Rush Limbaugh needs a lesson in preserving criticism capital because he’s just wasting it all on nothing. As with Sandra Fluke, Limbaugh has propped up the sails of a female writer named Tracie McMillan, who is making the rounds peddling her book across normal elite-progressive channels. The same concept applies to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s attack on Manosphere sites. The attack will merely increase Manosphere traffic.
So the positive impact of the negative review, or the inefficient use of negative capital. When a polarized figure or a polarized group rails against an opponent on the other side of the political spectrum, that opponent will actually gain esteem in the eyes of the camp-members with whom he or she is associated. Sandra Fluke’s testimony was DOA…until Rush spoke up. Tracie McMillan’s book was nothing…until Rush spoke up. He made martyrs of both.
But let me jump to McMillan’s book, The American Way of Eating. It sounds like a stupid piece of prole porn where the author works in a few dirty jobs for a couple of weeks and then tells us all how shitty it all was. McMillan worked at a New York City Applebee’s and was roofied by a co-worker and sexually assaulted by one of her co-worker’s friends.
She also has a piece at The Atlantic which covers her stint as a fruit picker in California. The takeaway from that little story is either that fruit picking is difficult work or that she’s a crybaby who sucks at performing manual labor. McMillan starts the piece by detailing her nausea and then details her continuous whining about everything – the working conditions, the heat. But through the course of the piece, McMillan makes clear what we should be taking away from all of this:
There are other ways it could be worse, of course. I could have to keep doing this job indefinitely. I could lack the resources to pick up and move to a more temperate climate. I could be without a car. I could have a less friendly supervisor and could thus lose my job for spending an hour sitting in the shade and listlessly picking at fruit. I could be less educated about heat sickness and have somehow pressed on, working until I actually did collapse from the heat, or the dust, or the food poisoning, or whatever it is that has wrought havoc on me today. And I could be doing all of this without any legal status in the country, terrified that at any moment I’ll be forcibly returned to the border.