Talk:Emperor Norton

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Emperor Norton is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on April 3, 2004.
On this day... Article milestones
DateProcessResult
January 19, 2004Refreshing brilliant proseKept
October 7, 2006Featured article reviewDemoted
July 7, 2007Featured article candidatePromoted
On this day... Facts from this article were featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "On this day..." column on October 12, 2005, October 12, 2006, September 17, 2009, and September 17, 2013.
Current status: Featured article

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"some considered him insane or eccentric"Edit

Yes, I realize the prose is desperately tempted to lean towards tongue-in-cheek (in order to match the perceived general perception of the subject among his contemporaries in old San Francisco). Is it really "encyclopedic" to refuse to mention anywhere in the lede that the man was clearly suffering from delusions of grandeur, though? Obviously 100% of the residents of San Francisco who weren't insane themselves knew Norton I was "insane or eccentric", and to slyly (a la The Onion) wink at (and then bury) that fact in the lede feels patently ridiculous. Just say straight up the guy was a delusional homeless person who the city adopted as a mascot instead of this silly crap about how "SOME thought he MIGHT NOT have ACTUALLY been the Emperor of the World...". No, 100% of everybody thought he was insane right from the get-go, let's move on, thanks. J. Harrington Inchworm III (talk) 15:06, 7 May 2018 (UTC)

Let's not go too far in the direction of shitting on the guy. It is true that nobody took his claim to be emperor of the entire United States of America seriously, and it is also true that his proclamations, currency, etc. were only honored insofar as other residents of San Francisco and environs chose to honor them. But that's not sufficient reason to call him a "delusional homeless person whom the city adopted as a mascot," especially not when he seems to have gotten a lot more respect than a mere "mascot" would command in his own time. Elwoz (talk) 14:34, 15 October 2018 (UTC)

I don't recall the date, but Eric Lis, "His Majesty's Psychosis," Academic Psychiatry. Lis argues the Emperor was certainly suffering under a delusion, but one may be deluded and nevertheless not have a condition diagnosable under the DSM. William Drury, Norton I: Emperor of the United States, claims the Emperor was likely a paranoid schizophrenic, but he is not a psychiatrist and therefore his opinion is informed speculation, not a diagnosis. 66.24.101.10 (talk) 17:29, 11 October 2018 (UTC)

Norton was clearly eccentric, and eccentric is at least a forme fruste of insane. He died in 1880; the first edition of the DSM was published in 1952. So the DSM can be dismissed as inapplicable and anachronistic (and it would in any case only tell you if there was a diagnosable disease, not "insanity"). "Insane" has many meanings, all predating the DSM, and most of them don't involve medical diagnoses. Among those found in the thesaurus that might apply: unbalanced, unstable, disturbed, crazy, batty, cuckoo, loony, nuts, screwy, bananas, crackers, wacko, mad as a hatter, buggy, and batshit. But for some reason contributors here prefer drollery to facts. If "insane" seems too medical, "daft" might be an alternative.- Nunh-huh 08:56, 12 October 2018 (UTC)

I think it's important to avoid saying anything that would imply a diagnosed case of a specific (modern definition of a) mental illness, for the same reasons that psychologists avoid this for public figures. However, since both contemporary and retrospective sources do describe him using words such as "eccentric," "deluded," and/or "insane," I don't see why we shouldn't report that, and perhaps an observation in general terms that delusions of grandeur are a known form of mental illness would be appropriate. Elwoz (talk) 14:26, 15 October 2018 (UTC)

Is this article a hoax?Edit

I am reading this article as if the character was real, and important, and apparently taken seriously. The article is starred, as if acknowledged by Wikipedia that it is a top Wikipedia article with a star of its approval. And yet there is no mention at all, until the Talk Page, that Emperor Norton had issues (and a reputation) that are not acknowledged until you get to this page. I know vaguely from learning of him years ago that he existed, but was a tongue-in-cheek character. This article needs to be rewritten so that it doesn't look like Page Six has taken over Wikipedia, and can meet the minimum standards of an encyclopaedia. As currently written, this article makes Wikipedia look like a joke... Stevenmitchell (talk) 09:05, 29 July 2020 (UTC)

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