Soapbox Speakers

The speakers and hecklers!

In Speakers and hecklers. on March 8, 2015 at 11:51 pm

“I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief.” 
Gerry Spence.

This sums up the relationship between the speakers and the hecklers.

This sums up the relationship between the speakers and the hecklers.

Some people say the speakers at Speakers’ Corner are a little eccentric. There might be a skerrick of merit in that point of view. Whatever the case, they’re an entertaining bunch.
Click here to see their 2015 highlights.
Click here to see their 2014 highlights.
Click here to see their 2013 highlights.

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The Speakers and Hecklers.

Steve Maxwell, historian and political commentator.

Steve Maxwell

Steve Maxwell, legend.

In various personas, but always engaging, Steve talks about religion, Australian history and politics. Click here for highlights. To see more videos of Steve, go to the archives site. From his book, ‘Soapbox Oratory‘ Steve writes: ‘In a modern city, there must be a place where strangers can meet and discuss the issues of the day without fear of persecution; where the right to retain one’s individuality is allowed.

Helmut Cerncic, metaphysicist.

Helmut 4

Helmut used to be a professional wrestler going by the name of Helmut Rommel, and he once beat Arnold Schwartzenegger in a body building contest. Helmut knows a lot about metaphysics, (more than Arnold Schwartzenegger), and is happy to explain why Isaac Newton was an ignoramus. But his battles with hecklers are fun. He calls his listeners his ‘groundlings’. Here are some highlights. For more videos of Helmut, go to the archives site and to his own site, ‘Is Science the New Religion?’.

Mirko Terzic, 21st Century inventor.

Mirko

Mirko has created a phonetic alphabet to be used world-wide, and it’s better than Esperento. He has solved the problem of perpetual motion and has diagrams explaining how to get free unlimited energy from hydropower. Mirko knows how to think outside the square. Here are a few highlights of Mirko. For more videos of Mirko go to the archives site.

Ray, Christian.

Ray is concerned about your soul.

 Ray is passionate about spreading the word of God. He takes the task seriously but isn’t confronting. He is a gentle man willing to answer your questions. Here are a few highlights. For more videos of Ray, go to the archives site.

Mr Bashful, epiphany specialist.

Mr B 2

Mr Bashful, the epiphany specialist.

Epiphany specialist Mr Bashful tells us he is the spiritual advisor to the Dalai Lama, though that’s yet to be verified. He calls his listeners his ‘grasshoppers’ and his foes ‘garden gnomes’. (He himself could be called ‘King of the Cheap Shots’.)
  Among other things, Mr Bashful talks about New Age scams,  happiness myths, and why we should burn the Mona Lisa. One thing he isn’t, is bashful.
To learn more about him and see videos of him in action, click here.
He now has a Facebook page.

Andrew, the exhibitionist.

If you have any questions to ask of a flasher, Andrew is the guy to ask.

If you have any questions to ask of a flasher, Andrew is the guy to ask.

 Andrew is the only flasher in the world prepared to stand up and talk about flashing and support it. However, nowadays he only speaks from about 4.30pm, and he speaks on spiritualism as well.
There are four entertaining videos of Andrew speaking.  Here is just one. For more videos of Andrew, go to the archives site. His award winning book about exhibitionism (flashing) is available on Amazon.

THE HECKLERS

Uncle Pete (heckler and occasional speaker)

Peter - best

During the week Uncle Pete teaches students, and if he teaches them with the same verve he has for the Sunday passers-by, they are lucky students indeed. Click here for a few highlights. For more videos of Uncle Pete, go to the archives site.

Tony, atheist.

Tony
New-Zealand born Tony used to be a speaker and is a fervent atheist scathing of the Catholic Church. When he is not berating Christianity he is either sinking the boot into other religions, or supporting Palestine. In this video  Tony expresses a few of his well considered opinions. For more videos of Tony click here.
He has retired as a speaker but keeps his eye in being a heckler to the other speakers.

Max (Quiet listener)

Max

Max is one of the gentler regular visitors. Says little, but when he does speak it’s sensible. A pleasant change for Speakers’ Corner. Click here to discover why he visits Speakers’ Corner.

