Soapbox Square

A public square or park where all sorts of people (possibly including the Soapbox Sadie) can be found making impassioned speeches about various subjects; usually political, but sometimes rather more bizarre. Crowds will gather to variously cheer or jeer. Generally, the quality of the speeches made won't be very high, and will be on such topics as outlandish conspiracy theories, how things were better back in the old days and the verbal equivalent of the Strongly Worded Letter. In short, at a Soapbox Square you will see very few well spoken gentleman but a heaping helping of babbling loons.


Examples:

Film
  • Brian, the title character in Monty Python's Life of Brian, hides out from the authorities in a plaza filled with speechifying mystics and prophets and starts spouting nonsense in order to blend in. Problem is the crowd thinks he's the First Coming.

Literature
  • Blueberry Park in Daniel Pinkwater's story The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death, where three speakers go on simultaneously about the virtues of vegetarianism, getting the British out of Kenya, and demonic possession. The protagonist then decides to make a speech himself and brave the hecklers.
  • In the Discworld novel Jingo, Sator Square is described as generally holding several ranters, haranguers, and self-absorbed mumblers at any given time, all of which declaim at the top of their voices. The crowds generally cheer them no matter what they're actually saying, to egg them on.

Theatre
  • In Let 'Em Eat Cake, Union Square, Manhattan is where Kruger proclaims his anti-everything platform. Mary also happens to be selling her blue shirts there, and this is how they become the uniform of the revolution.

Tabletop RPG
  • Sigil has The Hall of Speakers. Anyone may come, check in and speak whatever they want when the podium isn't occupied by usual factions's bickering or (very rarely) some sane attempt at law-making. Just don't be surprised if a boring speech summons a rain of rotten tomatoes. From Abyss.

Video Games
  • The Game Of The Ages: A man in the Laorsis square stands on a soapbox to protest littering. His soapbox turns out to be the object of this particular puzzle, and you use it several times in your later adventures.
  • In Mass Effect 2, on Omega there is a batarian religious fanatic going on long rants about the evils of humanity. The humorous part is that his entire audience is a group of curious humans.
    Mad Prophet: You, sir! You are a blight!

Web Animation

Western Animation
  • In The Simpsons, a lot of big speeches seem to be made near the statue of Jebediah Springfield.
  • One pops up in South Park when the economy crashes. Named characters who speak there include Eric Cartman, Randy Marsh, and Kyle Broflovski.

Real Life
  • Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, London; also known as The Geopolitical Centre of the Planet.
  • In ancient Rome, speakers could do this at the Forum.
  • Some universities have a special area near the quad where campus speech codes are not enforced. Naturally, this brings the weirdoes out of the woodwork.