November 21, 2017

At the No-Jokes Café...

... you'll have to think of your own jokes.

If any shopping is part of your fun, please use The Althouse Amazon Portal.

"Things got shaken up a little bit and there is a lot of light being thrown into places where there were shadows and that is kind of healthy."

"It’s painful, but I think pain is a precursor to change."

Mel Gibson weighs in.

"All of us, including me, are coming to a newer and deeper recognition of the pain caused by conduct in the past, and have come to a profound new respect for women and their lives."

First-class bullshit from Charlie Rose.

Seeking the "purity" of "younger women."

Talking Points Memo quotes what Pastor Flip Benham said on the radio last night:
"Judge Roy Moore graduated from West Point and then went on into the service, served in Vietnam and then came back and was in law school. All of the ladies, or many of the ladies that he possibly could have married were not available then, they were already married, maybe, somewhere. So he looked in a different direction and always with the [permission of the] parents of younger ladies. By the way, the lady he’s married to now, Ms. Kayla, is a younger woman. He did that because there is something about a purity of a young woman, there is something that is good, that’s true, that’s straight and he looked for that.”
Audio at the link. The discussion continues, with Benham, under questioning from the show hosts, saying that it is acceptable for a man to "court" a 14-year-old girl if he has her parent's permission.

I'm interested in the appeal to the value of "purity," because I've been reading Jonathan Haidt's "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion," which posits 5 foundations of moral reasoning, one of which is sanctity/degradation. Haidt has studied how conservatives and liberals do moral reasoning, and liberals stick to only 2 of the 5 foundations — care/harm and fairness/cheating — which is why they have a terrible time understanding (and appealing to) conservatives, who use all 5. (The other 2 are loyalty/betrayal and authority/subversion.)
The Sanctity/degradation foundation evolved initially in response to the adaptive challenge of the omnivore’s dilemma, and then to the broader challenge of living in a world of pathogens and parasites. It includes the behavioral immune system, which can make us wary of a diverse array of symbolic objects and threats. It makes it possible for people to invest objects with irrational and extreme values—both positive and negative—which are important for binding groups together.
Of course, to the liberal mind, the idea that there's "something about a purity of a young woman, there is something that is good, that’s true, that’s straight" just sounds horribly sexist. And I find it hard to believe that liberals don't think about purity too. They just aim their thoughts at the impurity of the older man — the creep — who's going after young girls. His interest in their purity is impure. 

Trump carries out the annual nonsense, pardoning turkeys.

I love when Trump asks if he can touch the bird and then, petting it, says "I feel so good about myself doing this." That almost gets a smile from Barron.

"Some have argued that there would be no #MeToo moment if Donald Trump had not been elected, even after being accused of various forms of misconduct, from groping to rape."

"But in recent weeks several of Trump’s accusers have said that while they’re happy sexual harassment is being discussed more openly, they’re still dismayed that their own stories seem to have had little impact. Some have continued speaking out, hoping that away from the chaos of the election, people might be more ready to listen to their accounts. A defamation suit filed by Summer Zervos, one of the accusers, has also opened up the possibility that they’ll get their day in court. But for now, Trump seems entirely unfazed by the allegations hanging over him. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed last month that it is the White House’s official position that every single one of the women is lying, and Trump has not shied away from condemning alleged sexual harassers (if they’re Democrats)."

From "What Happened to the 16 Women Who Accused Trump of Sexual Misconduct," by Margaret Hartmann in New York Magazine. Hartman lists the 16 women, their allegations, and what's happened since the allegations were made, but does not examine why — as so many others take massive hits and lose their jobs — Trump remains relatively unscathed. So let's talk about that. Let me get the conversation started with a few ideas. I'm not endorsing any of these theories, just putting them on a list of things you might want to consider:

1. The election worked as absolution. We factored in the allegations — giving them whatever weight we thought right — and they haven't really changed since the election, so the election is like a final judgment in a court case. As a political matter, we move on and get on with our life.

2. Since Trump is the President, we need him to carry out his duties. We especially want to put these accusations in the past, because we see the dangers of complicating his life. He's been chosen to shoulder the difficult tasks of the presidency, so leave him alone. Let him move forward.

3. Those who want to complicate his life probably didn't vote for him and would be happy to take him down now. Every time there's another Harvey Weinstein or Charlie Rose, they want to talk about Trump the sexual harasser again, but to those who've supported Trump or who want to respect the results of the election and not add to the difficulty of Trump's presidential tasks, they seem to be relitigating the election.

