The Gringo: A Memoir
Hans Christian Anderson wrote a short story about an Emperor who ordered a set of clothing from some weavers/swindlers who outfitted him in nothing and those same men convinced the general populace that those who couldn’t see how fine the cloth was, were in fact, ignorant. The swindlers filled their bags with the fine thread and silk meant for the Emperor’s cloth and pretended to work on empty looms far into the nights. No one wanted to admit that he could not see the cloth at all, so eventually the Emperor went out dressed in nothing whatsoever. A child’s voice was heard to say “But he doesn’t have anything on!”
One hundred and seventy five years later, J. Grigsby Crawford has written a book, The Gringo: A Memoir, about his experiences in the Peace Corps. By speaking the truth in the child’s voice, he basically says, the Emperor has no clothes on. A very good read with provocative thoughts about the future and present usefulness of the Peace Corps.
I reread The Emperor’s New Clothes today. I had forgotten the ending, in which the Emperor and his chamberlains continue to pretend he is not walking throughout the town naked. Check it out! The parallel may still hold true for both adventures.