Just give me the cod liver oil and baby teeth

Tonight I had to watch His Girl Friday for my Women in the Media class so I could analyze how female journalists are portrayed in film. The movie was pretty great, and it had some lines that really made me smile. You probably have to be a journalism dork to get most of them, though. For example (Hildy is the main character and reporter; Walter is her ex-husband and editor)…

Walter: Wait a minute, wait a minute, aren’t you going to mention the Post? Doesn’t the paper get any credit?
: Well, honey, I did that. Right there in the second paragraph.
: Who’s gonna read the second paragraph? Listen, honey. For ten years I’ve been telling ya how to write a newspaper story, and that’s all I get?

Total journalism joke.

In the beginning of the movie, the main character, Hildy Johnson, wants to give up her life of journalism to “become a woman.” She doesn’t think being a journalists really lends to having a settled family life, with which I totally agree. (And yeah, I realize that nowadays you can be a “woman” and a reporter… I don’t want to get into feminism here…)

Hildy: That’s why I’m quitting. I want to go someplace where I can be a woman.
: You mean be a traitor.
: A traitor? A traitor to what?
: A traitor to journalism. You’re a journalist, Hildy.
: A journalist? Hell, what does that mean? Peeking through keyholes? Chasing after fire engines? Waking people up in the middle of the night to ask them if Hitler’s gonna start another war? Stealing pictures off old ladies? I know all about reporters, Walter. A lot of daffy buttinskis running around without a nickel in their pockets and for what? So a million hired girls and motormen’s wives’ll know what’s going on? Why, golly, what’s the use? Walter, you wouldn’t know what it means to want to be respectable and live a half-way normal life. The point is, I’m through.

In the end, though, Hildy’s thirst for adrenaline, breaking news and a byline give way to her desires for a suburban life in Albany. Regardless, I agree with her early lines ditching journalism. If she won’t actually believe in them, I will!

Farewell, J-School! I have six more months before I leave your harried hallways!

“And that, my friends, is my farewell to the newspaper game. I’m gonna be a woman, not a news-getting machine. I’m gonna have babies and take care of them, give ’em cod liver oil and watch their teeth grow.”


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