For those who have never heard of it, Hans ChristianAnderson wrote a short tale called ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes.’ It’s the story of a vain emperor who gets ‘taken in’ (no pun intended,) by a pair of charlatans, posing as tailors.
These charlatans tell the emperor that they are making a very special suite of clothes for him that anyone who is unfit for their position or “hopelessly stupid,” will not be able to see.
The trick is there are no clothes and the emperor, of course, parades around before his subjects unclothed and no one will say so because they are all afraid of being labeled unfit or stupid. Finally a young boy shouts out that the emperor is wearing no clothes.
This is a bit of an allegory, naturally, of situations which arise when someone keeps himself or herself surrounded by ‘yes men’ who are afraid to speak the truth for fear of losing their job status. It goes on in politics and it goes on in music and the arts.
When I was in music school, the Avant-garde was being championed as the latest, most advanced pinnacle of musical evolution. If you didn’t like the lack of aesthetics in this music, you were told it was because ‘you didn’t understand it.’ Hence people just began to keep silent on the subject and we had to wait a decade for this music to drive away audiences at the symphony concerts so that they started to go broke.
The same thing goes on with pop music since, if you criticize any of it, it’s because you’re simply not ‘hip enough.’
You’re going to lose your job status and get called “hopelessly stupid” if you speak your mind about very much these days.
Actually a this is why a good ruler would keep a ‘fool’ in his court since a fool was known to be crazy and would not get punished for the things he said, hence the ruler could look to his fool for the truth of the matter.