4. Many of the new targets of allegations are people who had seemed to be male allies of the women's movement, and it's the lying and the hypocrisy that bothers us the most. The accusations against Trump seem only to reinforce what we already saw on the surface of Trump: brash exuberance, wanting plenty of good things for himself, excitement over beautiful women, impoliteness. The new allegations don't take us back to the Trump allegations because Trump wasn't accepted as an ally of feminism. He seems to represent the old school, male chauvinism. That's a different category and not what we're paying attention to right now.

Mugabe gone at last.

"Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, resigned as president on Tuesday shortly after lawmakers began impeachment proceedings against him, according to the speaker of Parliament," the NYT reports.

"Only morons pay the estate tax" is a reason (if it's true) to get rid of the estate tax.

It may sound rude, but it's memorable, and it makes a point. Gary Cohn, Trump’s chief economic adviser, said it and also resaid it more politely: The estate tax is only paid by “rich people with really bad tax planning.”

The NYT has an editorial about it, in which it uses the word "loopholes" to refer to the provisions of the tax code that allow for the avoidance of the estate tax, and "windfall" for what Cohn's "morons" would get if the estate tax were repealed.

I'm tempted to ask Why doesn't the NYT care about morons? Shouldn't the law protect those who lack the intelligence to take steps to protect themselves? But I guess the NYT would say that the rich who are doing intelligent tax planning are bad people, and the rich who are exposing themselves to the estate tax are good people. No need to give a "windfall" to the good rich people who decline to use the tax avoidance provisions (the "loopholes"). Let's just give them a pat on the head and move on to denouncing the bad rich, the ones who aren't paying their fair share.

On the other side of the argument are Republicans who call the estate tax the "death tax" and stress that it hurts small businesses and farmers — including businesses owned by women and minorities.

The NYT says this characterization of who pays is wrong. It says (and see if you find this as hard to follow as I did):
So who actually does pay estate tax?... A few dozen farmers, and even fewer minority business owners. About 80 family farmers or small-business people would be subject to the estate tax this year, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center — a far cry from the “millions” Mr. Trump wrongly claims. The biggest winners in an estate tax repeal wouldn’t be struggling ranchers, minority contractors or mom-and-pop grocers. They’d be people like Mr. Trump’s kids, unless they’re …

Morons. “Only morons pay the estate tax,” Gary Cohn, Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser, told Senate Democrats, meaning, it was later explained, “rich people with really bad tax planning.” Many of the very wealthy use loopholes, like trusts, to avoid paying inheritance tax. We don’t know where Mr. Trump’s kids would stand because Mr. Trump has never fulfilled his promise to publicly release his tax information.
First, how would "people like Mr. Trump's kids" be the "biggest winners in an estate tax repeal... unless they're morons"? Shouldn't it be the biggest winners will be people like Mr. Trump's kids only if they're morons? If they're not morons, they're already using the "loopholes." They have good tax planning. They don't need the repeal. The repeal is only needed by those who are too moronic to get tax planning. (Actually, it's not the heirs who do the tax planning. The question isn't whether Trump's kids are morons, but whether Trump is a moron.)

I guess that's just an editing screwup, where it seemed cute to connect those 2 paragraphs. The idea is: Don't think of anybody sympathetic. Exclude all the farmers and mom-and-pop people. Visualize those Trump kids. That's who you should think of the repeal as helping. Now, let's think about morons. The Trump kids, like a lot of rich kids, are probably protected by tax planning, but some of them are morons (or, really, have parents who are morons). Do you care? Trump-kid types sometimes get less money because of a moronic failure to do tax planning: Who wants to help them?! We're currently raking in revenue from these unsympathetic nitwits. Why is that a problem to be fixed? That's the argument that, I think, was intended.

Finally, let's look at the radical discrepancy between Trump's "millions" and the number 80 that the NYT used. The Times is referring (I'll assume correctly) to the number who become subject to the estate tax in a given year. Trump said he wanted "[t]o protect millions of small businesses and the American farmer." His set of persons is everyone who might ever be subject to the tax, dying over a period of many years, and including people who might not, in the end, have enough to be subject to the tax but just have to worry and make decisions under the influence of the tax and those who are under pressure to use the services of tax professionals because they've heard that to fail to do so is to be a moron. 

"Michigan Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat and the longest-serving member of the House of Representatives, settled a wrongful dismissal complaint in 2015 with a former employee who alleged she was fired because she would not 'succumb to [his] sexual advances.'"

Buzzfeed reports on what looks like an egregious case of sexual harassment and on the way Congress hides its sexual harassment problems (and thereby facilitates them going forward).

