This is very unfortunate: Neil Gaiman, a personal hero of ours, has taken to Twitter, peeved by our tongue-in-cheek recap of his unique commencement speech for The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. (For the record, Neil Gaiman is the tops and we enjoyed his speech very much.)
So please, let us clarify:
You may have heard about that amazing commencement speech that author Neil Gaiman recently gave at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Yeah, the one about exploding cats. It is really about as coherent and logical as you’d expect from a man whose legacy includes a comic book* soap opera about a family of metaphysical manifestations whose names all begin with the letter D. (Or, if you prefer, the guy who wrote Coraline.)
The Sandman and American Gods author used his time at the podium not to give the usual formulaic oxymoron of self-deprecation and inspirational cliches. (Like the time-honored classic, “I couldn’t believe when X University asked me to speak to this year’s graduating class since I’m so unqualified to give advice, but here is what I learned about how following your dreams and working hard can make you rich and famous and a SNL cast member one day.”)
Instead, Mr. Gaiman told the kids how he became a hugely successful fiction writer–by not going to college, lying on his resume, and becoming a journalist for Christ’s sakes– before letting the world in in on a very big secret about how to make it as a freelance artist. It may be the first piece of practical advice we’ve ever heard during a cap and gown ceremony.