Once upon a time there was a powerful politician was exceedingly fond of new clothes and spent lavishly on his wardrobe. He changed outfits constantly and used his meetings and public appearances to show off his fashion sense. Friend and foe alike agreed that he was the best-dressed man around.
In the capital city in which he lived, life was one big party. Every day the politician met new and interesting people. Some of them were honest, but some of them were not. And two in particular were first-rate swindlers. They told the politician that they could give him the finest suit the world had ever seen if he had the money for it. The politician had grown wealthy from insider trading, so of course he was willing to pay.
“This suit is special,” said the swindlers. “It’s made by a high-tech startup that uses an organic, fair-trade, cybernetic silk that is so pure it can only be seen by intelligent, virtuous, and well-educated people such as yourself.”
“This will be perfect!” thought the politician. “If somebody can’t see this clothing, it means they’re not on my side! I’ll be able to tell the good people from the bad!” Barely able to contain his enthusiasm, he paid the swindlers a large amount of money to begin work at once on the new suit.
In time, the suit was ready. The swindlers held up their hands, pretending to hold a suit while in reality holding nothing. “What do you think?” they asked.
The politician didn’t know how to react. “This is organic, fair-trade, cybernetic silk,” he thought. “It’s the finest in the world. Why can’t I see it?” But he didn’t want to let on that he could not see anything.
“Spectacular!” he exclaimed. “Let’s try it on!” He stripped down to his underwear and the swindlers pretended to help him into his new outfit. At once the politician called in his advisors–the businessman, the journalist, the holy man, and the intern–to see his new clothing. “This is my latest and greatest outfit,” he proclaimed. “It’s made from organic, fair-trade, cybernetic silk that is so pure it can only be seen by intelligent, virtuous, and well-educated people. I love it! What do you think?”
The businessman was taken aback. “He’s wearing nothing but his underwear,” thought the businessman, “but I can’t let on that I don’t see anything.” Fortunately the businessman had an MBA so he knew what to say in situations like this. “That looks great!” he said. “It’s Clothing 2.0! This will revolutionize the way people think about clothing!”
The politician beamed with pride.
The journalist was surprised, but she had a master’s degree in journalism so she knew how to handle occasions like these. “This will make a great story!” said the journalist. “The king of politics has a new look–and his rivals are struggling to keep up!”
Music to the politician’s ears!
The holy man was caught off guard by the reaction, but he had a doctorate in theology and had access to metaphysical truths. “Praise God!” exclaimed the holy man. “If everyone could appreciate such finery, there would be no sin in the world!”
The politician felt he had the whole world within his grasp.
“What the hell is going on?” said the intern.
The politician, the businessman, the journalist, and the holy man reacted with a stunned silence.
“He’s walking around in his underwear. There’s no new suit.”
The swindlers looked worried, until the businessman spoke up.
“Well, I don’t expect the entire world to get Clothing 2.0,” he said. “It’s not the kind of thing everybody can wrap their head around.”
“Indeed!” said the journalist. “There are certain fashions and conventions that small minds find threatening.”
“I am very concerned for your soul,” said the holy man to the intern. “I suggest you repent and think about what you’ve done.”
The poor intern returned home and was fired the next day. The businessman started a new business to promote Clothing 2.0 and made a fortune. The journalist became respected and powerful as the chronicler of the new movement. And the holy man reached many more souls with what he called “The Clothing Gospel”.
And the politician? Thanks to his new clothing he became so popular he was elected emperor! It was a happy ending for all except the intern, who was no longer welcome at fashionable parties in the city. A once-promising career ended before it even started. The intern currently works at a restaurant in a small town far outside the capital city and is hoping to get back into politics someday.