A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 21, 2009
“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it”

"Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it” is a quotation often attributed to Mark Twain (1835-1910), but he never said it. The quotation is cited in print since only 2002 and appeared on T-shirts in 2005.

The quotation—in slightly different form, without the word “censorship”—appears in Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Man Who Sold the Moon,” published in 1950: “The whole principle is wrong; it’s like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can’t eat steak.”

The meaning of the quotation is that censorship prohibits everyone (both a man and a baby) from enjoying something just because one (the baby) cannot or does not enjoy it.


Wikiquote: Censorship
“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.”
. Unknown, but often attributed to Mark Twain

Wikiquote: Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American humorist, novelist, writer, and lecturer.
(...)
Misattributed
Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.
. Often attributed to Twain online, but unsourced. Alternate source: “The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It’s like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can’t have steak.” — Robert Heinlein “The Man Who Sold the Moon” p.188.

Wikipedia: The Man Who Sold the Moon
The Man Who Sold the Moon is a science fiction novella by Robert A. Heinlein written in 1949 and published in 1950, part of his “Future History” of stories sharing a common background from “Life-Line” to “Da Capo”. This story, which has the sequel “Requiem”, covered events around a fictional first moon-landing, in 1978. It follows the story “Blowups Happen” in the Future History chronology. In that story, space flight was supposedly assured by a new nuclear fuel produced in an orbiting reactor. In this episode the reactor has been destroyed and the nuclear rocket has been found to be a dead-end.

Google Books
The Man Who Sold the Moon;
Harriman and the escape from Earth to the Moon!

By Robert A Heinlein
Chicago, IL: Shasta Publishers
1950
Pg. 225:
The whole principle is wrong; it’s like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can’t eat steak.

Google Groups: netscape.public.mozilla.general
Newsgroups: netscape.public.mozilla.general
From: Jonas Jørgensen
Date: Sat, 08 Jun 2002 19:05:44 +0200
Local: Sat, Jun 8 2002 11:05 am
Subject: Re: download.com Negative comments digest

Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.
- Mark Twain

Google Groups: alt.religion
Newsgroups: alt.religion
From: (SITARAM)
Date: 24 Aug 2003 13:06:11 GMT
Local: Sun, Aug 24 2003 7:06 am
Subject: The Journey of Man

Mark Twain said “censorship is forbidding a man to eat steak because a baby could not chew it.”

Adventures Beyond the Comfort Zone
Sunday, August 07, 2005
can’t say I didn’t try
(...)
Saw a t-shirt at work yesterday with a Mark Twain quote on the back: “Censorship is like telling a man he can’t have steak because a baby can’t chew it.”

28 September 2005, Marshall (MO) Democrat-News, “Controversial Books”:
One of my favorite quotes is actually from Mark Twain, who once said, “Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.”

Google Books
America’s War on Sex:
The attack on law, lust and liberty

By Marty Klein
Westport, CT: Praeger
2006
Pg. 58:
But as Mark Twain said, “Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.”

Google Books
Inside Reporting:
A practical guide to the craft of journalism

Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill
2006
By Tim Harrower
Pg. 144:
“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.”
Mark Twain

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • (0) Comments • Saturday, November 21, 2009 • Permalink