By Blake Neff
America has become enthralled with the spectre of Melissa Click, a University of Missouri (MU) professor who was caught on video threatening a cameraman with mob violence for attempting to cover on-campus protests.
But perhaps the most appalling thing about Click isn’t what she did on Monday, but rather what she has done over the previous 15 years of her academic career.
As an associate professor for MU, Click been making over $50,000 a year to teach and conduct research in the field of communications. Click’s curriculum vitae (academia’s glorified, lengthy version of a résumé), available on MU’s website, chronicles an eclectic set of interests that she studies at taxpayer expense, including Twilight, Martha Stewart, and more. Here’s the highlights:
1. “Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies, University of Massachusetts-Amherst”
The ground zero of Click’s activism. While officially a communications professor, she also made the effort to get an additional credential, not just in women’s studies, not just in feminist studies, but in advanced feminist studies. A quick online investigation suggests this exact program may only exist at UMass-Amherst.
2. ‘More drinkin’, less thinkin’, fewer teeth, and beer’: Representations of class in CMT’s My Big Redneck Wedding”
Available online here! Click’s conclusion: “Pink Sneakers and CMT have no plans for a fourth season of the show and that is probably a good thing—the show is too steeped in stereotypes to offer viewers any sort of useful look at redneck identity.”
3. “Fifty Shades of postfeminism: Contextualizing readers’ reflections on the erotic romance series. In E. Levine (ed.) Feeling Feminine: Popular Culture for Women in the Early 21st Century.”
Sadly, this book chapter has not yet been published, so the masses will have to wait to learn about Click’s critical post-feminist insights on 50 Shades of Grey.
4. “Saving food: Finding the politics of the everyday in food preservation. Environmental Communication, 4, 301-317″
Here, Click manages to spend 15 pages describing how the act of canning food can help destroy capitalism.
“Unlike the dominant discourses of food movements, which encourage an individualistic, consumer-oriented politics, food preservation emphasizes connection and relationships and thus has the potential to subvert the capitalistic logic of the global agro-food industry,” Click writes.
5. “Center for Arts and Humanities Grant, University of Missouri. Awarded to support travel to attend TwiCon in Dallas, TX for study of Twilight fans.”
That’s right, in 2009 Click received taxpayer funding to attend a Twilight fan convention.
6. “The trouble with Thomas: A closer look at the popular children’s Series.”
Apparently, there is something highly problematic inherent in the Thomas the Tank Engine series. Alas, the book is not out yet, so once again readers will have to wait before devouring Click’s savory scholarly insights about this troubling program.
7. “It’s ‘a good thing’: The commodification of femininity, affluence and whiteness in the Martha Stewart phenomenon.”
Click’s dissertation. Since then, she has proven to be really, really interested in Martha Stewart, authoring several papers and book chapters about her. Another standout work: “Perfecting fanaticism?: U.S. audiences’ love/hate relationships with Martha Stewart.”
8. “Twitards and Tyler’s Van: Anti-fans, Twilight, and textuality.”
Along with Martha Stewart, Twilight appears to be Click’s chief scholarly passion. At a glance, it is nearly impossible to tell what this paper is actually about.
9. “Advisor of the Year Award from Association of Communication Graduate Students of the University of Missouri.”
America is doomed.
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