|The Emperor's New Clothes
(the politically correct version)
by James Finn Garner
Material (text) copyright James Finn Garner. All rights reserved.
|Far away in a time long past, there lived a traveling tailor who found himself in an unfamiliar country.
Now, tailors who move from place to place normally keep to themselves and are careful not to overstep
the bounds of local decency. This tailor, though, was overly gregarious and decorum-impaired, and
soon he was at a local inn, abusing alcohol, invading the personal space of the female employees,
and telling unenlightened stories about tinkers, dung-gatherers, and other tradespeople.
The innkeeper complained to the police, who grabbed the tailor and dragged him in front of the emperor. As you might
expect, a lifetime of belief in the absolute legitimacy of the monarch and in the inherent superiority of males had turned
the emperor into a vain and wisdom-challenged tyrant. The tailor noticed these traits and decided to use them to his
The emperor asked, "Do you have any last request before I banish you from my domain forever?"
The tailor replied, Only that your majesty allow me the honor of crafting a new royal wardrobe. For I have
brought with me a special fabric that is so rare and fine that it can only be seen by certain people -- the type of
people you'd want to have in your realm -- people who are politically correct, morally righteous, intellectually
astute, culturally tolerant, and who don't smoke, drink, laugh at sexist jokes, watch too much television, listen to
country music, or barbecue."
After a moment's thought, the emperor agreed to this request. He was flattered by the fascist and testosterone-
heavy idea that the empire and its inhabitants existed only to make him look good. It would be like having a
trophy wife and multiplying that feeling by 100,000.
Of course, no such rarefied fabric existed. Years of living outside the bounds of normal society had forced the
tailor to develop his own moral code that obliged him to swindle and embarrass the emperor in the name of
independent craftspeople everywhere. So, as he diligently labored, he was able to convince the emperor that he
was cutting and sewing pieces of fabric that, in the strictest objective sense of reality, didn't exist.
When the tailor announced that he was finished, the emperor looked at his new robes in the mirror. As he stood there, naked as the day he was born,
one could see how years of exploiting the peasantry had turned his body into an ugly mass of puffy white flesh. The emperor, of course, saw this too,
but pretended that he could see the beautiful, politically correct robes. To show off his new splendor, he ordered a parade to be held the next day.
On the following morning, his subjects lined the streets for the big parade. Word had spread about the emperor's new clothes that only enlightened
people with healthy lifestyles could see, and everyone was determined to be more right-minded than his or her neighbor.
The parade began with great hoopla. As the emperor marched his pale, bloated, patriarchal carcass down the street, everyone loudly oohed and ahed
at his beautiful new clothes. All except one small boy, who shouted:
"The emperor is naked!"
The parade stopped. The emperor paused. A hush fell over the crowd, until one of quick-thinking peasant shouted:
"No he isn't! The emperor is merely endorsing a clothing-optional lifestyle!"
A cheer went up from the crowd, and the throngs stripped off their clothes and danced in the sun, as Nature had intended. The country was
clothing-optional from that day forward, and the tailor, deprived of any livelihood, packed up his needle and thread and was never heard from again.