The Return of the Godless Girl!

In Skepchick company, you won’t find a more beloved catchphrase than: “Don’t high-hat the monkey!” For those not yet in the know, it comes from this wonderful 1923 silent film by Cecil B. DeMille about the evils of atheism called The Godless Girl. It was taken offline about a year ago, but now it’s back!

Also, we were reminded of this by commenter Steve (of Tree Lobster fame) in today’s Quickies, with a mention of “Don’t high-hat the monkey” textbook stickers. He then provided a template for just such stickers. So, print ’em out and stick away! No one can ever have too many reminders to not high-hat the monkey.


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. @davew: It came before the first clip. The newly inducted atheists are urged to kiss a monkey. When one shys away, he’s told “Don’t high-hat the monkey. He’s your cousin.”

  2. If I’m ever sworn in I want to do it that way, with my hand on a monkey’s head. I think they should switch over completely; it’d make a lot of too-solemn occasions way more fun.

  3. I don’t think it’s much of a catch phrase. If it is, it’s fallen into disuse. A catch phrase implies that it’s common enough that the average reader would get it. I may have been too preoccupied to notice, but I don’t recall seeing it used all that much in the past year or so.

    Start using it again, and keep bringing it up more frequently, and then I’ll call it a catch phrase. For now, I’d say it’s more of an inside joke.

  4. I tracked it down a copy of this a few months ago, and found it hilarious, it did make me want to have a “don’t high hat the monkey” shirt, but they don’t come in my size. I’m considering just designing one for myself and ordering it through cafe press.

    But I do agree with the above post about it being more of an inside joke than a catch phrase, but I do use the phrase at work to help it catch on

  5. Hi there!

    But … I don’t understand! Wouldn’t an Atheist chick be HAPPY that an innocent girl plummeted to her death? I mean … without God in her life, she has no moral compass and must therefore take delight in pain and suffering, right? [confused]

    [aside]: Seriously though, the Atheist Girl was pretty hot. Too bad the actress is probably dead by now. In Heaven! I mean …. too bad that actress is IN HEAVEN by now. [nods]


  6. I can’t see all of it. The link I followed in the comments doesn’t seem to have it all either.

    I just want to know, does she find religion in the end? The last clip ended with crosses on her hands so I can sort of guess ;-)

    Also, the guy in the striped shirt and the hat, is he supposed to look like a clown or was that great fashion back then? I really don’t know, lol!

  7. This reminds me that I still haven’t taken the time to see the whole movie. I’d suggest a movie night viewing so I wasn’t stuck seeing it alone, but it’d probably happen somewhere far from me, so I won’t.
    I’ll just proudly wear my t-shirt instead.

  8. A bon mot might imply something more like a proverb; “measure twice, cut once” kinda thing. I’d say maybe it has Shibboleth potential, but it needs development.

  9. High Hat the Monkeyslang: To espouse an irrational belief in spite of evidence to the contrary.

    Don’t high hat the monkey” : slang Phrase commonly used by skeptics and rationalists as a warning that some view or opinion may be contrary to empirical data.

    “Did you see that Ray Comfort video with the banana? Way to high hat the monkey.”
    “What do you mean Obama’s a socialist? Don’t high hat the monkey!”
    “So I’ve been dating this New Age chick, and last night, she totally high hatted the monkey.”

    See where I’m going with this?

  10. According to the Wikipedia article:

    “This drama features a romance between an atheist girl, and the male head of a Christian youth organization. The two are at odds when they are thrown into a reform school, but fall in love. The film ends with a fire that breaks out in the school; after the girl is rescued there is an epilogue in which she and the boy seem to agree that there is room for both of their views.”

    So, it looks like she doesn’t find religion (!!), but they learn to get along.

    Sadly, this movie (made in 1929), seems way more progressive than movies made today.

  11. @ “Other Amanda” i

    I saw that entry in Wikipedia also. Correct me if I’m wrong folks but I thought she turns to Jebus at the end of the movie??????

  12. As an aside, people must not have been very fast readers back in the day . . .I nodded off during a few wordy screens.

  13. so, did fight choreography just really suck back then, or did people actually fight that way? Cause if people actually fought like that back then, I don’t know how we (the U.S.) made it through WWI without getting conquered by Antarctica.

  14. No @ryk, that’s how ACTORS fought back then.
    They didn’t have Jackie Chan and Jet Li to measure up against I suppose.

    That being said, I think the movies still have a ways to go concerning swordfighting …

  15. Cause if people actually fought like that back then, I don’t know how we (the U.S.) made it through WWI without getting conquered by Antarctica.

    You probably thought all those American trips to Antarctica shortly after WWI were for exploration. In fact the mission was to receive orders from our new masters.

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