Clueless debate class

At home we have well in excess of 200 DVD titles and my speciality is choosing a movie for the night as the evening is winding down to sleep. And in this week, I chose ‘Clueless’, a charming-despite-itself 1995 offering from Paramount pictures, loosely based on the Jane Austen novel ‘Emma’.

As if!

It proved to be incredibly topical when a scene played out and I heard the phrase ‘refugee’. In Mr Hall’s class, he poses the question: “Should all oppressed people be allowed refuge in America?”


What follows is a ‘debate’ (if it can be called that) between the protagonist, Cher Horowitz and an equally ditzy character named Amber.


Cher’s argument in abbreviated format is:


  • Look at the Haitians who want to come to America.
  • Cher arranged a garden party with RSVP because it was sit-down dinner.
  • Some people showed up who hadn’t RSVPd.
  • Cher had to hastily arrange extra plates and food, but at the end of the day it was ‘the more the merrier’.
  • If the government can just get to the kitchen and re-arrange something ‘we can certainly party with the Haitians’.
  • ‘It does not say RSVP on the statue of liberty’.


Mr Hall does not give her a pass mark for the debate assignment.


The issue of refugees and immigrants is not merely pertinent to America but to all nations that serve as a destination for those escaping from unpleasant countries of origin.


Whereas the Lord reminds the Children of Israel that they too were once foreigners in another land (Exodus 22:21):


“Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.


The commands of the law were still applicable for those who wanted to be like the Children of Israel as they related to their God (Exodus 12:48):


“A foreigner residing among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat it.


It would seem perfectly reasonable to ask that the people let into a country abide by the norms and rules that define that country. After all, if the uninvited guests at Cher’s garden party ignored social custom, even clueless Cher would have asked them to leave.

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