[ texte ; dessin (portrait de Joshua Norton qui se proclama « Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico » en 1859) ]
Joshua Norton, or as he preferred to be called, Norton I, proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico in 1859.
Although a pauper, he was fed free in San Francisco’s best restaurants.
Although a madman, he had all his state proclamations published in San Francisco’s newspapers.
While rational reformers elsewhere failed to crack the national bank monopoly with alternate currency plans, Norton I had his own private currency accepted throughout San Francisco.
When the Vigilantes decided to have a pogrom against the Chinese, and sane men would have tried to stop them, Norton I did nothing but stand in the street, head bowed, praying. The Vigilantes dispersed.
’When the proper man does nothing (wu-wei), his thought is felt ten thousand miles."
Although a fool, Norton I wrote letters which were seriously considered by Abraham Lincoln and Queen Victoria.
"You must take the bull by the tail and look the facts in the face."
Although a charlatan, Norton I was so beloved that 30,000 people turned out for his funeral in 1880.
"Everybody understands Mickey Mouse. Few understand Hermann Hesse. Hardly anybody understands Einstein. And nobody understands Emperor Norton."
—Malaclypse the Younger, K.S.C.
Live like him
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