Let me tell you a story then ask you a question

Let me tell you a story about a handsome ginger 40 year old man at a conference in an East Asian advanced industrial democracy. He’s the quiet, mumbling Scot type and he either likes to keep himself to himself or be warned if he has to do something super social like give a speech to over 100 academics at a conference. So, just on the off chance that he wins this lottery, he asks a friendly colleague ‘are there speeches at this reception?’ The reply was to the effect that some people from other countries may *want * to give a speech, but you’re OK. So, your man relaxes a bit and goes along prepared to stand and look pretty for a while. You can see where this is going, can’t you? He meets the nice chair of the exchange committee who asks him to give a speech. OK, sure, why not? Maybe for a few seconds or a minute? Well, maybe 2-3 minutes. Now, this young fellow (yes, 40 is young; yes, it is) is remarkably non-nervous because he has given all manner of inadequate speeches in his time. So, nothing remarkable there. But here’s the thing: he can see, from the other speeches, that the microphone is not amplifying well and people are not really listening to the other speeches. Plus, even if they were listening, they would really have to be within earshot and really, really trying to listen to be able to hear. So, he gets introduced and goes up to say his name, where he’s from, and to thank his colleagues for inviting him – which takes, say, 6 seconds. Then he hands back the microphone and everyone gets on with their evening. Now, I reckon he reckons that it is possible that no-one heard what he said. On that basis, my question to you is; did the speech exist?

UPDATE: Here are a couple of pictures to prove I was there at some point. These were taken after I gave my paper and everyone had left


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Filed under Academic innovation or navel gazing

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