Arthur (Heckler)

 Arthur 1

Arthur is not what you call the shy type, and is generous with his opinion. I caught him searching for disciples.

Jack (Quiet observer)

 Jack

“The old grey owl sat on an oak.
The more he heard, the less he spoke.
The less he spoke, the more he heard.
Now, wasn’t he a wise old bird?”

Click here to hear a few words from Jack.

Silvia

Sylvia

Silvia drops by and stays for some time. We hope one day she expresses an opinion.

Peter the Younger

Pete

The well-read Peter knows an awful lot about many subjects, and in particular: geo-politics and U.S. shenanigans.  Click here to hear why Pete comes to Speakers’ Corner.

Howard

howard

Howard is always polite and reasonable, yet despite that he fits in well at Speakers’ Corner. His contributions are appreciated by all. Click here to hear why he comes to Speakers’ Corner.

Mark the Grinner

mark-the-grinner

Mark regularly gets a hearty laugh from the crowd with is meticulously crafted questions, and his serious comments are  insightful. His companion, Sue, is less vocal, but she has no trouble speaking her mind when she has something to say. Click here to hear why Mark comes to Speakers’ Corner.

Jean

Jean 2

Jean tries so hard to be feisty, but she’s just a big softie. Click here to hear why she comes to Speakers’ Corner.
Her husband Albert is below. Both of them are excellent value at Speakers’ Corner.

Albert

Albert 3

Albert may be 92, but he is as alert as anyone, and fit. When he helps Mr B unload the chairs he carries six at a time.
Albert wrote an absorbing book titled, ‘Civilisation Hijacked’. It explains how good men are persuaded to do bad things.

Book
If  you would like to buy a copy ($20) email Albert:  al.morris@optusnet.com.au
Albert is the husband of Jean.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 23rd April

In News for Speakers' Corner on April 24, 2017 at 11:31 am

“The greatest horrors of our world, from the executions in Iran to the brutalities of the IRA, are committed by people who are totally sincere.” 

John Mortimer.

1. Mr B’s propensity to give his grasshoppers 4 minutes to speak, and then answer questions, seems to have become a habit. Today’s extra speakers were the usual suspects: Albert, Jean, Mirko, Rhonda and Helmut.

Helmut was asked to speak about his days of being a professional wrestler in Sydney. He explained how he had wrestled as Helmut Rommel for more than three years, having 167 matches. How many did he win? There was no point in asking him, given that the winners were decided beforehand, he explained. No match did not have a pre-determined outcome. He told us what he was paid. He gave anecdotes. He was required to be a good guy, which he thought was stupid. After all, Germans were the bad guys in those days. (He is Austrian, it must be noted.)

Helmut also spoke of the bodybuilding world and its scandals, and that was interesting too.

Killer Karl Kox, one of Helmut Rommel’s opponents.

2. The best work of the Higher School Certificate art students from NSW high schools (public and private) is being displayed in the NSW Art Gallery, directly opposite Speakers’ Corner. The speaker claimed that some of that art work is far better than much of the rubbish the gallery owns and displays.

There was hum of agreement, and Mr B was in danger of launching into his regular diatribe against the gallery. Thankfully he was distracted, and the audience were spared another dose.

3. It was asked, is this sign below racist? (The owner of a Melbourne milk bar stuck this sign to his window.)

Mr B certainly found the mix of ‘blacks’ with dogs objectionable, though he conceded that the poor phrasing was probably due to the writer’s poor English.

For the sake of the argument we assumed that the ‘black’ kids of that age were indeed stealing. The following questions were asked:
(1) Could the ban simply be a financial move?
(2) What about the fact that the shopkeeper is only prohibiting 14 to 18 year olds? Older ‘blacks’ are welcome? Does that change our perspective?
(3) What if the shop owner didn’t include Sudanese kids, only Aboriginal kids? Or vice versa? (In other words, skin colour wasn’t an issue.)
(4) What if the shop owner was white, and he found that only white skinned youths of that age stole, and he prohibited only them? Would he be racist?
(5) What if the shop owner was Sudanese and he was only banning Sudanese teenagers of that age?
(6) What if the shopkeeper knew some of the black kids and trusted them, and made them exceptions?
(7) What if there is a gang of young white kids, aged from 14 to 18, and they all wear a blue bandana to show they’re in the gang. To stay in the gang they’re expected to steal, and they steal from the shopkeeper regularly. What if the white shopkeeper put up a sign that said: ‘Members of the blue bandana gang are prohibited’? Does that mean he has a prejudice against the colour blue? Does it mean he has a prejudice against bandanas? Or a prejudice against blue bandanas?

