Another Flat Earth Free Free Zone

The creationists aren’t very amusing today, so we’ll entertain ourselves with some Flat Earth news. But first — to bring you up to date, here’s our foundational post on the topic: The Earth Is Flat!

And now for the news. It begins with this thrilling headline: Man handcuffed, dragged away by police after yelling ‘Earth is flat’ during Governor-General’s Anzac speech. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Dame Cindy Kiro [Governor-General of New Zealand] took to the podium at the Pukeahu War Memorial during the capital’s Anzac ceromony, but before Dame Kiro could get in front of the microphones the man saw his opportunity. “The earth is flat!” he was heard yelling.

Not your typical political outcry, but it’s certainly not the worst we’ve heard. You’re probably wondering what happened next. The newspaper says:

The heckling didn’t stop Dame Cindy from speaking, but as she addressed Wellingtonians, footage captured by a Newshub camera operator shows the man surrounded by three police officers in the middle of the crowd.

Being a flat-earther is illegal in New Zealand? Apparently so. The newspaper then tells us:

Attendees can be seen watching on as police put the man’s hands behind his back and handcuff them. [Gasp!] Footage shows two police officers on either side of the man escorting him out of the crowd.

How cruel! Here’s the rest of the story:

A police spokesperson said in a statement that the man was taken into custody earlier today for a breach of peace. The man has since been released.

That’s all we can find, so we’re declaring another Intellectual Free Fire Zone. We’re open for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, or even astrology, theology, mythology, and sociology — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it!

Copyright © 2022. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

13 responses to “Another Flat Earth Free Free Zone

  1. No, being crazy is not illegal here in New Zealand, and we have our fair share of flat earthers. I once gave a short talk on Eratosthenes to a bunch of very conservative Christians to demonstrate how powerful science is (I didn’t think it prudent to talk about evolution). My talk was well received, but one guy told me next day that this is all nonsense. Why? Because the earth is flat.

  2. @Hans435: Do your flat earth fans realize they must be standing with their heads pointed downward?

  3. And how do they keep from falling off being on the bottom side of the planet?

  4. Dave Luckett

    It might perhaps puzzle Americans that someone can be removed from a public event by the police for shouting crazy nonsense. “Is there no right of free speech in NZ?” they will ask.

    Yes, there is, but like all rights whatsoever, free speech has its limits. Two aspects to this event are relevant. One, it was an Anzac Day ceremony. Anzac Day, 25 April, is probably our most important national day in Australia and New Zealand, and it is a day of remembrance and mourning for our dead in all the wars. Two, the Governor-general was speaking. Governors-general are our formal head of state when Her Majesty the Queen is not present. They represent her, and more, they represent the nation itself. The office is not political, has almost no political power, and is not elective. When the Governor-general speaks at a national event, he or she is speaking for the nation. So might the President of the United States, and I hope that he or she would be heard with deference, on such an occasion..

    That’s why heckling at this event was likely to cause “a breach of the peace”. There is no free speech right to cause such a breach. The police were within their remit to prevent the likelihood of it by removing the heckler, detaining him for the duration of the ceremony, and cautioning him.

  5. Derek Freyberg

    @Dave Luckett:
    I think that people here in the US have come to expect a total lack of decorum, whether from speakers or the audience, in public life (Trump, on almost all occasions; Marjorie Taylor Greene; the Congressman who shouted “You Lie!” at President Obama as he delivered a State of the Union speech; the list goes on and on), whereas people like you and me – I grew up in New Zealand in the 1950s and 60s – expect that a certain politeness and formality will prevail on occasions like Anzac Day.
    I’d rather the standard didn’t need police enforcement, but … there we are.

