2 mins read

Wrong Lessons From The Emperor’s New Clothes

That complaining about somebody else is good…

Everybody likes the story about The Emperor’s New Clothes. What’s not to like? A pompous king, the pretentious court, some swindling tailors, and a truthful child.

But the other day after thinking about it, I’m not so sure we aren’t getting another subliminal message from the tale…


Standing up for truth

On the surface, we all agree that the story talks about the naive, childlike, thought process that can cut through the bull.

And tell it like it is.

Except of course when the invisible clothes are really hidden issues we don’t want to discuss.

Things like:

  • “I’m going to smoke (and die), it’s ok.”
  • “This extra donut won’t make a difference.”
  • “Scolding my kids for no good reason will make them tougher, and that’s good.”

No, those are the truths that still don’t get discussed – I mean something different.

Tear down the new or different

The story gives everyone the right – and encouragement – to bring down the supposed purveyors of invisible clothes.

That haircut you didn’t like? It’s someone else’s idea of style, but you can clearly see that it’s a “no clothes” situation.

You should point it out.

The new show about nothing? It’s completely lacking in value or humor – be sure to tell everyone how asinine it is.

That project your friend recently started? Not going anywhere. You’re doing him a favor by telling him right now that he’s not wearing any clothes.

Not for me

Godin has expanded on the concept of “Not For Me” since this post by that name a couple years ago – And I like it.

Just because I’m not interested in something doesn’t mean it isn’t interesting to someone, somewhere.

I could pick some niche in nearly any aspect of public life – food, music, clothing – and find parts that really don’t appeal to me.

It’s not that it’s invisible…

Sure – I may not care for techno music – but the hottest techno tunes are really significant to people that do care.

And it’d be a shame to stand up and say “that music has no taste!”

But we’ve learned it’s all right

Yup – it’s ok to be the little kid that points out the Emperor has no clothes.

That little kid is adorable…

But your negativeness isn’t.