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:
“Build a man a fire and he’ll be warm for a night…” (joke) (3/23)
“Why are women and children evacuated first?” (joke) (3/23)
“I’ll have a rum and coke” (joke) (3/23)
“I’ve had so much coffee today I can see noises” (3/23)
“The most dangerous drinking game is seeing how long I can go without coffee” (3/23)
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Entry from September 05, 2013
“Society is like a stew”

"Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top” has been printed on posters. The saying has been attributed to American author Edward Abbey (1927-1989), who said it more than once. In a letter to the editor of a newspaper in February 1969, Abbey wrote:

“So—make trouble; raise hell; human society is like a stew; if we don’t keep it stirred up we get a lot of scum on top.”

Abbey wrote in A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto): Notes from a Secret Journal (1989):

“Society is like a stew. If you don’t keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top.”


Wikipedia: Edward Abbey
Edward Paul Abbey (January 29, 1927 – March 14, 1989) was an American author and essayist noted for his advocacy of environmental issues, criticism of public land policies, and anarchist political views. His best-known works include the novel The Monkey Wrench Gang, which has been cited as an inspiration by radical environmental groups, and the non-fiction work Desert Solitaire.

15 February 1969, Grito del Norte (Las Vegas, NM), “Letters to the Editor,” pg. 10, col. 2:
Ajo, Ariz., Jan. 17.
Congratulations on the publication of a most excellent newspaper.
(...)
So—make trouble; raise hell; human society is like a stew; if we don’t keep it stirred up we get a lot of scum on top.

Viva la huelga! Viva la causa! Viva Bakunin!
Edward Abbey

Google News Archive
19 June 1979, Daily Union Democrat (Sonora, CA), “Letters to the Editor,” pg. 2, col. 2:
As for our “leaders,” Edward Abbey said it well: “Human society is like a stew—if you don’t keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top.”
Michael Harami
Sonora

Google Books
A Voice Crying in the Wilderness (Vox Clamantis in Deserto):
Notes from a Secret Journal

By Edward Abbey
New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press
1989
Pg. 21:
Society is like a stew. If you don’t keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top.

14 July 1990, Galveston (TX) News,"A Voice Crying’ embodies author Abbey’s lively spirit” by Yvonne Turner, pg. 12-B, col. 5:
“Society is like a stew. If you don’t keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top.”

Google Books
Funny Cryptograms
By Shawn Kennedy
New York, NY: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.
2003
Pg. 93:
Society is like a stew. If you don’t keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top. — Edward Abbey

Google Books
“The Greatest Quotations of All-Time”
By Anthony St Peter
Xlibris Corporation (Xlibris.com)
2010
Pg. 577:
Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top. Edward Abbey

Twitter
Murdoch Media‏
@FoxLiesChannel
“Society is like a stew. If you don’t stir it up every once in a while then a layer of scum floats to the top.” -Edward Abbey #LaborDay
2:33 PM - 2 Sep 13

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityGovernment/Law/Politics/Military • Thursday, September 05, 2013 • Permalink