26. The nature of art?

“Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.”
Norman Vincent Peale

1. First, an advertisement, compliments of Steve Maxwell. The 2019 Bughouse Square Debates.

Saturday, July 27, 2019    Noon to 4 pm

Washington Square Park (aka Bughouse Square), 901 North Clark Street, across Walton from the Newberry

Free and open to the public; no registration or tickets required

This is really the last of the open forum left in the USA

For more information, click here.

The Bug-house Square debates.

2. Except for every conspiracyyou can think of, your percipient scribe doesn’t believe in conspiracy theories, but when the Domain Trust “just happens” to block off an area for grass regeneration, and the restaurant “just happens” to take up more space in our area, you have to think that perhaps the Illuminati really are planning a New World Order, and they’re making a concerted effort to banish Speakers’ Corner and its erudite speakers.

If so, they failed dismally. Today the speakers made do with the limited space they found.

Mind you, Mr B was on the embankment, and your nervous scribe was worried he would fall backwards and plummet to his death to the road below. But thankfully that didn’t happen.

Tony Boyce, ex-speaker and regular visitor, has not been so fortunate with regards to his health. While walking about ten days ago, his legs went to jelly and he fell. Low blood pressure, apparently. He has been in St Vincents public hospital since then, getting treatment. Today he had three visitors: your sympathetic scribe, Jack, and Mr B.

Tony assured us he has been well fed. Mr B is not so sure. When Tony’s back was turned Mr B grabbed Tony’s plastic bottle of apple juice and took a swig. Mr B says it’s the worst apple juice he has ever tasted.

Good luck, Tony! We hope you’re soon well and back at Speakers’ Corner!

Tony Boyce, modelling Giorgio Armani pyjamas.

3. Mikayla appeared again and explained why a urinal is a piece of art. (See the Duchamp exhibitionin the gallery, which appears to be more like a recycling centre.) She also sank the boot into Israel Folau.

Again, Mikayla did a good job. She spoke fluently, kept the meeting light-hearted, and answered people’s questions.

One of her female friends in the audience was a troublemaker, for asking awkward questions of the other speakers.

Both are welcome back any time.

Duchamp’s work of art.


Mikayla answered the questions put to her.

4. Mark the Grinnerhad a long stint on the ladder of knowledge and prefaced his talk by saying, “Do not believe what I am about to say.” He added, “Your job is to think about what I say and evaluate the merit of my claims.”
“Thank goodness for that advice,” said Mr B, relieved, “I would have believed everything you said without questioning it.”

Mark the Grinner spoke about:
– Israel Folau’s shenanigans.

– The failure of the Labour Party to oppose the coaition’s legislation that increased the powers of our national security organisations.

– Victoria’s ban of mobile phones in schools. Mark said that ban might have the unintended consequence of informing the students that they can indeed survive without their phone for six hours.

– Teleological thinking: beleiving that a phenomenon occurs because it has a purpose. (Eg. A giraffe grew its neck to reach the leaves in high trees, not as a result of natural selection.)

– The difference between evolution and intelligent design.

– Today a big proportion of our young population seem to be suffering from anxiety or depression. Has there been a strong commercialisation of our emotional states?
This idea offended everyone in his audience and they all burst into tears.

– Mark the Grinner then spent ten minutes arguing with a group of twenty-year olds about how all people less than thirty-five years of age should be made into dog food.

At some point in his talk a dear little silver-haired old lady trundled up to him. Mark reached down to hear her whisper to him, “Please don’t use the f word so freely.” Mark the Grinner grinned and made a polite comment to suggest that nowadays it’s an acceptable word to say. However, he managed to talk for another half hour without using the word once. Tamed, by a little old lady.

5. Across the way,Steve Maxwell spoke about our Prime Minister’s contradictions in his stint at the G20, the contradiction being his stances on free trade and national security.

In the brief seconds your peripatetic scribe visited Helmut, Helmut criticised Isaac Newton in three different ways – none of them savoury. It’s a shame Isaac Newton isn’t alive today, because it would be interesting (and fun) to see the two head-to-head, in a battle of the minds.

John August also spoke, but there is no record of what he spoke about. But he has a nice smile, which is the important thing.

John August



6. Peter the Younger also got up onto the Ladder of Knowledge and with the passion of an evangelist preacher spoke to us about climate change. He said that recently the definition of ‘climate change’ has changed, and it’s now a very shonky definition indeed.

With his passion and antics Peter grew the crowd and inspired plenty of debate. He would make an excellent speaker if he spoke permanently.

Peter the Younger creating his own micro-climate.

7. You have four playing cards, two red and two black, shuffled and face down. If you pick two cards at random, are they more likely to be the same colour or different colours?

Further, is there a difference between:
a) choosing one card, looking at it, and then choosing another card, and
b) choosing the two cards at the same time?

8. Mr Bashful respondedto some of Mark the Grinner’s material. He spoke about:

– the real reason why there is so much anxiety and depression, and the possible benefits of counselling.

– why the NSW Art Gallery is more of an investment house than an art gallery.

Michael T Osterholmis a public health scientist and a biosecurity and infectious disease expert in the United States. Mr B remarked that on the ABC’s Drum television program Michael casually made a claim that we won’t mention here, because your diligent scribe has discovered it to be probably false. Mr B, impressed by Michael’s credentials, should have done more research into Michael’s claim before he mentioned it. Shame, Mr B!

how giraffes really evolved long necks.

Giraffes don’t just eat the leaves high in the trees, they also eat aeroplanes.

8. This week’s Unusual Critteris the Asian bear. Completely and utterly harmless to our Facebook page.