In Defence of The Emperor’s New Clothes
Temitope Ajileye
80011

I think you may be the descendent of one of those tailors!

If the emperor’s new clothes had not been exhibited, would they still qualify as art?

The system you describe works efficiently to maintain the concept of exclusivity (scarcity) as a repository for value. If the valued art itself is to the taste and acknowledgement of many, the exclusivity (initial scarcity created by unpredictability: no-one can tell what will be considered “art”)is lost; the excluded’s revenge (ridicule)is almost needed as confirmation that the valuation system works.

There are no jesters inside the court of modern art.

Modern art is “art” then, a system that satirises itself?

The most valuable thing the emperor has is not his body, per se, but his power. Absolute power corrupting reality (his nakedness and people’s enforced curation of their real perception of it), absolutely.

So the new clothes (like the system you describe) in fact, if anything, are a communal artwork demonstrating the truth of how power structures are themselves monuments to the defining vulnerability of human nature: fear’s abiding ability to warp reality and judgement- as opposed to just making you run til your heart may burst and then getting back to grazing etc.

On reading the story, we are taught that it is safe to laugh — but only at a distance - afterwards, out of hearing, among the like-minded. Away from the judges.

BTW in the original tale, only a bastard wouldn’t be able to see the clothes…highest stakes for an emperor! …taste/refinement didn’t come in to it.

And the one who was completely excluded from the system was the only person who valued the truth and dared to point out the nakedness and end the con...still got beaten for his pains, though. Hell hath no fury like a naked emperor revealed. Power need not be gracious.

A very literal demonstration of the concept of “legitimacy” and its vulnerabilities.

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