The Naked Emperor by
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As a young kid I’m sure when The Emperor’s New Clothes was read to me I was delighted by a boy much wiser than the grownups,  and unafraid to laugh at the foolish and naked ruler.

And later when I was older and read the tale myself I surely appreciated the clever satire,  the pomposity and the egotism of the emperor,  and the deviousness and the cowardice of his sycophants.

But now as a grownup in Trumpworld,  Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale seems to have lost its innocence and some of its charm.

These days it hits too close to home.

RetroFlash / 100 Words

Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: The Emperor’s New Clothes, Fairy tales, Retro Flash


  1. John Shutkin says:

    Great Retroflash, Dana. And, in fact, as soon as I saw your title but before I had read it, I thought, “Hmmmm….Wonder if Dana will draw the obvious parallel to Trump.” And, of course, you brilliantly have.

    Unfortunately, even as we in the reality-based world have seen that Trump is naked for some time — and what a nauseating image that is — his slavish cult still envisions him covered in shining gold. Sickening.

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    I completely agree, Dana. When are people going to wake up and see what a fraud/con artist that man is? Very depressing that people are so easily duped by someone who is clearly the emperor with no clothes. MAGA red-hats have turned into a cult; very dangerous.

  3. Susan Bennet says:

    I too loved The Emperor, Dana, and as you say the appreciation of it matures along with us. I think kids find it funny because he is naked. It wouldn’t have the same effect if he was just wearing rags and thought he was grand.

    As for the politics, IMO whatever side of the aisle one prefers I think we have to agree that too many politicians stay too long, which can lead to arrogance, which can lead ultimately to a lack of accountability. Just this week I saw a veteran Senator actually turn his back and hustle away from reporters just asking him questions. Perhaps he is an emperor in his own mind. It’s a disappointing state of affairs.

  4. Marian says:

    Amusing cover, Dana, but no longer funny with Trump. Same old story, alas.

  5. Suzy says:

    Thanks for this RetroFlash, Dana. I always loved that story too. Irresistible to have a child who is smarter than the grown-ups. Wish we could find such a child who the MAGA folks would listen to now.

  6. Khati Hendry says:

    This fairy tale was on my mind in 2016, and I kept waiting for the little boy and the people to respond. But no matter how many exposures (forgive me) have occurred, it doesn’t seem enough.

  7. If I knew fencing terminology better, I would use the right words to tell you that you scored with this one! Right on point. Or as Jackie Gleason used to say, “pow, right in the kisser!”

  8. Laurie Levy says:

    Amen, Dana. Do you think his base will ever realize that he’s naked, missing of all the qualities any reasonable leader needs? Most of them are too afraid to point out his nakedness until they are thrown under the bus or decide to write a book.

  9. The choice of illustrations truly made the message of this essay more powerful!
    I grew up learning that “the people” were way ahead of “the elites,”; for example, it was the latter that engineered us into Viet Nam while the former became more and more disenchanted. It has gotten harder to figure out what is going on as the consciousness of so many non-elite people (at least, so many of the “white” segment of the non-elite) has gotten completely warped. We see the emperor naked, and they wish only to help him flush his gold-plated toilet.

  10. Suzy says:

    Hi Dana, this is a test, so no need to approve. Just email me if you receive a notification about this comment.

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