24. A student speaks!

“Young people want to change the world. What would be far more productive, says the Dragon, is to change their idea of the world.”
Andrew Toth, in his book, ‘The Purple Dragon’.

1. The first question Mr B was asked as he stood atop the Ladder of Knowledge like a mighty Roman god was . . .

No, no, I’ll start again. My job as scribe is to make the speakers look good, but clearly, not to the point of being ludicrous. The best thing I can say about Mr B on the Ladder of Knowledge, while remaining honest, is that he inhabits it.

Think of Smeagol and the ring.

Anyway, he was asked, ‘What do you make of Margaret Court’s comments? Should we rename the Margaret Court Arena?”

For those of you unknowledgable about the matter: a retired tennis player said some silly things. Should we punish her? Mr B gave his fence-sitting answer and most of his grasshoppers had something to say about it as well.

2. With regards to the Margaret Court incident, aren’t the media at fault? If someone says something silly, shouldn’t the reporter think to themselves, “That’s silly. Reporting what they said won’t help anyone. I’ll ignore it.”

But instead they think, “Great! This person’s famous, so if I report what they said I’ll have a scoop. Yes, the person is troubled and people will be offended, and nothing good will come of it, but my boss will be pleased because what I report will sell advertising space.”

People in the media complain about having their jobs under threat, but so often they make it hard for us to feel sympathy for them. In such instances, ‘Don’t shoot the messenger’ seems to be poor advice.

3. A big chunk of Steve Maxwell’s charm is that he prepares new, fresh material each week. Today he spoke about Sir Thomas More’s Utopia, and juxtaposed the ideas expressed in that work onto current Australian society. Can More’s ideas apply to us? Good work, Steve!

4. A student from Cheltenham High School, Sydney replaced Mr B on the Ladder of Knowledge and suddenly the crowd brightened. It was as though the clouds had parted and we were bathed in sunshine. She explained why she isn’t pleased with how the school is run, and talked about the changes needed. She didn’t half sink the boot in. She was direct, articulate and interesting, and had no trouble answering questions, even from Tony.

She is another example of how the future is in good hands.

5. Albert, with his ideas about collective-bloody-consciousness, got up to speak about them and spoke well. (Thanks for carrying Mr B’s 32 chairs again today, Albert.) Mirko also got up to speak, but inexplicably lost the crowd quicker than a whiplash.

 6. Some sad news. Today was the last of our poetry readings for a while. (Unless someone requests to read one.)

We went out in style. Peter the Younger read another haunting Siegfried Sassoon poem, and the grasshoppers helped Mr B examine ‘The Draft Horse’ by Bobby Frost.

Mr B’s sole consensus was that the poem is about fate and imminent death, though not of the horse.

7. Some more sad news. Terrible news, really. There was no Assertiveness Tip from Mr B and there won’t be one from now on. He has completed the list.

In one nostaligic moment, here is an example of Tip #8, of what not to do.

8.  Good news!
Next week begins our new JokeFest Segment. So come along, step onto the Ladder of Drollery, and tell us a joke.

To give us an inkling of what the segment would be like, Uncle Pete told a joke, and got the heartiest laugh of the day. The bar has been set high, folks.

9. More good news!
Each week, Mr B will reveal to his grasshoppers a disabling paradigm. Paradigms are wacky beliefs held by a society. They can be strong and pervasive, and it can take clear thinkers decades to demolish one, though Mr B reckons it will take him just five minutes to open the eyes of his grasshoppers. (We’ll see.)

Well! Thank goodness Mr B is here to help us. (Cough cough). So, turn up each week to get one of your cherished beliefs pulled apart.

Today’s revelation was: ‘Get rid of your books! You’re doing yourself and the world a disservice by owning books.

You had to be there.

One philistine misunderstood Mr B’s message and began chanting ‘Burn the books,! Burn the books!’ Sigh.

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

11. Other subjects discussed:
– Mr B’s science fiction story, about a large space ship that has been moving through space for thousands of years. Its naked occupants have lost their past and have no knowledge of planets, stars or space. The story ends three billion years later with a fish.

– Should we let people express their wacky views on radio and television in the pursuit of free speech and balance, or do such instances lead to false balance?

12. This scribe also operates our Facebook page, though he still hasn’t got the hang of how it all works. However, he has a rough handle on our Archives site.