“Speaker’s Circle” is a Mizzou staple. The acoustically tuned circle of brick is frequented primarily by the lion hearted faithful who preach the word of God (read: word of whoever happens to be talking) to an entertained, if critical, student audience. To be clear, many people enjoy their faith in a healthy, positive way. In fact, most people enjoy their faith in a healthy, positive way. But, using a phrase learned from the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, these amateur preachers represent the outlying “1%” of religious America.

Their presence raises many questions:

1.”Who are these people?” (Aging “small business owners’)

2.”What do they want?” (To find self-validation)

3. ”What do you mean “small business’?” (NOT METH LABS. Carpentry, or something.)

4. ”How can I become one of them?”

What a fantastic question. Here are the steps:

            Another question: If a man is speaking in the middle of a circle and no one is listening, does he need a megaphone?

           Dress for success.  You never saw Jesus in a cold medicine stained smock reeking of ammonia and Iowa. If you’re going to get people to believe that you alone have knowledge of the unknowable after-life you can at least sport a pair of dress pants. A little sweater-vest goes a long way too.

            Pick a topic important to you. Ever gotten a limp armed pamphlet flopped haphazardly in your direction as you walked through the quad? How much could you possibly care about the “Off-Campus Housing Fair- Wednesday, November 9th from 10am to 3pm in the Lower Level Lounge of the MU Student Center’ with a weak delivery like that? No one will listen to a flaccid speaker. Thrust your message upon the public with pride, as long as it’s consensual of course. If you’re not creative, pick an easy topic that’s incredibly popular assuring that you will have to do absolutely zero critical thinking. Harry Potter for example.

            Be inflammatory/ have a gimmick. Make it a family affair! Call strangers demeaning names, like mudblood! Whip out a condom””it’s the closest you can get to sex if you’re spending your free time babbling to people power-walking by. No words or labels are off limits because in the circle you’re not a real person with real feelings and neither are the people listening to you since being treated like a human being is context sensitive and that context is not found in Speaker’s Circle. Apparently.

            When in doubt, YELL. Actually, hedge your bets and just yell the whole time. Scream your lungs out like a Mandrake Root recently ripped from the womb of Mother Earth. If religious books were meant to be read and discussed in a reasonable tone, all of the text wouldn’t be printed in 114-point font. Since all religious books are written in 114-point font, they are basically begging to be shouted. Which is good because otherwise you’d look like a complete asshole using doctrines of peace and elaborate and revered moral stories to further your own hypocritical private agenda. That would be a total dick move. You would never see that from the current speakers, they are brave and deserve our respect.

           

The current team of speakers continues to set the bar for intellectual discourse high, and it’s up to all newcomers to keep it classy. Sometimes though, it takes more than just a brilliant and comprehensive set of guidelines to gain a true understanding of the complex task of speaking in a circle. I made a video example, you’re welcome. One final tip: Since your stage is circular, so should your logic. Now get to speakin’!

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