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That’s So SOAS – Our guide to being the coolest kid on the block

By Anonymous


“So what did he mean by comparing essay writing to the plot

of Clueless?”

page 21_CREDITS_Eizabeth Jellicoe


I have a friend who once went to her personal tutor for essay writing tips. “What’s your favourite rom-com?” He asked.

“Clueless” she replied, without missing a beat (this is why we’re friends). “Ok, well explain to me the plot of Clueless”. She did, impressed by his eminence. Someone with such a
long and illustrious academic career must surely know a thing or two about essay writing. “There, you see” he said as she finished, apparently satisfied, “just like a Hegelian
dialectic. Now off you go.” I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this piece of advice (often time that I should really have been spending on JSTOR) – so what did he mean by
comparing essay writing to the plot of Clueless? Let’s engage in a discourse.  Cher’s love life is the focus of the film, right? She’s totally not into high school boys, who are gross and oh so 90’s. Well ok maybe there’s one high school boy who is kind of dreamy – Elliot. Elliot (like so many flawed theorists) has a lot to offer superficially. He’s rich, pretty and has a nice car. At first we think that Elliot holds all the answers, but then Elliot tries to date-rape Cher (in a deeply problematic scene) and we realise that actually his theories are totally untenable. Elliot is critiqued and found wanting. But then Christian sashays into view. He’s cool, sexy, cultured – he’s trying out some radical new methods and totally working it. This is some super postmodern stuff and Cher can’t help but be dazzled. Oh but hang on, Christian wears quite tight t-shirts and really likes Spartacus… that can only mean one thing. Uh oh I don’t think they’re really on the same page if you see what I mean– are his theories really applicable to Cher’s essay question? Oh dear, I’m afraid not. Actually we all know, right from the beginning, that it’s Cher’s step-brother that is really the ONE. We know this because he’s cute in a husband-material kinda way, he has principles (which, as all SOAS students know, is sexual dynamite) and his rock solid scholarship just can’t be beaten. We pretended like it wasn’t going to be the step-brother, partly because it is quite weird that she ends up banging her step-brother… but I guess things were different in 1995. So they make out on the stairs and live happily ever after. There we are, just like a Hegelian dialectic. Now off you go and finish your coursework.

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