What It's Like to Get Attacked by Rush Limbaugh
Tracie McMillan responds to Limbaugh’s criticism of her new book, The American Way of Eating:
“What is it with all of these young single white women, overeducated — doesn’t mean intelligent,” he says, going on to list my professional bona fides with derision. “Who is the authorette? It doesn’t matter.”
I have to be honest: “overeducated” is one of the nicer names I’ve been called in my life. And I had been prepared in a general way to argue about the central political point of my book: That both private enterprise and government have failed Americans when it comes to providing us with good, healthy food. But what befuddled me was the implicit idea that my status as a single woman, and as someone who worked my way through college to get a B.A., might be considered sufficient to discredit my work.
Upon reflection, all of Limbaugh’s observations about me — my marital status, my race, my education — are code for “elite,” which in turn carries the connotation of being far removed from the realities of daily life. That’s ironic, given the nature of my book: an undercover, first-person attempt to live and work in America’s food system. It doesn’t get much grittier in America than a Central Valley peach orchard hitting 105 degrees in July, coupled with a wave of projectile vomiting brought about by heat sickness. I can tell you that because I’ve experienced it. If Rush did more than push paper around a desk all day, I’d invite him to try shedding his elite status and get his hands dirty.