  6. Dave Luckett

    @Derek Freyberg:
    POTUS is head of government as well as head of state, an office of great political power, to which the incumbent is elected, being endorsed by and becoming ex officio the head of a political party. It is part and parcel of that office to advocate or oppose contentious policy, and to do so in the heat of political battle. It is hardly surprising that the line between what may be said to that end, and what may not, depending on the occasion, becomes difficult to discern, and is sometimes overstepped by the incumbent and others.

    To my mind, the two offices should be separated, so that there is a clear distinction. The Head of State must be able to speak for, and to represent the nation with complete impartiality, unaffected by party or faction. The office should not be filled by a political process, but by a completely impersonal one, such as primogeniture (with Parliamentary consent), and the incumbent must know that he or she can never voice a political opinion, let alone act in furtherance of one.

    You can say that this leaves nothing but ceremonial – ribbon cutting, festival opening, building dedication, that sort of thing – and you’d be mostly right. But only mostly. There are occasions when the nation needs someone to speak for all of us, someone who represents all of us, not a party, not a government, not a section or an opinion, faction or congregation. All of us.

    I recall the atrocity at Lockerbie, Scotland, December, 1988. The villagers gathered in the church to mourn their dead. The Prime Minister came, and the Chief Minister of Scotland, and the Leaders of the Opposition, and the heads of the Churches, and others, all representing their constituencies. But only one person could represent all of us, not only all the people of Britain, but of the Commonwealth as well, united in outrage and grief – and the Queen came, to do that.

    Her Majesty has done pretty well, on the whole. You can say that she should have gone, with the Prince of Wales, to Aberfan at the time. I agree. But on the other hand there were political ramifications to that. An enquiry was pending, and heads might have been going to roll. They didn’t, but the Queen could not have been associated with any outcome, yea or nay. She also came up short over the death of Princess Diana. But Grenfell Tower saw her again fulfil the role uniquely hers. And that she instructed the band to play “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the changing of the guard the day after 9/11 probably did more for British-US relations than twenty summit meetings.

    We are in the last years of her reign. Whether her heirs and successors will do as well, I cannot say. I can’t even say whether there will be any such. But Elizabeth II has done well, and so long as someone like her is the Monarch, the thing will work.

  7. @abeastwood
    No! That’s the beauty of the flat earth theory, you don’t need to stand with your feet up pointing to the firmament, with your head down. We are all standing straight up, wherever you are.

  8. I’ve forgotten. How come you folks in Australia, New Zealand, etc. see the Southern Cross overhead; while we in North America and Europe see the Bears overhead? The Zodiac is mostly in the south for us, and north for you. Our heads point northward, yours point southward.

  9. It is well known that the cats would have knocked everything off of the Earth by now if it was flat.

  10. I remember the first thing when Queen Elizabeth came to the throne was she sat down.

  11. Found another delightful quote from the very progressive St. Augustine, the God-mindreader who doesn’t take the Bible literally, “You must use the whip, use it! God allows it. Rather, he is angered if you do not lash the slave. But do it in a loving and not a cruel spirit.”

  12. sallyhawksworth

    I’m with Dave on this. A public ceremony commemorating those who died in conflict is not a time for protest demonstrations, any more than a funeral would be. To do that is deeply disrespectful to the mourners,. Whoever disturbs the ceremony should be removed. In this case the demonstrator seems to have been proclaiming completely irrelevant views anyway. What has the shape of the earth got to do with whether those soldiers died? He appears to have been mentally unstable, but if harmless should be allowed to shout his nonsense at the NZ equivalent of Speaker’s Corner – just not during public ceremonies. Or interrupt plays or disrupt sporting fixtures.

    I’don’t approve of heckling Heads of State doing their official duties either, however obnoxious they are as individuals. The protestor should wait for an occasion when they are making a speech on the actual issue of contention, or campaigning for re-election, not when they’re launching a ship or opening a hospital.

  13. Just noticed a hilarious thing where Jesus says “Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” [Fools! Don’t ask for things!] and then in another place he says “Ask, and it will be given to you;” [Fools! You gotta ask first!]