The people running the exhibit tell us how wonderful, how marvelous, how sublime the statue is, truly “a work of art, a thing of beauty, a joy forever”.
But when people enter the exhibit, all they see is a lump of misshapen mud, a dull drab ugly color, with lumpy uneven texture.
Some people leave immediately, either in anger or bemusement, thinking: “It’s a hoax, a fake, a fraud, some joker trying to put one over on us.”
Others stay, and pretend they see the beauty the exhibitors claim is there.
Like courtiers in The Emperor’s New Clothes, they believe the hype more than the evidence of their own eyes, and rather than be shamed and ridiculed for not seeing the beauty everyone else claims to see, they pretend to see it, too.
Some actually do believe the misshapen mud is beautiful, because if they were creating a statue, that would be the best they could do, the best they could imagine.
But a few look at it more closely, and see something much better, far better under the mud.
And as they look closer, they see the mud is just a crust over something far more perfect.
Looking closer still, they realize the statue is covered by a crust of mud dauber wasp nests.
So they start cleaning the statue, and when they do voices rise in alarm.
“What are you trying to do?”
“You’re ruining the statue!”
“Stop! Stop at once!”
And the wasps fly out, angry and attacking those who dare clean the statue.
But bit by bit they clean up a patch here and a patch there, revealing more and more of the beautiful, genuine, pristine statue underneath.
And while the wasps may rave and the exhibitors bluster and the crowd tries to stop them, in the end those forces won’t succeed, but the true statue underneath the mud nests will be open for all to see just how beautiful it is.