Wednesday, September 06, 2006
His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Norton
You've gotta love some people who seem to go out of their way to make life that little bit more interesting. There we are plodding through life and then suddenly there's a flash of colour, a scream or a slight whiff in the air as a true eccentric wanders past.
The Lord of all eccentrics was London born, San Francisco based Emperor Norton I, "Emperor of these United States and Protector of Mexico". I vaguely heard about him a little while back, but really fell in love with him after listening to this Sparkletack episode.
The really beautiful thing about the Emperor is that San Franciscans not only took him to their hearts, they took him quite seriously. They accepted his currency, they appreciated his patronage ("By Appointment to his Imperial Majesty, Emperor Norton I of the United States.") and got emotional when he was arrested and practically held a state funeral upon his death.
His decrees are wonderful...
"Whoever after due and proper warning shall be heard to utter the abominable word "Frisco," which has no linguistic or other warrant, shall be deemed guilty of a High Misdemeanor, and shall pay into the Imperial Treasury as penalty the sum of twenty-five dollars."
During the civil war he suggested Abraham Lincoln marry Queen Victoria to bring Britain to the Unions aid. He actually corresponded with Her Royal Highness on several occasions.
You just don't get too many characters like him... that is why the death of Steve Irwin caused such a stir... he was the Emperor Norton of Australia. A truely interesting human being.
Speaking of which here's short video on a really interesting fellow I've actually seen with my own eyes! The World Famous Bushman