Buzzfeed has acquired what it says are the documents showing the settlement and the ludicrously biased procedure: "a grinding, closely held process that left the alleged victim feeling, she told BuzzFeed News, that she had no option other than to stay quiet and accept a settlement offered to her."
“I was basically blackballed. There was nowhere I could go,” she said in a phone interview. BuzzFeed News is withholding the woman’s name at her request because she said she fears retribution....

Congress has no human resources department. Instead, congressional employees have 180 days to report a sexual harassment incident to the Office of Compliance, which then leads to a lengthy process that involves counseling and mediation, and requires the signing of a confidentiality agreement before a complaint can go forward.
The procedure also requires the complainant to continue working during 90 days of this counseling and mediation, so not only are you forbidden to talk to anyone about your troubles, but you have to keep working under the conditions you're saying are abusive.

This woman ended up with a settlement of just a little over $27,000, and she also lost her job and had to keep silence. I guess the power differential and the fear were so great that $27,000 was a good amount of money to her. I mean, look what she says he did:
On one occasion, she alleges that Conyers asked her to work out of his room for the evening, but when she arrived the congressman started talking about his sexual desires. She alleged he then told her she needed to “touch it,” in reference to his penis, or find him a woman who would meet his sexual demands. She alleged Conyers made her work nights, evenings, and holidays to keep him company.

In another incident, the former employee alleged the congressman insisted she stay in his room while they traveled together for a fundraising event. When she told him that she would not stay with him, she alleged he told her to “just cuddle up with me and caress me before you go.”

“Rep. Conyers strongly postulated that the performing of personal service or favors would be looked upon favorably and lead to salary increases or promotions,” the former employee said in the documents.
There was also evidence of a pattern of behavior, with affidavits from 3 other staff members. One can only wonder what other evidence was not seen because of past settlements with obligations to keep silent — not seen by the complainant. Conyers knows what's in his own history, and that's another element of the power differential. He knows how much he's got to hide. She's just a young person who needs to get a footing in her career and probably worries that her word against his won't be believed, which is probably part of why she was selected for the special workplace treatment that is sexual harassment.
One affidavit from a former female employee states that she was tasked with flying in women for the congressman. “One of my duties while working for Rep. Conyers was to keep a list of women that I assumed he was having affairs with and call them at his request and, if necessary, have them flown in using Congressional resources,” said her affidavit. (A second staffer alleged in an interview that Conyers used taxpayer resources to fly women to him.)

"Welcome to the club. This is our pervy handshake."


IN THE COMMENTS: Bob Boyd said "The handshake was awkward because Louis CK doesn't like it when another man touches his woman."

November 20, 2017

At the Fair Trade Café...


... you can talk all night.

(And please think of doing your shopping through The Althouse Amazon Portal. It's much appreciated!)

"The New York Times said on Monday that it was suspending Glenn Thrush, one of its most prominent reporters..."

"... after he was accused of inappropriate sexual behavior," the NYT reports.
The move came after the website Vox published a report containing allegations from four female journalists that Mr. Thrush, who was hired by The Times in January to cover the Trump administration, had acted inappropriately toward them. Mr. Thrush was a star reporter at Politico before joining The Times....

The women cited in the Vox article described Mr. Thrush’s behavior as including unwanted kissing and touching. Three of the women were not identified by name. The fourth, Laura McGann, wrote the article, which was presented in the first person.....
ADDED: Excerpt from the Vox piece (by Laura McGann):
I started to think maybe I shouldn’t be in journalism if I couldn’t hang in a tough newsroom. I found myself on edge, nervous and anxious all the time. I started to believe I had brought this all on myself.

In the course of reporting this story, I was told by a male reporter who’d worked at Politico at the time that my instinct was right. He said that the day after that night at the bar, Thrush told him about the incident, except with the roles reversed. I had come onto him, the reporter said Thrush told him, and he had gently shut it down....

The source said that Thrush frequently told versions of this story with different young women as the subject. He would talk up a night out drinking with a young attractive woman, usually a journalist. Then he’d claim that she came onto him. In his version of these stories, Thrush was the responsible grown-up who made sure nothing happened....

"Eight women say Charlie Rose sexually harassed them — with nudity, groping and lewd calls."

WaPo reports on the inner workings of Charlie Rose Inc., where if you didn't like the boss's behavior, your only recourse was the executive producer Yvette Vega:
Multiple women said they had at first been reassured by the presence of Vega, Rose’s executive producer, who has worked with him for decades. Two women who spoke to The Post said they repeatedly reported Rose’s inappropriate sexual behavior to Vega.
“I explained how he inappropriately spoke to me during those times,” Godfrey-Ryan said. “She would just shrug and just say, ‘That’s just Charlie being Charlie.’"...

