I came across this quote

I don’t see how an article of clothing can be indecent. A person, yes.

In the context I saw it used, it was clearly a quotation of someone else, but unattributed. I searched for it to find the source, and while any number of pages will tell me it’s from Heinlein, absolutely none of them that I can find will tell me the context of the quote—is it from one of his novels? Something he said in an interview? Something else?

1 Answer 1


It's a slight variation on a line from Job: A Comedy of Justice (Chapter 16):

"What? Because those shorts, worn alone, are indecent!"

"I don't see how an article of clothing can be indecent, Alec. A person, yes. Are you saying that I am indecent?"

  • 3
    A misquote, to be precise
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 20:13
  • 11
    @Valorum Fair. You win "The Best Kind of Correct" prize for today. ;)
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 20:19
  • 4
    The discussion of being "indecent" (although not this particularly interpretation of what that means) is an allusion to Jurgen, A Comedy of Justice, to which the title of Heinlein's novel also alludes.
    – Buzz
    Commented Apr 24, 2023 at 21:07
  • 2
    @justhalf yes, that is why he wrote misquote, because there is something missing in that quote
    – BMWurm
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 7:45
  • 6
    It's also not proper to attribute quotes from fictional characters in novels directly to the author of the book, unless enough context is kept.
    – jpa
    Commented Apr 25, 2023 at 11:15

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