 Or does he have a prejudice against teenagers who choose to wear blue bandanas? Does he have a prejudice at all?
(8) For those of you who still think the sign is racist: let’s say the shopkeeper is obliged to pull down the sign and as a consequence loses $1,000 a year, every year, to theft. Would you be prepared to reimburse him?

Discussion was vibrant.

4. The Something Nice segment. To charm some and irritate others.

5. A few months ago Mr B explained why there is no such thing as a Scotsman (or Swede, Tongan, Aborigine, Jew etc.) He even made a video of the talk which has resoundingly been ignored. The video below expresses the same sentiment, but says it much better. Lift your game, Mr B.

6. Other topics discussed:
– Waterlogged homes in Wooloomooloo prompted a discussion about the merits of housing developers using their own inspectors to self regulate.

– Mr B railed against the idea that someone could be charged with ‘blasphemy’, and he expressed concern about the idea of people voting for a candidate simply because that candidate shared their faith. He would prefer that people vote for the person they think is best for the nation.

– Peter the Younger read another pleasing John Clarke poem, and then the group discussed Mary Gilmore’s poem, ‘The House’. Its reception was lukewarm at best, with Mark The Grinner being genuinely distressed.

– Bad statistics. To say that you’re nine times likely to be killed by a bee than a shark is a gross misrepresentation of the facts, Mr B claimed, indignant.

7. Our Facebook page is still short the ten million subscribers it seeks. And try our Archives site if you want to know more about our speakers or see past posts.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 16th April.

In News for Speakers' Corner on April 17, 2017 at 11:41 am

“The louder he talked of his honour, the faster we counted our spoons.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson.

1. Welcome back, Steve Maxwell! Steve told this scribe that today went well for him and he felt no pain.

His theme for today was “Australia: Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we going?”

After an afternoon of soul searching and debate with his grasshoppers, a consensus was reached. Their answers:

“We don’t know who we are, we don’t know why we are here, and we have no idea where we are going.

That’s a good day’s work, Steve! See you next week.

2. Today was Easter Sunday. Tony arrived late, and it was suggested that it was because he had trouble finding the Easter eggs he had hidden for himself in his garden the night before.

This scribe has just received some photos from the Danish Delight, Pia. I will intersperse the posts with them.

Speaking of Easter Egg hunts:

3. Mr B urged us all to buy only free range chocolate eggs. Then in a more serious vein he compared Easter egg hunts with today’s western society. He pointed out that although older children find more chocolate eggs in the garden than younger children because they have the advantage of age, height, nimbleness & experience, at the end of the hunt the eggs are combined and shared equallly among all the children. However, in our society, those with the the advantages (born into wealth, with high intelligence, going to the right school . . .) aren’t so quick to share their ‘Easter eggs’ with those less fortunate (those forced to stay home to care for a loved one; the intellectually or physically disabled, the uneducated . . . ).

4. Today, on Easter Sunday, we all felt it appropriate to have a minute’s silence for J.C. And so we did.

Then Pete the Younger solemnly stood on the Ladder of Sensitivity and read two of his poems as a tribute. As usual, we enjoyed them.

John Clarke was certainly a talented and likeable man.

Our Danish visitor Pia recited an old favourite and got a good laugh for her effort.

Dave, an artist who brought along a whopping big painting featuring Christ on the cross, also read a poem. Both his painting and his poem gave every person who trivialised the real meaning of Easter a harsh metaphorical wallop. Both painting and poem were wonderful! Thanks, Dave!

Then Mr B had to let the side down with some doggerel:

Daisy the Beautiful
Oh daisy with thy flower of gold,

Thou art a thing of beauty to behold, 
growing there in the dark, dark ground,
the ground where worms and slugs abound.
But when you flower in the bright, bright sun,
we know the slugs have lost and thou hast won.
Rex Dawe.

