An Inside Look at Fordham Professors’ Guilty Pleasures



(From Left to Right: Robert Moniot tries to eat a healthy diet, but often indulges in brownies and cake. Professor Rebecca Slitt can’t resist burgers and fries from the famous Five Guys chain. Professor Jennifer Clark loves “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”—but she doesn’t feel guilty about it. Professor Brianne Jacobs loves “RuPaul’s Drag Race.’” (Sara Azoulay/The Observer)

You might think that Jennifer Clark, assistant professor of communication and media studies, spends most of her nights grading papers. Instead, you can find her watching a lot of reality TV shows. “I do watch ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians,’ ‘Here Comes Honey Boo Boo’ and TLC shows about people with strange addictions,” Clark said.

Just like the rest of us, Fordham College of Lincoln Center (FCLC) professors have guilty pleasures. Whether the guilty pleasures are reality TV shows, food or social media, they find them enjoyable.

“All of television is my guilty pleasure, but I wouldn’t even call it that. Maybe I don’t have the luxury of guilt-watching television because it is part of my job,” Clark said.

“My guilty pleasure, which has been the same for years, is ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer,’” Christine Fountain, assistant professor of sociology, said. “I’m a huge fan and I have seen the episodes a million times. I love it because the writing for the show is really smart and it addresses interesting issues about what makes people good or bad, and how people deal with the different cultures that they face.”

Brianne Jacobs, professor and doctoral student of theology, said she loves watching “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

“It isn’t as mean-spirited as a lot of other reality television shows, but it has some of the same fun elements as “Project Runway,” “America’s Next Top Model” and those type of shows,” Jacobs said.

What was the most common guilty pleasure among professors? Food.

“Leaving this campus, it is so hard not to stop at the hot dog guy on the corner,” Roger Panetta, visiting professor of history, said. “Since it’s the end of the day, it’s sort of like rewarding myself for making it through the day.”

“Even though it’s an esthetic nightmare, and probably a food nightmare, I can’t shake it,” Panetta said. “That sense of release when classes are over makes me want that hot dog. As I am approaching the stand I am like ‘Don’t do it!’ but I can’t stop. Sometimes it’s so bad that in the elevator while leaving I get my two bucks out.”

Professor Rebecca Slitt, who teaches history, also enjoys greasy food. “My guilty pleasures are Five Guys burgers and fries. Those fries are the best! I can never let myself have them but when I do they are so good,” Slitt said.

While some professors like savory treats, others prefer sweets.

“My pleasure every now and then is a brownie or piece of chocolate cake,” Robert Moniot, associate profesor of computer science, said. “Those are bad for my cholesterol and the calories are bad, but they’re so good! I feel guilty after, especially since I am trying to watch what I eat.”

In addition to television shows and food, some professors are addicted to Facebook. Slitt loves surfing Facebook. “I play Facebook scrabble a lot! Way more than I should,” Slitt said.

However some professors, specifically from the communications and media studies department, have a different view on guilty pleasures.

“I don’t necessarily believe in guilty pleasures. Why should we feel guilt for something we take pleasure in?” Associate Professor Gwenyth Jackaway said.

Clark, like Jackaway, doesn’t think of her love of reality TV as something to be truly ashamed of.

“I do not believe there is such a thing as a guilty pleasure,” Clark said. “A lot of what I teach and talk about in my classes would be considered guilty pleasures, but I think they are really important and productive.”