Soapbox Speakers

Archive for October, 2018|Monthly archive page

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 28th October

In News for Speakers' Corner on October 29, 2018 at 9:22 am

“The mind starts working the moment you are born, and doesn’t stop until you stand up to make a speech.” 

1. Two meetings ago we had to suffer a party with amplified music; last week it was the Invictus Games; and today our speaking area was fenced off by the Oktoberfest mob. Could there be a conspiracy to edge us out? After all, if the CIA created the Twin Tower incident on September 11, and if NASA went to the trouble of faking a moon landing in 1969, and if O.J. Simpson was framed by the FBI, then should we be surprised when the Illuminati attempts to quash our influence in world current affairs?

If things are not back to normal next week we can safely assume that the Illuminti are indeed out to get us. However, if we can get the spirited Mirko to be on OUR side for a change, they will have a fight on their hands!

Today he was a pest formidable. His disruption, inexorable.

Uh oh. It occurs to me: Mirko might be an agent working for the Illuminati! Being unintelligible might be his brilliant cover.

And then there are the three amigos – Uncle Pete, Helmut and Peter the Younger – constantly disrupting the meetings. Can they be agents too???

OMG we’re surrounded.

One thing is for sure: at Speakers’ Corner you need patience.

2. Mr B criticised sections of the media yet again, this time for their insensitive reporting of an incident in which a man on an aeroplane abusively told a woman to sit elsewhere. Instead of acting responsibly, the media provoked our indignation to sell advertising space. The incident was seen by millions, and indignant readers wanted to know why the airline hadn’t thrown the man off the plane.

The media should have kindly and responsibly ignored the ‘news’ item altogether. After all, it was easy to see that the man was slightly mentally impaired. In such instances you would show patience and compassion, and do what the airline did: they simply looked after the woman and left the man to himself. To throw a mentally impaired man off a plane would have been irresponsible and cruel to him, and to his loved ones.

But the media would have none of that. They wanted blood, because blood sells.

The sooner viewers figure these things out for themselves and ignore such items, instead of being maipulated and forwarding them, the better.

That was Mr B’s view, anyway.

3. Steve Maxwell was critical of the government’s cruel treatment of the children of Nauru.

Across the way, Mr B also discussed the plight of the refugees on Nauru and elsewhere. He was forced to argue with a man who kept insisting that their plight was their own fault: they had the option of staying locked up safe in the harsh labour camps of Indonesia for the rest of their lives. Sigh.

One visiting Brit pointed out that if our government was truly racist, it would let the refugees come by boat and drown. He was critical of how Europe is letting their incoming refugees drown. To have bodies wash ashore is still a regular occurrence, apparently.


4. Other subjects discussed:
– With his ‘balloon factory’ example, Mr B explained the difference between employment and productive employment. As a result, the topic of ‘which nation should make our submarines?’ took off. A few grasshoppers contributed and made some good points.

– ‘Utitiltarianism’ was also discussed. Mr B was not in favour of the philosophy for two reasons, though Uncle Pete was sure Mr B didn’t understand what it was. Helmut, meanwhile, thought it necessary to talk about the history of utilitarianism. As he would.

– Later, Helmut was on a ladder booming the word ‘ignoramus’ across the park. This scribe assumes he was again trying to ruin the reputation of the beleageured Sir Isaac Newton.

Isaac Newton. (Not Helmut)

5. I will ignore our Unusual Animal Series for just this week to provide a warning: be careful how you treat yourself on Halloween.



News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 21st October

In News for Speakers' Corner on October 22, 2018 at 9:46 am

“When a man opens a car door for his wife, it’s either a new car or a new wife.”
Prince Philip.

1. It was a pretty ordinary day today because the passers-by weren’t passing by. They were applauding the cyclists participating in the Invictus Games.

Ray, Steve, Helmut and Mr B tried to attract listeners, but failed dismally. At one point Mr B relinquished the Ladder of Knowledge to pester Steve Maxwell, with the hope of getting Steve a crowd. Mr B loudly criticised Australia’s politicians and Steve loudly defended them. The loudness of it all prompted someone to get the police.

Oh dear.

The two policemen were professional and courteous. They made sure the two miscreants weren’t aiming to thump each other, and then left. With the wind taken out of them, Steve and Mr B separated to take their own ladders, but again failed to draw crowds.

It was Prince Harry’s idea to create the Invictus Games. Does he have any idea what he has done to Speakers’ Corner?

2. Speaking of Prince Harry and Meghan, where were they? They had been invited to Speakers’ Corner and granted five minutes on the Ladder of Knowledge to explain why the Monarchy should continue. But where were they?

3. In our Unusual Creature Series, this is either a chameleon or two painted naked women. You decide. If it’s a chameleon it should have a look at our Facebook page.