“I should have stood up for them,” said Vega, 52, who has worked with Rose since the show was created in 1991. “I failed. It is crushing. I deeply regret not helping them.”...
It's a very long article, and I won't undertake to describe Rose's alleged modus operandi, using his small (15-person) operation to bring vulnerable women into his orbit and to isolate them in his remote beach house where Rose (we're told) used the mating technique of walking around naked.

PBS and Bloomberg LP have distanced themselves from Charlie Rose Inc., which is a separate entity. They tell the Post they knew nothing, nothing. And they've suspended distribution of the show.

The most up-voted comment at WaPo is: "Is Trump the only man in the world that is not being held accountable?"

A liberal icon crashes to the ground and what can a liberal do but scream at the sky — Trump!!?

Trump, hitting back at Jeff Flake, calls him "Flake(y)."

Here's the tweet, which is funny for a few reasons:
Sen. Jeff Flake(y), who is unelectable in the Great State of Arizona (quit race, anemic polls) was caught (purposely) on “mike” saying bad things about your favorite President. He’ll be a NO on tax cuts because his political career anyway is “toast.”
The funniest thing about it to me is Trump calling himself "your favorite President." It's absolutely accurate, because he is our only President. I mean, you might try to write a screwball comedy — in the manner of "My Favorite Wife" — where some strange occurrence causes there to be 2 Presidents, but even if you think Hillary was cheated out of the presidency, there's no way she is the President. And if you try to say, but my favorite President is Abraham Lincoln or Franklin Roosevelt, I'm going to say it depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is.

There's also some rock solid content. Flake has decided not to expose himself to an actual election process in Arizona, where a GOP incumbent should be able to win, and instead — with no judgment of the electorate to worry about — he's just speaking out against Trump. Flake's speaking has struck me as vain and attention-seeking, and the love he's getting from liberals would never translate into support in an actual political contest.

The "(purposely)" is funny, because who doesn't believe that Flake meant for his remark to be heard? Making it seem secret was a way to amplify it. That was my opinion and my favorite President agreed. Good. I also like that he used the "mike" spelling and not "mic." (Maybe Laurence Tribe will apply his massive brain to the question whether "mike" is a "distinctly Jewish" spelling.)

"Toast" is funny because "toast" popped up in Flake's open mike remark "If we become the party of Roy Moore and Donald Trump, we are toast." So Trump is just flipping the insult back. Reminds me of "Puppet? No Puppet. You’re the Puppet" at that debate with Hillary:

It is childish, but Trump doesn't have time for longer statements.

And on a deeper, emotional level, "toast" is a warm, delicious word. Toast! We're toast! I love toast! Mmmm, toast! A toast to toast!

But what I really came here to opine about is the name-calling: Flake(y). Should a President be sticking names on everyone? I don't know but Trump doesn't do it to everyone. Only to those who hit him with a low blow. It is undignified, and I prefer the idea of going high when they go low, but that's not Trump. That's not what our favorite President does. (That's the name he's gotten me to start using for him. It's sticky.)

So let's move on to the question whether Flake(y) is a good name for Jeff Flake. "Flake" was already a funny name — already connoting flakiness — and Flake has lived and achieved with it. How can you make it more of an insult by adding "y"? Is it worse to be "flaky" than to be a "flake"? I think it's worse to be a flake, since it suggests it's the entirety of what you are as opposed to merely one of your attributes. (Reading the definition of "flaky/flakey" in the OED, I see that President Reagan called Qaddafi "flaky.")

But when I think about "Flakey," my first association is Flakey Foont!
Do you know what I'm talking about? Are you not up on Mr. Natural comics?
Mr. Natural has strange, magical powers and possesses cosmic insight; but he is also moody, cynical, self-pitying, and suffers from various strange sexual obsessions. He is endlessly being accosted by would-be disciples seeking the truth (among them such long-running Crumb characters as Flakey Foont and Shuman the Human). He typically regards them with amused condescension and a certain grudging affection, although his patience often wears thin and he takes sadistic pleasure in making them feel like idiots. While he is typically very cool and in control, he sometimes ends up in humiliating predicaments like languishing for years in a mental institution.
The really weird thing is thinking of Trump as Mr. Natural!

Let's talk about Trump's shoplifting-in-China tweets.

You've probably seen these already:

I have 3 responses, in this order:

1. The President should execute the duties of his office to the best of his abilities and not pick and choose depending on who's expressing gratitude.

2. These are statements made about what he did and how he thinks about it, and they might be honest and straightforward. But they might be twists of the truth or comedy, in which case we need to ask whether a President should be speaking like this, fooling around with the idea of treating the duties of his office as the distribution of favors and singling out individuals as undeserving of the benefits he has the power to provide.

