Statues and monuments have been in the national spotlight of late. Many Americans have made it clear they do not believe specific individuals were truly worthy of being recognized in such a permanent way.
I’m not particularly interested in having a conversation about this topic here, per se. For what it’s worth, the Joe Paterno saga years ago made me realize that I’m mostly opposed to building a statue of any human being at all. Humans are flawed. They’re imperfect. Statues represent some sort of eternal deification. I largely don’t believe humans are worthy of that.
In Baltimore, Confederate monuments came down in 2017, but the bases of the monuments remain. There has been debate about whether other monuments (like those honoring Christopher Columbus) should also be removed or somehow redesignated.
With that in mind, I’d like to have a little fun and offer some suggestions for new statues that can go up on those bases or individuals to whom monuments could be rededicated.
If we’re going to honor athletes, honoring the (checks notes) (yells loudly) GREATEST OLYMPIC ATHLETE OF ALL TIME would seem like a logical place to start. Like all humans, Phelps is flawed, but there’s been no more dominant athlete perhaps in the history of any sport. It would seem as though it would make sense for a potential statue to be near the Meadowbrook Swim Club.
Eddie Murray’s afro and mustache
Since there’s already a Murray statue at Camden Yards, we don’t necessarily need to duplicate that. But I do feel like international visitors to town should be able to pay their respects to the single greatest hair-facial hair combination in the history of time. I would also listen to an argument for something that celebrates John Waters’ transfixing eyes. Or Joey Rickard’s.
This would solve my “don’t build statues of humans” problem. No matter how you feel about the actual beer or how many stupid hipsters want to remind us that it isn’t even brewed here, Mr. Boh is a beloved part of our culture. If they turned the Mr. Boh-Utz Girl proposal ad into a statue, I’d fly friends in from elsewhere in the country every day to take pictures with it.
Ed Reed or Lenny Moore
With the Orioles erecting sculptures for all of their Hall of Famers (except Mike Mussina because … don’t get me started), these are almost certainly the two greatest team sport athletes without sculptures here, both of whom have been extremely dedicated to the community.
Art Donovan but specifically while he’s eating baloney and/or hot dogs and drinking a Schlitz
I honestly don’t know how such a statue doesn’t already exist.
Whoever the human was who inspired Sisqo to write “Thong Song”
Can you imagine how pristine this individual must have been to have been the inspiration for the greatest song of the last 25 years?
Sadly, the Baltimore native has admitted that the idea actually came from a friend’s description of his first visual of a woman wearing said undergarment, so I guess this doesn’t work. But it does give me the opportunity to remind those who wonder whether “The Star Spangled Banner” or “Maryland, My Maryland” should be replaced due to questionable later-verse lyrics, we already have the perfect national anthem AND state song waiting for us.
Sure, she’s most associated with Chicago. But there’s been few things Baltimoreans have liked doing more for the last three and a half decades than reminding strangers that she “got her start” (not exactly but close enough) at WJZ. Who exactly would be opposed to immortalizing the planet’s most popular human in her former hometown?
And here’s where the good-natured shtick ends. There is no debating who the greatest Baltimorean of all time is, and she didn’t come to our city until after her 30th birthday. Rededicate every statue and monument in the entire state to this incomparable woman. Rename every street for her while we’re at it. It still won’t fully celebrate the legacy of kindness and compassion she left during her decades of service to our city.
In all seriousness, as opposed as I am to statues of human beings, I feel like we can use this moment to truly consider whether perhaps one of our standing pieces of artwork might be better served as recognition for this wonderful human being. Or for Mo Gaba. But Stan Charles already explained that.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Under Armour
Originally published July 8, 2020