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The Emperor's New Clothes Syndrome

The Emperor's new clothes
The Emperor's new clothes

Today's post was prompted by an article that I had read in The Guardian newspaper.
An article written by the author Paulo Coelho about his thoughts and opinions on James Joyce's book Ulysses.
Read the article here.

It is also worth reading the comments on said article.

James Joyce's Ulysses
James Joyce's Ulysses

James Joyce's Ulysses is considered by some to be
"The best book in the world"

I beg to differ, I have tried to read this book more times than I can remember, I don't think that I have ever got more than half way.

Now, I am no great author but I am a great reader, a random list of books, classics, new classics, poetry, biographies, chic lit, fiction and non Fiction.

I am never without a book or two or three on the go.
I have never not finished a book, however much I disliked it, except for this one, Ulysses!

On the other hand I have read Coelho and enjoyed him.

Paulo Coelho The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho The Alchemist

Maybe Coelho was a bit strong with his wording :

 " James Joyces's Ulysses is harmful to literature"

but, it was his opinion, he didn't like the book.

 He was honest but what an uproar in response to his opinion, how dare he malign one of the world's great writers?

This makes me wonder how many of the objectors really liked the book, how many had actually read it?

This brings me to the story of the Emperor's new clothes.

The Emperor's new clothes
The Emperor's new clothes

Most of us probably know the story of the Emperor's new clothes by Hans Christian Andersen, for those who don't , here's a short summary.

A couple of wiley tailors promise the Emperor, who only cares about wearing and displaying clothes,  that they will weave him an invisible suit that only smart, intelligent people will have the ability to see, stupid ,ignorant people will see nothing.

The suit is finished and presented to the Emperor, the tailors mime the actions of dressing him in it, of course, the Emperor can see nothing but is afraid to appear stupid.

He parades his suit before his subjects, who have heard all about the invisible suit.

 They oooh and ahhh, oh how exquisite, playing along with him for the same reason.

A small boy, too young (and honest) to understand the meaning of all this, shouts aloud, look the Emperor has no clothes, he is naked !!

Maybe a large number of people who rave about James Joyce's book "Ulysses" have the  "Emperor's new clothes syndrome"?

All I know is that I don't like it but I accept that maybe it is a very good book, we all have different tastes.

 The point is, I am honest, I don't care if I am ridiculed for not liking it, I don't read books to appear as something that I am not.

Are some afraid of looking unintelligent if they say they don't like it, if they have a friend that they regard as clever and praises the book, do they think oh well so and so likes it, it must be good?

So they just become one of the flock, a sheep, and go along with everyone else.


We have all done it, I know I have, in my younger years especially, wanting to "fit in" by wearing things that I didn't really like, listening to the "right" music, pretending to like it when I thought it was terrible!

Thinking is was the thing to do..."fit in" follow the crowd.
If only I knew then that different is better !

It does need a lot of confidence and a strong character as a young teenager though to be different and if you are, what happens ?
 A trend is set!
People start following you have to start being different all over again!

The Emperor's new clothes syndrome is every where, It's head pops up in art, in food, the "in" place for holidays

Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko

Famous artist Mark Rothko...two schools of thought here, either..brilliant, what talent or...I could do that.


Caviar, how many absolutely adore it darling or just think that they should absolutely adore it darling!

Politically correctness, how many are really politically correct because they believe it is the only way to be...or are just scared not to be?

Politically correctness
Politically correctness

Jeremy Clarkson comes into his own with his un-politically correctness.
I am a sure many people agree with what he comes out with but are just too afraid to say it.

Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson

Here is one of the funnier PC
"titles" I have seen.


Another is the correct way to say a person is short..."vertically challenged"

I read a brilliant comment on Facebook by a lady bored by the tour de France cycling this year in Yorkshire.

She had stopped telling her friends that she was really bored after the weeks and weeks of preparation, seeing all about it every time she turned on the television etc. because they shouted at her for being miserable.

After that, she pretended that she thought it was absolutely fabulous.
Anything for a quiet life!

People can't believe that I don't like Brad Pit...I don't, I don't like
"pretty boys"

I like this !

Add caption
Jack Nicholson

and this!

Jean Reno
Jean Reno

and this!

Serge Gainsbourgh
Serge Gainsbourgh

My Greek God (MGG) on taking my Father to see the Acroplis when he first visited Athens....

"It's just a pile of old stones"

I suppose it is but he did give my Father a laugh...he gave his honest opinion though.

The Acropolis Athens
The Acropolis Athens

This is not about always being right or that your's is the only opinion to count, it is about being honest, about being yourself and if that means being different....

Be different!


  1. Lovely post Susan !!!

  2. Fabulous Post. I guess in the sixties we all followed the crowd. A great era. Shared, and to my Pinterest board - art, and Blogger Land - I'm already a fan of your writing.


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