Thursday, January 10, 2013

Emperor's New Clothes

There is a reference in my blurb (located to the right on this blog) to the Emperor's new clothes and how I identify with the child in that story. This was a commonly shared parable when I was little, written by Hans Christian Andersen, and familiar to everyone (or so I thought).

Recently, I discovered that it has fallen out of favor, is no longer routinely taught to children, and realized many of you may be unfamiliar with what my reference means. It's a commonality with human beings to pretend to understand things we don't in order to save face. 

I'm that one person in however many who is curious enough to come out and ask when I don't understand something. I am like that young child, too unaware or unconcerned with social norms to care, who asks the questions and points out the truth. 

Without further ado, here is the summary of The Emperor's New Clothes. From Wikipedia:

A vain Emperor who cares for nothing except wearing and displaying clothes hires two swindlers who promise him the finest, best suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or "hopelessly stupid". The Emperor's ministers cannot see the clothing themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions and the Emperor does the same. Finally the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk play along with the pretense not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid. Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor cringes, suspecting the assertion is true, but continues the procession.

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