So I’ve started writing my mammoth, colossal paper. It is totally intimidating, but completely fun, all at the same time. I referred to it here; it’s all about classroom films of the postwar era, specifically of the social hygiene sort. I just love these films. They are filled with antique furnishings, antique attitudes, and the occasional nugget of something close to wisdom. Very occasional.
Last night I had an social hygiene orgy of sorts, and watched about twenty in a row. The beautiful thing about these films is that they are now in the public domain, and available for download at the Internet Archive. This is a researcher’s dream come true, let me tell you. The stuff you’re studying – for free – right at your fingertips! However, I can only watch so many movies at my desk, on a computer. I knew that if I was going to get down and dirty with three hours’ worth of them, I had to do something.
Fortunately, I have a very small computer, and some very cool hardware in the living room. It was easy as using a Simplicity Pattern to take my Mac mini to the living room and hook it up to Derek’s projector. I sat on the couch with notepad and pretzel sticks, watching Jane, Joan, Jean, and June (the four J’s, I like to call them; they’re the predominant names of girls in these movies) projected on my wall as they learned how to have a sterling reputation (never, ever park with a boy but do keep your hems neat) which would lead to a successful marriage (anticipate your husband’s every need and never, ever, have a career). Since D is away this week, and Lanty wasn’t interested, I had a running dialogue with the wall. It went something like this:
WALL: “I think I should cancel physics and history. I won’t need them.” (from I Want To Be a Secretary, 1941)
ME: Oh, June, you’ll miss your brain when it’s gone.
WALL: “Mother, too, keeps a good appearance, even around the house, for it keeps up her spirits.” (from How To Be Well Groomed, 1949)
ME: So do the bennies.
WALL: “This department is staffed by girls, but they need a supervisor because some of the work is complicated.” (from Office Etiquette, 1950)
ME: You have got to be kidding me.
And that doesn’t even cover the films about marriage or (god forbid) going steady. No wonder the Women’s Movement exploded in the sixties.
So after all this, I was pretty burned out on academics, and I decided to do something really pointless. I’ve been running across this meme all over the place, and I couldn’t help but jump in, too. I love movies too much not to. Below are fifteen quotes from my favorite movies. Do you know any of them? Answers in a few days.
I’m poor, black, I may even be ugly, but dear God I’m here, I’m here!
Target that explosion and fire!
You know I love you more than my luggage.
Well, here’s my first question. Do you think it’s kind of dangerous handing out guns at a bank?
If I was gonna kill you, I’d use my hands.
Fix mother a drink, Jim, I’m exhausted.
I brought you flours.
We’d all like to go home and save our families, but we can’t. We’re just not that powerful.
At my age, it’s embarrassing to say so, but every day I feel so alive.
She looks like a cocktail waitress on an oil rig.
You mean…my mother cracked up, too?
La Boheme. It’s an opera.
I want to go on living even after I’m dead.
Mankind should be our business, Ebenezer, but we seldom attend to it.