Sam Ford woke up to quite the surprise on Thursday morning, when he learned that Jeopardy had featured his 2007 course at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a clue on Wednesday night’s episode.
The clue appeared under the category Pop Culture College Courses for $600.
“What is professional wrestling,” one contestant correctly answered.
Ford learned of the Jeopardy shoutout when a former student who had sat in on that pro wrestling pop culture class posted a screenshot of the clue on Facebook. “It was exciting,” Ford said in a phone interview with Boston.com. He has seen his course discussed online at BuzzFeed for its peculiar pro wrestling angle, a likely precursor to the mention on Jeopardy.
The 2007 course, officially titled “Topics in Comparative Media: American Pro Wrestling,” focused on the pop cultural significance of pro wrestling, as a Boston Globe story at the time explained. Noted wrestling stars like Jim Ross and Mick Foley appeared as guest lecturers.
Ford, now teaching at Western Kentucky University, continues to be passionate about wrestling’s importance in explaining the way we live now. “It’s a fun class to teach, and there’s a great value in digging really deep into a cultural phenomenon like pro wrestling,” he explained. “The fact that it remains as popular as it has, to me, is something worth looking into.”
Oh, and the next class he plans to teach this fall semester? None other than “Pro Wrestling and Popular Culture.”