Just saying.

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