31. Big changes for Speakers’ Corner.

“America is the only country where a significant proportion of the population believes that professional wrestling is real but the moon landing was faked.”
David Letterman

1. Big changes. Mr B talked for a few minutes (about trees again!) and was interrupted twenty-seven times. Then, as planned, he stepped off the Ladder of Knowledge and was replaced by Mark the Grinner. Mr Grinner immediately began entertaining the crowd with his humour. He spoke easily and fluently on a wide range of unorthodox topics. He kept the crowd interested. Then he gave Mirko a go.

It’s a mistake he won’t be making again.

Yes, Mark the Grinner will be speaking again in the near future! That’s a good thing, because Mr Grinner is a very good speaker indeed.

Next week Maria will be up on the Ladder of Knowledge, and she will be just as good. Things are looking up for Speakers’ Corner.

2. Mr Grinner gave us a long listof topics to choose from. All of them sounded interesting. Someone wanted to know why he believed that people who want children should never be allowed to have them. He answered by pointing out that many people want children because:
a) they have been taught by society they want them.
b) they want their children to fulfil their own unfulfilled dreams.
c) it’s a way to gain status.
Mr Grinner said that when he becomes Emperor, no parent will be allowed to raise their biological child. Parents will only be allowed to raise children that aren’t theirs. If someone doesn’t agree to that, they will not be permitted to have a child. If someone doesn’t agree to have a baby of another colour, they will not be permitted to have a child. Emperor Grinner says people can have children for the right reasons only.

He was just getting started!

Mark the Grinner

3. Mark the Grinner’s other topics(before he lost the ladder to Mirko and Helmut) were:
– You are probably an asshole.Mark drew upon studies which discovered that when someone is given a significant advantage when competing with others, they don’t acknowledge that advantage when they win. Instead, they look down on their competitors and treat them badly.

– Be prepared to be offended.If you are offended by what someone says, use the incident to explore why. Engage with the other person instead of simply shutting them out. When you take offence it’s a flag to say there could be an interesting discussion that requires tolerance and sensitivity. If you allow yourself to be offended, you’re being juvenile, said Mr Grinner.

Young people are clueless.(You had to be there.)

You do not suffer from anxiety.(Why weren’t you there?!)

– The Messiah is not recognised.
This was this topic that had your scribe doubting the wisdom of Mr Grinner. Mr Grinner said that just over 2,000 years ago, baby Jesus was visited by three wise men bearing gifts. They had come to declare that the little fellow was the messiah. Mark the Grinner said he believed the messiah had returned to Earth sixty years ago, as promised, and had been born in Australia. However, because of Australia’s strict immigration laws, the three wise men couldn’t get in to visit the baby and declare he was the messiah. As a result, the messiah grew up unrecognised.

That’s when things got shaky. Mark the Grinner produced a photograph that does, admittedly, seem to suggest that the messiah is among us.

Still, this scribe has doubts. But just in case Mark the Grinner is on the money, this scribe will be treating Mr B with more respect from now on.

4. Speaking of Mr B: he, Mirko, Helmut, Ray and Steve Maxwell did their thing too. This scribe has no idea what they talked about. That’s not because they were unintelligible, though they may well have been; it was because your not-so-diligent scribe didn’t get around to listening to them.

Except for one instance: Mr B “moderated” a vigorous discussion on women’s rights and sexuality. Strong views were expressed, yet there was no animosity and no nastiness. Speakers’ Corner really is the place to discuss issues openly, and get things off your chest.

Oh, and Steve Maxwell is not just a speaker, he is an artist. Lately he has been bringing along his art, and discussing art in general.

5. This week our Unusual AnimalSeries presents to you the Chinese Water Deer, which has chosen to unsubscribe from our Facebook Pagebecause it was offended by something Mark the Grinner said.