Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Emperor Gets His Due

I love this a lot: the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco have passed a resolution to name the new Bay Bridge after Joshua Abraham Norton, self-styled Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico. The resolution goes to Mayor Newsom, and if he signs it it goes to Oakland (the other end of the bridge) for them to ratify.

The story is here:

I hope Neil Gaiman has heard of this; I first heard of the Emperor in the pages of SANDMAN.

It's a small delight, but I'll take my delights where I find 'em.


Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

Somehow, "Emperor of the United States" and "Protector of Mexico" seem hard to reconcile into one job description. I just can't see someone who manages the former being very good at the latter.

Hey there, Mad. Nice to see your quirky good humor in evidence.

7:13 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Well, Norton was proclaiming himself Emperor and Protector (of the US and Mexico respectively) in the 1870s, when that sort of thinking (particularly the paternalism involved in declaring yourself the "protector" of a non-European people) was more in vogue. And he appears to have been a genial nutbar--far more amiable than a solid portion of SF's current homeless population.

Alas, Oakland has put the black thumb of doom on the project. The bridge will remain The Bay Bridge.

7:55 AM  
Blogger Gregory Feeley said...

We should edit a volume of alternate-history stories about this guy! Hard to know what to call it, though, aside from "the Norton anthology."

9:51 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Hey, the Norton Anthology sounds like a fine, time-tested title. Beats "Alternate Nortons."

(I'm having a horrible vision of conflating Art Carney's character on THE HONEYMOONERS with the Emperor Norton. Maybe I'd better go eat something).

12:22 PM  
Blogger Ken Houghton said...

Have I mentioned you're both sick, sick, sick?

Or that Mad needs to add BlogThis! to her browser, so that she can integrate the links into the post, making it easier for the reader?

Or that the anthology should be called Manifest Nortons and published by Small Beer?

No. Good.

6:12 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

I have duly added "Blog This" to my toolbar. I expect my life to improve exponentially by this simple step.

"Manifest Nortons." You know, it's almost appealing. Almost.

8:30 AM  
Blogger Madeleine Robins said...

Hey, Ken, while I'm at it: how do you italicize and bold text hereabouts?

10:22 AM  

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