Saturday, September 10

"The emperor's new clothes," updated to the current-day United States

As a kid you probably heard the fable called "the emperor’s new clothes.”  In the fable a con-man tells the vain emperor that he has a cloth so exotic that only the most brilliant and enlightened people can even see it! 

He pretends to show a sample of this marvelous cloth to the emperor, but there's nothing there--the con-man is just holding up his empty arms.  Of course the emperor--convinced beyond any doubt that he's both brilliant and incredibly perceptive and enlightened--can't admit he doesn't see anything, since that would mark him as a dullard.  So he pretends that the phantom "cloth" is indeed the most beautiful, amazing material he's ever seen.

On hearing this the con-man offers to make the emperor a magnificent suit of clothes from this allegedly-marvelous cloth--for a handsome price, of course.  And the emperor--thoroughly convinced--eagerly pays.

The story circulates among the townspeople, and is believed by all.  Each person is convinced that only brilliant, enlightened people will be able to see the magic cloth.  When the phantom clothes are delivered the emperor parades down the main street of the town in what he believes is the finest cloth ever seen.  Of course he isn't wearing anything--but since none of his subjects wants to be seen as unenlightened, everyone pretends to be awestruck by the allegedly amazing clothes.

But one young boy, who hasn't heard The Narrative, sees the naked emperor and yells that he's not wearing any clothes.

Of course that fable was written before our enlightened age.  Today the story would be that as soon as the child points out the emperor’s nudity the emperor’s lackeys and thoroughly cowed townspeople immediately try to intimidate the child into silence.  Knowing nothing about political danger the kid  keeps yelling about the spectacle until someone claps a hand over his mouth.

Next day the headline reads: “Child who questioned Emperor’s attire found dead in field outside of town.”


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