John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
There's been a lot of human-on-statue violence this week. Could Rush be next?
Make a move against that new Rush Limbaugh statue in Missouri's capitol and you're liable to taste the hard justice of baton-wielding security guards.
That's because the keepers of the statue, located in the Jefferson City building's Hall of Famous Missourians, have installed a security camera that gazes perpetually upon Fake Rush's beaming, yet creepily empty-eyed head. All available reports indicate that no other metal Missourian in the chamber requires such constant monitoring, not even John Ashcroft. And the $1,100-plus cost of the camera is being funded by the state's taxpayers, whether they agree with the radio commentator's controversial takes on sluts and ethnic people or not.
House clerk Adam Crumbliss authorized the camera after talking with Republican leaders about the possibility of vandalism to Rush's "head and shoulders," according to the Associated Press. As he said, "We've had lots of calls, and some calls and complaints have been a little beyond the pale."
Public funds being wasted on protecting the arts? Well, I can just imagine Rush's reaction to that news:
But maybe Crumbliss is being prescient. Recently, there's been a troubling spike in human-on-statue violence all across the world. Everyone seems to be a critic, beginning in...
Newcastle West, Ireland: A statue of celebrated poet Michael Hartnett, who drank but "never ate," was "mysteriously destabilised," according to Limerick Leader. Politician Michael Finucane told the paper: “The feeling is it wasn’t somebody with a few drinks in trying to push it over. It was more serious than that.”
Oxford, U.K.: A 6-foot-tall replica of Venus di Milo mysteriously vanished during a bash at Oxford's St. Hugh's College. Searchers found it a few days later at a different college, but god only knows what is happening to it in the interval. Kidnappers at the party also abducted another statue of a Greek hero named "Dave"; the student publication Cherwell reported that it was later discovered in a random room "dressed in a gown, mortarboard and sunglasses, and clutching a Carlsberg."
Cincinnati: Unknown troublemakers whisked away the beloved pig statue of a Hyde Park couple from its front-yard home, though it was found days later in an unkempt field. Reports CBS/AP: "The swine statue was dirty, banged up, and with an ear broken off – plus the initials 'NF' were scratched into it."
Ansted, West Virginia: Police arrested a man for ripping the metal gun off of a soldier's memorial statue at a veteran's cemetery, apparently looking to recycle it for quick cash. Sheriff's deputies told the WSAZ the vandalism left them "angry and disturbed."
Gondia, India: "Miscreants" near this west Indian city desecrated a statue of 16th century arts patron Rani Durgavati, noted the Times of India, causing vague "unrest" among the populace.
London: The Putney Sculpture Trail is down one sculpture after thieves made off with it, probably using heavy-duty cutting equipment. However, the crystal-meth-purchasing value of "Horizontal Ambiguity" is virtually nothing, as it was specifically fashioned with an alloy that isn't in demand by scrap yards. Sculptor Alan Thornhill called the bandits "not only wicked but also stupid."
With all this statue hatred in the air, maybe two security cameras might've been the proper response for the Rush head.
Photo of Rush Limbaugh statue by KOMUNews/Flickr. FYI, a Flickr search for "Rush Limbaugh Statue" also turns up a mummified mermaid, a three-eyed skull and 32-foot "giant sea serpent."