News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 14th October.

In News for Speakers' Corner on October 15, 2018 at 12:33 pm

“A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.”
Emo Philips.

1. It was a torrid day. We had to contend with loud music from a function nearby, and with Mirko. It was hard to tell which was the more disturbing.

During a break in the music, one passer-by chose to hurt the delicate Mr B’s feelings by criticising his dress sense. Admittedly, Mr B was wearing a bright pink shirt but he looked stylish in it. When the delicate Mr B had finally become a broken man, the fellow asked if he could speak. Mr B let him.

The man (who wisely chose to remain anonymous) spoke mainly about socialism, and did a good job of it. Here he is trying to talk about phone addiction. See what I mean about Mirko.

2. Remember that this coming Sunday the Royals, Harry and Meghan, will be at Speakers’ Corner discussing with Mr B and his grasshoppers whether or not Australia should become a republic.

Granted, there has been no confirmation that they will be there, but that is to be expected, for security concerns.

This scribe suspects that neither Harry nor Meghan could give a stuff about whether or not Australia becomes a republic. If anything, they would suggest that it does. But Mr B informs me that his real intention is to persuade the Royal family to give up the throne entirely.

3. Art Gallery Road will be closed. There will be a cycling race for the Invictus Games.

There is a good possibility that the usual chairs will not be provided.

4. Here are some of Mr B’s policies for when he becomes Prime Minister/dictator:
– Improved animal welfare for farmed animals. Uncle Pete wanted to know if that included humans. Uncle Pete: if there are humans being farmed somewhere, please let us know.
Peter the Younger thought Louie the Fly should be protected as well. That’s the type of rubbish the speakers have to endure at Speakers’ Corner.

– One of the big cities in Australia should ban all gambling and alcohol, for all the people who would like to live in such a place.

– People should be given a limited amount of electricity to use each week. When they run out they are in darkness until the new week begins. That would prompt them to learn how to switch off unnecessary lights! And, it would encourage the uptake of renewable energy sources.

– Mr B wants us to punish corporate criminals by hitting them where it hurts: at their need for status. They would be forced to live in a fibro house in an outer suburb, and drive a twenty year-old car. That way, they would have to learn to base their self-worth on factors other than money and status.

There were other policies, and they also received a lot of flak. That didn’t faze him.

5. Psychic premonitions? Have you ever heard of someone dreaming of someone they know dying, and then discovering that the person they dreamt about did indeed die during the night?

6. Mr B outlined the ontological argument for the existence of God: “The very concept of a perfect being leads inevitably to the existence of that being, because to not exist would be an imperfection.”

The trouble with that argument is that it could apply to anything. The very concept of a perfect flying elephant would lead to the existence of that flying elephant, because to not exist would be an imperfection.

Anselm of Canterbury came up with that gem in the 11th century. Here is his seal.

7. Other subjects discussed:
– When news broadcasters report on a natural disaster, each day the estimated death toll grows higher. That means the first few are inaccurate. Mr B suggested that if they are going to be inaccurate, they might as well start high – at a million lives lost – and as more information is revealed we can happily learn that the death toll isn’t as bad as we thought.
For some reason, two grasshoppers felt the need to point out that this was a bad idea.

– Are schoolgirls prevented from running and playing like boys because they have to wear a dress? If so, why don’t we make girls wear pants like the boys do?

– Steve Maxwell discussed the existence of soles.

– Are politicians really as bad as most people seem to think they are? Steve Maxwell argued that they aren’t, and that we shouldn’t complain about politicians unless we ourselves have tried to be elected. Mr B took umbrage with that.

– Why precisely was the ‘Everest’ fiasco on Sydney’s Corporoate Billboard the wrong thing to do? Why was Prime Minister Scott Morrison wrong to say it was a ‘no brainer’ to advertise? Mr B explained why.

– “Why are so few women believed when they say they have been raped?” was one question asked and discussed.
Here is a postcard from the Postsecret website.

8. In our Unusual Creature Series we have chosen to bring your attention to the saiga antelope, who has never heard of Facebook, much less our Facebook page.

News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 7th October.

In News for Speakers' Corner on October 8, 2018 at 11:10 am

Stephen Fry, when criticising political correctness: “One of the greatest human failings is to prefer to be right than to be effective.”

1. Despite the softly falling rain, speakers Ray, Helmut, Mirko and Mr B turned up to Speakers’ Corner and held their meetings. The grasshoppers who turned up were Peter the Younger, Ben the Whisperer, Greg the Indignant, Tony the Persistent, Tommy the Insistent, and Uncle Pete.

