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Lessons in fashion and tailoring [Mar. 17th, 2009|03:12 pm]
[Current Mood |anxiouspowerless]

When we hear the tale, we all smile smugly at the cowardly townfolk who admired the naked emperor parading down the street. Surely, *I* would be the one brave enough to speak out! Surely *I* would not leave it to the gormless child to speak truth to power. Surely, in the face of such foolishness, *I* would be braver and wiser than all the sycophants fawning and bowing.

But it isn't always about one's own worth, one's own place in society. Sometimes the emperor is holding hostages. Which is the superior path: to speak truth, or to use silence?

Neither feels particularly good.

[User Picture]From: mishamish
2009-03-17 07:38 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I think I would be more likely to accept all the commentary on the Emperor's clothes with a blank-faced nod - possibly an accompanying grunt - while thinking "Fuck that shit... dude's naked as the day he was born."

(And possibly thinking "Dude... Emporer... either get some more opaque clothes or get some of those pills the spammers are always talking about... seriously.")
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[User Picture]From: gardenwaltz
2009-03-17 07:50 pm (UTC)
In real life? I would refrain from criticizing the Emperor's lifestyle choices.

In your scenario? I am afraid that you have either stretched the metaphor too far or described the situation too vaguely for me to give an intelligent response.
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[User Picture]From: tylik
2009-03-17 07:58 pm (UTC)
I have a long history of being the one to say unpleasant things to people in positions of authority. Generally we were all at least theoretically on the same side, but I sometimes wonder how much this shaped my experience as a manager. I definitely managed "down" not "up" - I was very protective and supportive of my people, and didn't put much energy into kissing ass. I told myself I was valued for being the person to go to upper management and explain why the project wasn't going to work as spec'd (or on time, or whatever) and often I was the first person who could see the larger picture and put together the numbers that showed that yeah, it wasn't just that we were having transient problems, there were bigger deeper problems... but this must have changed how people looked at me.

This isn't my most adaptive character trait. I have been very willing to cut off my own nose despite my face. There are probably other lessons I could have learned from the devastation wrought by people having power over me, but it's pretty gut-deep.

Hostages? I try not to have hostages. And it becomes "it depends."
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[User Picture]From: greybeta
2009-03-17 08:02 pm (UTC)
Speech is silver, silence is golden. I guess it depends on which you value more...
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From: caudelac
2009-03-17 08:11 pm (UTC)
I'd be the one who would totally be looking at all of my friends and giggling in a voice too low for the Emperor to hear. And then, in a louder voice,

"Well, I must be an idiot, coz I sure don't see the amazing clothes!"

while I'm not so good at the whole truth to power thing, I'm pretty good at admitting I'm an idiot.
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[User Picture]From: weds
2009-03-17 08:23 pm (UTC)
Ew. Parades. I wouldn't go.
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[User Picture]From: zenithgryph
2009-03-17 10:32 pm (UTC)
I'd be the one clueless enough to go, "Why is he NAKED?!"

Then have everyone else hush me and then I'd be quiet.

But I'm typically that clueless as to what's going on.
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[User Picture]From: ladyhawke_wings
2009-03-17 10:34 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean.

Sometimes it takes a combination. Sometimes the path is far less clear. And sometimes, the parable is all there is. But you're right; it never does feel particularly good.

You're good people, babe.
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[User Picture]From: e_scapism101
2009-03-17 10:34 pm (UTC)
What sort of hostages and what would the Emporer do to them?
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[User Picture]From: kisekinotenshi
2009-03-17 11:04 pm (UTC)
I've always been a firm believer in truth for the sake of truth, but the variables you're introducing into the problem do change things. If I didn't believe lasting harm could be done (temporary harm, perhaps, but not death or dismemberment) then I would just go ahead and say it. But then again, if I believed things would turn out much worse for the truth being spoken, then I would keep silent. Either way, knowing me, I would feel ridiculously guilty about it for years afterward.
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[User Picture]From: miintikwa
2009-03-18 02:23 am (UTC)
Depends on who the hostages are and how important they are...and what the Emperor is going to do to them, really.
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[User Picture]From: ccr1138
2009-03-18 03:40 am (UTC)
You're talking about Obama, right?

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2009-03-18 04:37 am (UTC)
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