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 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.

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’.
  Among other things, Mr Bashful talks about New Age scams,  happiness myths, and why we should burn the Mona Lisa. He has presented an Ockham’s Razor talk on Radio National.
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.

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 on the third Sunday of every month, 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 lad.

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.
Tony now heckles 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. 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.

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 (occasional speaker)

mark-the-grinner

Mark regularly gets a hearty laugh from the crowd with his meticulously crafted questions. Plus, 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.

Ben the Whisperer

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

Philip Feinstein

Philip occasionally speaks and is the founder of Music For Refugees. He also runs the Smokenders program, to help people give up smoking.

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 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.

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News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 17th June.

In News for Speakers' Corner on June 18, 2018 at 10:17 am

“I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.”
Edward Gibbon

1. He’s back!

2. The subjects discussed today:
– Steve Maxwell spoke of ‘The History Wars’ mentioned in the Weekend Australian. The article claimed that the ugly side of western civilisation does not diminish civilisation itself. Steve disagreed.

– Uncle Pete explained the possible science behind spontaneous human combustion.

– A passer-by called Tim gave us a Marxist perspective on why goods are produced and sold. He spoke clearly and coherently, and answered questions well. He did a good job.

– Mr B explained the skeleton differences between communism and socialism. Helmut provided us with a few jokes about communism like, “Communism: What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is none of your concern.”

– When Mr B was undercover in hospital he found himself watching daytime television. Today he let loose. His vitriolic about Dr Phil was unpleasant, and his observations of the show ‘Ellen’ were unsettling. And, he accused the makers of an underwear advertisement of plagiarism. “How dare they steal my term, ‘grasshoppers’!” he lamented, “The advertising executives who visit Speakers’ Corner should be ashamed of themselves.”
(The fact that he stole the term from the 1970’s television program, ‘Kung Fu’, doesn’t seem to concern him.)

– Some people say they don’t believe in a god but claim there is a “life force” that created us all. Mr B went to town on those people. He explained that if the life force is not a sentient entity it could not have chosen to create the universe and we who live in it; and if it is a sentient entity then they do believe in a god after all, because any sentient, omnipotent ‘life force’ must be a god. Using the weasil words ‘life force’ to pretend you don’t believe in a god will not cut the mustard, he said.

– Ray remained speaking near the kiosk, and we have no doubt that he calls his god ‘God’ and not the weasil term ‘life force’.

– Helmut told us that in his wrestling career he had had 167 wrestling matches, many of them against famous wrestlers such as Spiros Orion, Mario Milano and Killer Kawolski. Helmut was obliged to lose to those famous wrestlers, he explained, but when he faced wrestlers of his calibre the winner was decided by the toss of a coin in the locker room before the match. The length of a match was pre-determined too, with promoters assisting by giving a secret sign to tell them it was time to close the match.

– Mr B gave us seven reasons why there cannot be an afterlife. Part of that talk was an explanation as to why there can be no such thing as a ghost.

3. When the sun crept behind the skyscrapers it got cold, so Mr B finished early and Helmut took the ladder at 3.45pm. Helmut spoke about the interchangeability of light and matter. Forty minutes later we collected the chairs and called it a day.

4. Our Facebook page  has over eighty subscribers, but each post only reaches around 20 people. Go figure.

Another photo from the ‘unusual animal’ series:

The blue footed booby.

 

An outright lie from Mr Bashful.

In News for Speakers' Corner on June 12, 2018 at 10:47 am

Mr B must be feeling a lot better because he is trying to pull a swifty over this scribe. In the past I have never known Mr B to tell a lie, or even stretch the truth. Every regular visitor to Speakers’ Corner would testify that Mr B’s penchant to speak the truth is obsessive. Yet today I received this disturbing message from him:

Dear Scribe,

the surgery has gone horribly wrong. As you can see, my head has been removed. It has been replaced by a mechanical device and tubes.

Fortunately they did not discard my head, and the surgeon has promised to reattach it by Sunday.

 

 

Yours sincerely,

Mr Bashful.

I strongly suspect that Mr B has NOT had his head severed from his body. I believe he is lying, and that these are sinister illusions. Don’t forget, Mr B has been ill recently and it’s possible that these outright lies are the result of his strong medication. We must be forgiving, at least until we ascertain the facts.

Your humble scribe.

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