5. If the poem below doesn’t make sense to you now, it might this coming Sunday when Mr B and his grasshoppers discuss it.

6. Mr B invited members of the audience to get up and speak. Cyclone Rhonda spoke about the need for Australia to become a republic and left all of us in her wake. A fantastic effort.

Norm had the crowd intrigued with his views on education. He received lots of questions. Good work, Norm!

Albert the Whisperer claimed that Jesus Christ was mortal and the resurrection was a put-up job. He agreed that Jesus Christ was effectively just a soapbox speaker.
(Does that mean that when the Second Coming finally occurs, the returning messiah will be a soapbox speaker? Should we be speaking to Steve Maxwell and Mr B with more respect?)

This scribe suspects that the ‘dead man’s fingers‘ fungus is the closest thing we’ll get to a person being resurrected.

Dead Man’s Fingers fungus

7. We spoke about the man in the U.S. who was dragged off the plane and suffered injuries as a result. Mr B explained why the man was at fault, and that whatever injuries he received, he deserved them. (Mind you, the man will win millions in a law suit.)

8. Mr B nearly fell over when a grasshopper expressed interest in his assertiveness tips. (Everyone else thought she was a plant.)

Today’s tip? He told us to not try to be mindreaders. When there is something we don’t understand, let’s ask. Click here for more information.

9. The ‘Something Nice’ segment. To charm some and irritate others:

10. Mr B discussed a video of a Muslim woman explaining to another Muslim woman how an angry husband should hit his wife with a scarf. Mr B defended the woman, and said that the media were unconscionable in their self-righteous protest. By saying that she was condoning violence, and that it was outrageous that she did so, the media were simply trying to gain viewers.

He hoped the media would turn their focus back to the high rates of real domestic violence in anglo society.

11. We discussed a knotty problem about Australia’s intake of refugees. How many should we welcome? Were the people who were against the idea of welcoming more refugees lacking in compassion, as advocates suggested, or were there other factors? Should logistics be part of the decision? Is it a question of values?

Mr B claimed that 99.9% of Australia’s population were willing to take refugees, but differed in the number that they’d take. Further, he claimed that 99.9% of Australia’s population would baulk at taking every displaced person on the planet, which means that nearly everyone would at some point feel compelled to say, ‘That’s enough. No more refugees.’

The conclusion? We should talk more and be less self-righteous. And every overt advocate of refugees should be asked the simple question: “Of the 40 million refugees who would be willing to come to Australia, how many would you accept?” Because as soon as they attempt to answer the question, they have to face the fact that whatever number they give, it would mean they too would be rejecting refugees. (Unless they said, ‘All of them’, in which case, they should be locked in a closet.)

12. Other subjects discussed:
– ‘Why did the Vikings bury their soldiers with their swords?‘, Mr B wanted to know. After all, if they had dug the soldiers up a few years later they would have found that the sword had not been whisked away to Valhalla. (Nor had the soldier, for that matter.) That would have told them to not waste swords by burying them.
One grasshopper patiently explained to Mr B that it was the spirit of the sword that accompanied the soldier to Valhalla. (As though that made more sense.)

– Women should not be expected to love their bodies, said Mr B. They already have enough problems with their self-esteem without having to deal with their failure to heed that banal advice.
One grasshopper suggested that perhaps we should be encouraging women to stop hating their bodies.

13. Lost property. The speaker asked the crowd if anyone had lost a roll of $100 notes wrapped in a rubber band. They had found the rubber band.

14. A big ‘thank you’ to the kind grasshopper who handed Tony Boyce and Mr B an Easter Egg each after the meeting. Both the egg and the generosity were appreciated!

Thankfully, the eggs were made of chocolate, unlike this one:

This beautiful work of art was created with fine drills and steady hands.

14. Someone has left a comment at the end of last week’s post. Make of it what you will.

15. Everyone who visits our Facebook page before midnight tonight (Easter Sunday) will receive an extra chocolate egg from the Easter bunny on Monday morning.

 

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