I’d like to write a modern version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” — a more cynical one — with a realistic ending for today’s audience. In this new version, the little boy points out on social media that the emperor is naked but nobody listens to him. Instead, everybody keeps posting grander and grander praise for the emperor’s non-existent clothes. The cognitive dissonance makes the people unable to hear the child who tells them the truth, because they’re getting social media praise — likes and so forth — for their lies. The confused child eventually feels so defeated that he shuts up and walks away. He’s so hurt and disappointed by this that he withdraws from the world and spends years in therapy, trying to figure out whether the rest of the world is crazy or if he’s the crazy one. Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be that little boy, but few want to hear the truth today. Either I’m crazy or else our culture has gone insane.
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