Showing excellent timing, the Missouri House of Representatives recently commissioned a bust of Rush Limbaugh that it's planning to add to its sculpture gallery, the "Hall of Famous Missourians." (Limbaugh grew up in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.) The decision to honor Limbaugh was made before his recent remarks about law student Sandra Fluke, in which he both obsessed about her sexual habits and showed that he doesn't understand how birth-control pills work, but to date the plans have not been changed.
You might think it'd be difficult to scrape together enough famous Missourians to fill a hall of any size, and it does seem like they have had to reach just a bit. Most of the choices make sense, like Mark Twain, Harry S Truman, Generals John J. Pershing and Omar Bradley, Walter Cronkite, George Washington Carver, and so on. Artists/performers like Thomas Hart Benton, Charlie Parker and Josephine Baker are also featured, as are sports heroes like Stan Musial and Buck O'Neil.
There are a few debatable choices. I'm fine with honoring Sacajawea, the heroine of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, I'm just not sure it's fair to claim her as a "Missourian." She was born in what's now Idaho and lived in Missouri for at most two years, and that was long before it became a state. (FYI, I found this on Wikipedia: "'Lewis and Clark' redirects here. It is not to be confused with Lois and Clark." Please make a note.) Then there's Bob Barker, a game-show host who also didn't really live in Missouri that long. But he did spend ten years there, is indeed famous, and I like the guy for his commitment to animal rights. Also, the last thing I want to do is criticize somebody who beat up Adam Sandler.
It is a fairly small step from game-show host to talk-show host, I guess, although it is one giant leap from Barker to Limbaugh. Does a bust of the latter belong in the state legislature? Democrats don't think so, but they aren't in charge right now and the Limbaugh bust is apparently being paid for with private funds. The Speaker of the House, Steven Tilley, raised the money, and he didn't think the fact that Limbaugh is controversial meant he's disqualified. "It's the Hall of Famous Missourians," he noted, "not the Hall of Universally Loved Missourians."
The sculptor commissioned to render Limbaugh's jowls in stone, E. Spencer Schubert, said his only criterion for accepting a project was that it be "artistically interesting," and that it wasn't his place to decide who should be in the Hall. A gallery owner who represents Schubert agreed, and said they also were not making any statement about Limbaugh by offering six sculptures cast from the same mold to private collectors at $15,000 apiece. As far as he knew, Paul Dorrell said, people might want to buy a Limbaugh bust in order to make their own statement by smashing it, and that was fine with him, too.
"I can see people wanting to [destroy] it," he said. "After they purchase it, they can do whatever they want with it." They could display it in their homes, or "use it as a boat anchor or [for] target practice." It would make a hell of a boat anchor, that's for sure. Actually, so would Limbaugh, although I suppose he probably floats. He'd be more of a buoy, I guess.
The bust is scheduled to be installed in May, and the replicas should be available, for whatever purpose, shortly thereafter.