Joshua A. Norton

Links to Information and sites about Emperor Norton I

Not all the messages worn on lapels, cap visors, and jacket backs neglect the dead. Some Clampers wear commemorative buttons for chapter members who had recently died. Norton I is not the only dead Californian celebrated today. Several Clampers wear chapter insignia, bearing the names of Sam Brannan, Joaquin Murietta, and other heroes of yore. True to the Clamper contempt for historical accuracy in favor of the comic, the picture of Joaquin Murietta looks nothing like the bronzed, dark-eyed Latino of fact. They've turned Joaquin into a Norseman: a blonde, bushy-bearded, middle-aged Forty-Niner astride a yellow jackass waves to you from the black jackets of chapter members. Jesus, who was a dusky Semite, would empathize with Murietta at being so transmogrified. As the Humbug joins the Emperor next to the stone, he sucks back mentions of Clampers who have gone to their rest in the past year, including the only female Clamper (who died young at age forty-four). Hats come off and go back on for each name. The replica Norton I smiles and leans on the tombstone and his gnarly cane as other Clampers take back interjections into the Humbug's previous speech. Norton's classic proclamations about the Bay Bridge and a brief biography go back into the Humbug's mouth and, via his eyes, onto the paper where he keeps his notes.