Soapbox Speakers

What is Speakers’ Corner?

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.

Every Sunday, from 2pm until 5pm, people gather in Sydney’s beautiful Domain park to discuss matters. The ones standing on ladders are ‘the speakers’, and they believe it’s their job to educate  their ‘grasshoppers’ or ‘groundlings’.  The ones sitting in chairs believe it’s their job to point out why the speaker is wrong, and to heckle. Both parties are kept busy.

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

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

Click here to see their 2015 highlights.
Click here to see their 2014 highlights.
Click here to see their 2013 highlights.

Find past posts  on our Archives site.

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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. He took on the likes of Killer Karl Kox, Mario Milano and Spiros Orion. And, he once beat Arnold Schwartzenegger in a body building contest.
More importantly, Helmut knows a lot about metaphysics (more than Arnold Schwartzenegger and Killer Karl Kox combined), and he is happy to explain why Isaac Newton was an ignoramus.
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 Terzič, 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. To contact Mirko: terzic33@optusnet.com.au

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.

Mark the Grinner.

As a heckler, Mark regularly gets a hearty laugh from the crowd with his meticulously crafted questions. As a speaker his humour is still there, but his talks have substance. He comments on human behaviour and attitudes, and he doesn’t hold back.

Click here to hear why Mark comes to Speakers’ Corner.

His companion, Sue, is less vocal, but she has no trouble speaking her mind when she has something to say.

Mr Bashful, 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’.
  Mr Bashful’s favourite topic is his evolutionary approach to happiness and resilience, but he ends up talking about almost anything else.  He has presented an Ockham’s Razor talk on ABC Radio National and believes 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 but rarely contributes to it.

John August (Occasional speaker)

John speaks earnestly on a wide range of subjects, and if you’re in Sydney you can listen to his radio program on Radio Skid Row, 88.9 FM every Tuesday, from noon until 2pm.

John is an active member of the Pirate Party, which is a serious political party devoted to making Australia more democratic. He and other pirates speak at the Domain now and then about their policies and other topical matters. (That’s ‘topical’, not ‘tropical’.)

To see videos of John performing at Speakers’ Corner go to his Youtube channel.
John also has a website in which he comments upon current affairs, both here and abroad.
He is a busy man.

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 Speakers’ Corner, 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 but now he heckles the other speakers.  In this video  Tony expresses a few of his well considered opinions. For more videos of Tony click here.

Max (Quiet listener)
Max

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

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.

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.

Ben the Whisperer

Although Ben is softly spoken, when he does speak, people listen. Click here to hear why he likes Speakers’ Corner.

Kieron

Click here to hear why Kieron likes 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 94, 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.

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News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 18th August

In News for Speakers' Corner on August 19, 2019 at 12:27 pm

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’”
Erma Bombeck

1. We had a new speaker for a while: Socrateaser. He implored us to ask him a challenging question, and each time we complied he simply asked a question of us in return. Brilliant thinking. But then he began talking about a 140 year old yogi’s tips to prevent ageing. One tip was: don’t live in square buildings. The two most important organs in the human body are the heart and the brain, and they are spherical. Therefore, we need to live in spherical surroundings.

You get the idea.

Only later did your scribe realise he was ‘having a lend’ of us. Surely! The trouble is, Speakers’ Corner has enough genuine “unorthodox” people spouting sincere nonsense that  it has become easy to assume anyone talking nonsense is “unorthodox”. But you’re not “unorthodox” are you, Socrateaser? (It’s in the name, isn’t it?) Yes, you fooled us. But you won’t do that again!

Socrateaser

2 . After Socrateaser’s nonsense, it seemed only fair we get someone sensible to speak. But that didn’t happen. Mirko stood on the Ladder of Knowledge and told us about two polarity. He was heckled, but not outdone. Michael sat in the audience ranting about atheists and abortions, and he was not outdone. In short, the irresistable force had met the immovable object.

Oh dear.

The sensible ones in the audience left and found Helmut and Steve Maxwell. Steve ended up with a big crowd, and he held it for the rest of the day.

3. Other subjects discussed:
– What precisely is wrong with Alan Jones’ advice to our Prime Minister regarding the placement of a sock in the New Zealand Prime Minister’s gob? Mr B generously explained.

– Should there be a client/lawyer privilege? No, said Mr B. It has to go.

– The Tragedy of the Commons. ie. Should Australia reduce its carbon emissions given that even a huge reduction in our emissions would make no significant difference to Climate Change, and given that no other country would follow Australia’s example?

4. Our unusual critter this week in our Unusual Creature Series is the ball-bearing treehopper. It uses its antennae and wifi to read our Facebook page.

 

 

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 11th August

In News for Speakers' Corner on August 12, 2019 at 9:42 am

“Speaking of statistics, did you know that one in seven dwarves is grumpy?”
Mark the Grinner.

1. Where was Mirko? How did we manage without him?

On the Ladder of Knowledge Mr B soon became passionate about his purpose in life, and he was pretty negative about his accomplishment. What fun!

2. It was good to see Albert and Jean back, though poor Albert received a vocal reception as a heckler and as a speaker. It seems, however, his patience is limitless. Albert spoke about the stupidity of the world’s arms race, and the importance of  collective conscousness. Good work, Albert!

Keep defending him, Jean!

3. When Mark the Grinner alighted the Ladder of Knowledge he referred to ‘Idiocracy’, a film about our future world populated and run by morons. Mark said the future is already here, and he gave us a few examples. He said being a moron is no longer an impediment.

Later, he engaged in a robust debate with Peter the Younger about humans’ role in climate change.

4. Here is another chapter of Mr B’s book. It’s about the different types of happiness researchers.

5. Other topics discussed:
– Is Mr B a narcissist?

– Mr B explained why James Hardie should not compensate do-it-yourselfers dying of asbestosis and mesothelioma. He said we all know that  some building products can be dangerous, so we should take personal responsibility for the risks we take. Mr B was not 100% popular with his grasshoppers.

– The misuse of statistics. For example: is it really true that you’re more likely to die from falling out of bed than from being killed by a shark? Yes, it’s true, but only because more people get out of bed every morning than swim in the ocean.

– We talked about suicide and its aftermath. This photo is from the Postsecret site.


6. This week’s creature in our Unusual Critter Series is the Cooloola Monster, found in parts of subterranian Queensland. It was discovered in the 1980s and is rarely seen. Today it is Guest Editor on our Facebook page.

 

 

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