How is it this crazy woman doesn’t have an MSNBC gig already?
Last fall, as Melissa Click yelled and pointed her way into infamy, she quickly became a caricature of a radical faculty member who represented everything conservative lawmakers and pundits hate about academe, right down to her research on Twilight.
But while the video of her screaming at a student went viral, turning her into the Melissa Click, the confrontation on a quad during a protest here last year really wasn’t that remarkable, in her mind. The assistant professor of communication at the University of Missouri was just doing what other professors and administrators were doing there, too, she says. So why did she lose her job?
She has one idea. Under pressure from state legislators, she says, Missouri’s Board of Curators fired her to send a message that the university and the state wouldn’t tolerate black people standing up to white people. “This is all about racial politics,” she says. “I’m a white lady. I’m an easy target.”
It’s quite obvious this woman is insane, and clearly she hasn’t comprehended yet she’s responsible for her firing. Yes, just her, nobody else. It had nothing to do with black people or the fact you’re white, sweetie.
You’re a lunatic. Everyone knows it. It’s all on film. It’s you, you psycho bitch.
While Ms. Click acknowledges that she was certainly frustrated that day, she says she was simply trying to protect the black student protesters. Everything she has come to stand for since the video came out — intolerance, anger, mouthiness, and dismissiveness — is exactly the opposite of who she says she really is. Focusing on her behavior, she says, is a way to take attention away from the demands of Concerned Student 1950, the group of protesters.
“I’m not a superhero,” Ms. Click says. “I wasn’t in charge.” But she’s taken the fall. “When it got out of control,” she says, “I was the one held accountable.”
She doesn’t get it and probably never will. She’s beyond hope, but not beyond being embraced by other like-minded totalitarians. Stay tuned, crazypants, MSNBC or Oberlin will be calling before long.
Ms. Click now spends her days mostly at home. She is pursuing a research project she started before she became notorious: editing an anthology on fandom. She’s still informally working with Ph.D. students she used to supervise. She hopes to find another academic job someday, but she has no leads at the moment.
When Ms. Click filed for unemployment, she was denied, she says, because the university said she’d been fired for cause. She has appealed. And she is planning to sue the institution, arguing that it denied her due process. A friend started a GoFundMe campaign, Stand With Melissa, to help pay her legal bills (it has raised $13,332 toward a goal of $38,000).
But black people love her, or something.
But Ms. Click is wary. She leaves the house bracing for confrontation. Strangers do notice her. “Don’t worry,” said a clerk at the automotive-repair shop, “we don’t hate you.” Wherever she goes, there is judgment. The owner of an antique store and a greeter at the polls each told her they thought the university was wrong. Two young men she passed near the campus asked her if she needed some muscle. She considered it a threat.
As she walks through downtown Columbia, an African-American man yells his support out a car window: “Hey, Melissa!” (“Black people love me,” she tells a reporter.) Later, a black woman runs out of the Campus Bar and Grill headlong into an embrace with Ms. Click. It’s one of the protest organizers. Soon three black students surround the former professor. They sound protective. How is she? They’re concerned. They tell her they love her.