On this day in 1859, Joshua Abraham Norton declared himself "Norton I, Emperor of the United States."

I know we're not into royalty and empires much on fedi but I feel like we could make an exception for Emperor Norton.

(I declared myself Empress of our weird little neighborhood in Wichita but not many people got the joke, and I never got a suitable uniform.)

Also I really really wanted to start a local currency but alas, we just had too many things going on in the neighborhood and not enough volunteers to run them all.

@silverseams is this the guy in California? I think I remember hearing about him. he was apparently very chill and cool and beloved in his community

@RussSharek @juliana @silverseams he tried to get rich trading rice futures during a famine. Not sure if beloved is the right word

@dualhammers @RussSharek @juliana Sort of... there was an *expected* shortage in the US due to a famine in *China*. Not quite the same thing, and in any event that preceded what was apparently a pretty momentous shift in his beliefs and ethics.

@silverseams @RussSharek @juliana so you think making a profit off the suffering of others is a behavior that good, chill, and beloved people can do?

@dualhammers @silverseams @juliana

I've always been of the suspicion that the choices that financially ruined him also contributed to the particular madness that led him to proclaiming himself emperor.

Most of his royal proclimations after that were focused on protecting the rights of people.

I'm not suggesting that regarding anything relating to money is "beloved-able" (coining a new word for the same reasons he's emperor), but it suggests something of a wake up call on his majesty's part.

@RussSharek @silverseams @juliana a wake up call to declare yourself a more authoritarian ruler than a capitalist is a positive development?

@dualhammers @RussSharek @silverseams this dude has been dead for over a century; let us enjoy the absurdity of an Emperor of the United States without being a pretentious dick about it, huh? no on'e saying he was perfect, but it's quirky and fun. let people have fun. christ

@juliana @RussSharek @silverseams

Leftists aren't allowed fun. Its a capitalist construct. 😝🤑

@dualhammers @silverseams @juliana

The way I see it, history can offer one of two possibilities:

Either he was a man who lost his mind in a socially acceptable way, or he knew exactly what he was doing as a sort of performance 'artist'.

If the former is the case, tragic. We are being awful for enjoying him now.

If the latter holds true, his shtick was a clever activist's play. It directly attacked an early form of the same status quo we are all suffering today.

@RussSharek @silverseams @juliana It could be many other permutations as well, but it is useful to remember how the narratives we construct allow us to experience things.

They're dead and it doesn't matter also being a very useful one for many.

But the original post about how they were beloved in their time is probably only accurate for certain people, even back then

@silverseams god no, he's just gonna try to sell me an antivirus I don't need

@silverseams I declared myself Emperor of Australia in the early 90s and nobody's successfully overthrown me yet! Hit me up if you ever need to establish an embassy over here. Happy to help!

I never got a uniform either, but I did get a national anthem!

@mike @silverseams I think Hut river would like to have a word. Seem to think they have a monopoly on Aussie crazy.

@mike @silverseams crap they dissolved! MY COINS ARE (MORE) USELESS!

@Capheind @silverseams best thing about an Empire is that it can happily encompass smaller nations. I have always been happy to recognise the provinces and other nations that come and go under my protection.

@silverseams The 45th book of the Lucky Luke #comic series "L'Empereur Smith" is a very funny homage to Emperor Norton (as well as a persiflage of Napoleon Bonaparte and #Monarchy in general):

#bandesdessinees #luckyluke #morris #goscinny #western

@silverseams Ive always been a big fan. When I lived in SF i made my friends suffer a Norton Tour of the city. Its like some 9nce banned religion with un-obviouse altars and monuments hidden around the city.

@silverseams What I adore about San Francisco is that the whole city collectively said, “ok, sure, why not.”

He also called for the building of the Bay Bridge.

@tek @silverseams “[Norton has] shed no blood; robbed no one; and despoiled no country; which is more than can be said of his fellows in that line [i.e. emperors]”

@silverseams there's a fun opera about him.

And you may also be aware of the Widow Norton, another SF icon, much beloved.

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