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.

Recent entries:
“Mondays are the potholes in the road of life” (3/22)
“Candy is nature’s way of making up for Mondays” (3/22)
“All you need is love and a good cup of coffee” (3/22)
“Caffeine isn’t a drug, it’s a vitamin” (3/22)
“Coffee with a friend is like capturing happiness in a cup” (3/22)
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Entry from January 30, 2015
“Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please”

Mark Twain (the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemons, 1835-1910) said in an interview with Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) in Elmira, New York, in 1889 (published in Kipling’s From Sea to Sea in 1899):

“Get your facts first, and then you can distort ‘em as much as you please.”

The jocular saying has been popular among journalists, politicians, scientists, comedians and many others.


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.
(...)
Sourced
Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.
. Commonly quoted as: “First get your facts, then you can distort them at your leisure.”
. Rudyard Kipling, An Interview with Mark Twain, p. 180, From sea to sea: letters of travel, 1899, Doubleday & McClure Company.

17 June 1894, The Sunday Herald (Boston, MA), “The Funniest of Funny Men: An Attempt at an Interview with Mark Twain” by Edward Marshall, pg. 23, col. 2:
“Get your facts first,” he said loudly, “and then,” here his voice died away to an almost inaudible drawl, “you can distort them as much as you please.”

Google Books
From Sea to Sea:
Letters of Travel (Part II)

By Rudyard Kipling
New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons
1899
Pg. 265:
An Interview with Mark Twain
Pg. 281:
“My own knowledge of mathematics stops at ‘twelve times twelve,’ but I enjoyed that article immensely. I didn’t understand a word of it; but facts, or what a man believes to be facts, are (Pg. 282—ed.) always delightful. That mathematical fellow believed in his facts. So do I. Get your facts first, and”—the voice dies away to an almost inaudible drone—“then you can distort ‘em as much as you please.”

Chronicling America
14 December 1902, The Republic (St. Louis, MO), “New Stories told at a possible Christmas dinner by American Raconteurs,” Magazine, pg. 3, col. 1:
(Mark Twain—ed.)
If you want to be funny get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please, in the sublime confidence and with the absolute certainty that your hearers will find you excruciating.

Chronicling America
11 June 1910, Washington (DC) Herald, “Status of Tariff,” pg. 4, col. 4:
“Statistics,” said Mr.Clemons, “are the most interesting things I know. Just get your statistics, and (here his voice trailed off to a whisper) then you can distort them as much as you please.”—Kipling on “Mark Twain.”

Google Books
Theme-building
By Charles Henshaw Ward
Chicago, IL: Scott, Foresman and Company
1920
Pg. 37:
Mark Twain once put it pithily to a traveler from India: “Young man,- first get your facts — and then you can distort them as much as you like.” That young novice was Rudyard Kipling. He profited, as all school writers can profit, from the advice.

Google Books
Workbook for News Reporting and Writing
By Brian S. Brooks (Missouri Group., et al.)
Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s
2011
Pg. 163:
Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please. —Mark Twain

TwainQuotes.com
Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.
- quoted by Rudyard Kipling in From Sea to Shining Sea

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMedia/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • Friday, January 30, 2015 • Permalink