After an hour, the rain became so heavy we had to take refuge in the Art Gallery. There we discovered it was Helmut’s 78th birthday. To his credit he seems to be the fittest and healthiest geriatric this scribe has ever seen. Happy birthday, Helmut!

2. A magnificent horse-racing company has generously sponsored the NSW government. All the company gets in return is permission to advertise on the sails of the Corporate Billboard (formerly known as the Sydney Opera House).

It’s a shame cigarette advertising is no longer permitted. This scribe would be proud to take visitors from out-of-town to see the Benson & Hedges Sydney Opera House and to the Rothman’s Sydney Harbour Bridge.

We at Speakers’ Corner invite this wonderful horse-racing company to sponsor us as well. Everist: your company would significantly add to the integrity and credibility of Speakers’ Corner and to the speakers themselves. We keenly await your guidance and moola.

3. Today Daylight Saving came into effect. Was that why Mirko and Tony turned up late?

4. Uncle Pete introduced the subject of infinity yet again. I guess he knows it’s one of Mr B’s specialities.

Remember the question about the monkey tapping Hamlet on a typewriter? Well, the conversation soon degenerated into whether it was a monkey or a chimpanzee.


Perhaps it was neither monkey nor ape? Perhaps it was one of the other primates: a lemur, a loris or a tarsier? Who really cares? They can all type.






5. A question arose about who writes this blog. Your open-book scribe would have thought all was explained in the ‘About this scribe‘ page. Apparently not. It seems that some people are under the impression that your diligent scribe and Mr B are one and the same person. And that both are Mark Avery.


How absurd.

For a start, this scribe would never let Mr B write this blog. Mr B is far too opinionated. On the Ladder of Knowledge he belligerently rails against politicians and corporations, he cruelly pulls apart people’s belief systems, and he fervently takes sides in all matters of importance. If anyone dares to question him he calls them blithering idiots. He is, in short, a blustering, offensive know-it-all. To have him at the helm of this blog would be a disaster.

And, as you would know, dear reader, your gentle scribe is nothing like that. I don’t take sides; I merely report in a pleasant manner what was said on the day. ‘Scribe the Impartial’, I guess you could call me. If I were to stand on the Ladder of Knowledge I would freeze up and die.

As for Mr Avery, I hope I don’t sound patronising when I say that he is invaluable to Speakers’ Corner because he provides the chairs. It’s an important job and he does it well.

This is how the cruel Mr B treats poor hecklers.


6. In our Unusual Creature Series this Creatonotos gangis moth (South East Asia and Australia) reads our Facebook Page late at night as it circles my bedside lamp.

Creatonotos gangis moth





News for Speakers’ Corner, Sunday 30th September

In News for Speakers' Corner on October 1, 2018 at 10:57 am

“For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.”
Martin Luther King, Jr., Remaining Awake Through A Great Revolution.

1. Gosh, we are lucky to have our Speakers’ Corner in Sydney, Australia. We have free speech, a beautiful park, friendly rangers, and good weather most of the time. Today it was beautiful.

If we could add forty points to the IQ of each heckler it would be perfect.

A journalist-in-waiting turned up to take photographs and take a few notes.


Mirko generously spends his time with those keen to learn.


Helmut talks about the tennis! This scribe had no idea Sir Isaac Newton played tennis.


Part-time speaker John August spoke today and put in a solid performance.


Einsteinian Steve Maxwell was his charming white-haired self today.


Tommy is becoming a regular. Very good!

We have no current photos of Ray, Mark the Grinner or Mr B. You’ll have to make do with this:


2. The speakers are finally being seen as the celebrities they are. These photos (about six years old) were found on the internet, and if you wish to purchase them from Getty’s you’ll have to shell out a lazy $650 each. Hint: if you require multiple copies they might do you a deal.






3. Amazingly, religion was discussed yet again, this time by a believer in a female God and an atheist. Your honest scribe again wants to avoid taking sides, so here are memes representing both sides of the argument.


4. Just a few of the many subjects discussed today:
– economics (John August)

– Science and tennis (Helmut)

– ‘The Arsehole Effect‘ (Mark the Grinner)

– God (Ray)

– Paedophelia (Tommy)

– ???? (Steve Maxwell)

The positive thinking myth(Mr B)

– Uncle Pete wanted to know how the eye evolved and so he naturally sought Mr B, who was happy to help out. Mr B provided a clear and thorough explanation. To reward Uncle Pete’s keen interest in the topic of natural selection, and to encourage him, Mr B has gone above and beyond the call of duty to helpfully pass on this meme for Uncle Pete’s perusal. We hope it helps, Uncle Pete.

5. Today’s critter in our Unusual Critter Series is the Four-toed jerboa, found in Egypt and Libya. It does not look happy to be on this site.








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