by Mike McVay
October 10, 2022
The expression “The Emperor has no clothes” comes from Hans Christian Andersen’s folktale titled “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” The tale tells the story of two swindlers pulling a fraud on an exhibitionistic emperor, who is obsessed with clothing and fashion by telling him and his court, that they will tailor an outfit that can only be seen by the wise.
This results in nobody acknowledging that the emperor is in fact naked. This continues until the very end of the tale when the emperor is displaying his new outfit publicly. The emperor’s presumed inviolability is desecrated by a village boy when the youngster cries out, “The emperor has no clothes!” The facade is suddenly shattered.
The expression, be it as was written originally using “Emperor” or as is often said “King”, is one that pops up in conversation from time to time. Often when something that’s obvious is being ignored. Frequently as a way to magnify the item that’s being ignored. Mostly referencing whoever represents the “Emperor” that everyone else sees whatever it is that’s going unmentioned. Except for the leader of the kingdom.
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