[Kamikaze] Jackson, Waking Up | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

[Kamikaze] Jackson, Waking Up


Brad Franklin

Some of you may be familiar with the tale "The Emperor's New Clothes." It's a short story written in the 1800s by the Danish author Hans Christian Andersen that gives some amazing insight into human nature.

In this fairy-tale, two swindlers pose as weavers and convince an emperor to let them create a grand new outfit for him. They promise the emperor a new suit of clothes that are invisible to those who are incompetent or unworthy of their positions.

Up to that point, the emperor only cared about his appearance, so naturally new garb was appealing. However, the weavers didn't actually "dress" the emperor at all. They only pretended to dress him. But his pride wouldn't allow the emperor to admit he saw nothing. He remained silent for fear of appearing unfit, and his ministers around him did the same.

The emperor and his court marched in a procession, proudly walking before his subjects. Suddenly, a child exclaimed, "But he isn't wearing anything at all." Then the crowd took up the cry. The emperor felt uncomfortable, yet continued to proudly march in the procession.

This story has been translated into more than a hundred languages and interpreted in hundreds of different ways. Is it a story about having courage in your convictions? Is it a metaphor for hypocrisy or collective denial? Or is it, as Andersen once said himself, a story that will give children the courage to challenge authority and to speak truth to power?

Regardless of how you interpret this story, it always amazes me when tales told long ago can still hold relevance today. Agreed?

That noise you hear is the collective awakening of our great city. Some of us have been up and at 'em longer than others. But whether it was an article, an event or a speech that motivates you to get up every day and push this city forward, use it. Let whatever your muse or motivation is now be your guide.

I'm more encouraged now than I've ever been because I see those among us who were once disenfranchised asking questions. I see those among us who have been inadvertently uninformed beginning to seek knowledge.

Yes! There are plenty of exciting things to do in this city if you just ask. Yes! There are thousands of great people here who will have a positive word
for you. They don't want your purse or your car. They want you to know the love that we have for Jackson. Yes!

We're finding ourselves. We're getting our swagger back, but be leery of the storm clouds ahead.

We've traditionally been a city of lotus-eaters, lulled by suits, signs, turkeys, tea parties, proclamations and self-imposed limitations. But no more. Be leery of those who try to stifle your concern. Beware of those who will call you fanatical, who tell you that you don't deserve access even though they now enjoy it. Our being lucid endangers their business deals, their contracts, their invites to the swanky parties, their advertisers and their reserved seats in the front pew. It upsets the status quo.

Listen: For us to restore confidence in the people, we must restore their faith in truth. We must be real with them. Someone will surely cherry-pick these words and try to discredit them. But too late. Jackson has had its moment of clarity. The people believe again. The people are passionate again. The people are wearing their pride on their sleeves now. And figuratively all it took was that one small child to innocently exclaim the truth: "The emperor has no clothes."

And that's the truth ... sho-nuff.

Previous Comments


Dear Tim, Wow! I mean...wow! What's the weather like in your world? Sincerely, Earth


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