3. We can try to understand the value of the President's tweet talk (even if we disapprove of it). At this level the question is why would he think there was some political advantage in saying these things? Here, we might say that he's baiting his antagonists to reinforce what LaVar Ball said and claim that shoplifting isn't a big deal. Trump might see value in that as it promotes his reputation for law and order and makes the other side feel like the forces of chaos. Also, Trump says nothing about race but creates an opportunity for his antagonists to racialize the controvery, which might benefit him.

Your turn.

ADDED: Remember Michael P. Fay, the American who was sentenced to 4 lashes on his bare buttocks after he pleaded guilty to vandalism in Singapore? (Fay had spray painted some cars.)  Who was President then and why wasn't he spared the painful, humiliating corporal punishment?
In Washington, President Clinton expressed disappointment with Singapore's decision, saying, "I think it was a mistake, as I said before, not only because of the nature of the punishment related to the crime but because of the questions that were raised about whether the young man was in fact guilty and involuntarily confessed."
To be fair, Singapore reduced the number of lashes from 6 to 4 as "a gesture of good will" to the American President. 

Thanks for the legal advice, CNN.

"Minnesota statutes state that 'intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the buttocks' is not considered criminal sexual conduct."

Extracted from "Woman says Franken inappropriately touched her in 2010." ("According to [Lindsay] Menz, she attended the Minnesota State Fair with her husband and father in the summer of 2010, almost two years after Franken was elected to the Senate. Her father's small business was sponsoring a local radio booth... When Franken walked in... her husband held up her phone and got ready to snap a photo of the two of them, Franken 'pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear,' Menz said. 'It was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek. It wasn't around my waist. It wasn't around my hip or side. It was definitely on my butt... I was like, oh my God, what's happening.'")

Oregon leads the way in the protection of minors from sexual abuse: Teachers who think a student may be having sex must report it to the police.

WaPo reports.
According to Oregon law, anyone under 18 years old cannot legally give consent, meaning all sexual activity between minors is considered sexual abuse. This policy, [Salem-Keizer school] district officials say, stems from Oregon’s mandatory reporting and child abuse laws....

The subject came up at a training session for teachers and staff in the school district because “we felt like we hadn’t made it clear enough,” as Superintendent Christy Perry told the Statesman Journal....

Some pointed out that this leaves high school students without anyone to speak with about sex.

“You can’t have a conversation about safe sex without talking about sex,” Deborah Carnaghi, a program coordinator for Child Protective Services in Oregon’s Department of Human Services, told the Statesman Journal. Others pointed out that sexual activity among high school students is common....
Then abuse is common (abuse as defined in the state's criminal law). And why are you instructing students on how to be safe during abuse? Time to get back to abstinence only as the safe-sex training?

Here's a  quote from an 11th-grade girl: “I lose the ability to have a private conversation with a trusted adult who works for the district, about something personal to me. Talking about sexual activity between teachers and students should be confidential.” Ambiguity alert.

The people of Oregon need to think and talk about what kinds of laws they want. They need to notice the hypocrisy and the contradictions. Should teenagers under 18 be having sexual intercourse or not? If the answer is no, no means no, right?

The problem with calling Roy Moore a pedophile.

Rachel Hope Cleves (a history professor) and Nicholas L. Syrett (a gender studies professor) write in the Washington Post that it's important to set the label "pedophile" aside and confine it to its technically correct meaning ("recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger)"), because...
In the midst of a storm of allegations against powerful men in the world of politics and entertainment, we should see Moore not as an outlier but as another man who allegedly used his position to focus on those who he believed were the most vulnerable.
There are a lot of comments on this op-ed, and many of the most-liked ones don't get the point, and seem to insist on saying "pedophile" because they hate what Moore allegedly did and want to use a strong word to express that and they're not interested in sparing Moore on a technicality.  There are also many other commenters telling these people they didn't understand the article or just read the headline — "Roy Moore is not a pedophile" — and jumped into the comments section.

The authors, Cleves and Syrett, are not out to go easy on Moore. They're interested in going big attacking men in general. Moore may be an extreme case, going after young teenagers, but he's in a set of men that can't be isolated and ostracized as easily as pedophiles. Putting him in the category of men who pursue sex by exploiting a power differential integrates him with men we have not exiled from decent society, but it also creates potential for influencing the bad behavior of many more men. And that's what Cleves and Syrett are eager to do.

I got hit by a drone the other day.

I was walking in my very quiet neighborhood, wearing a long wool coat, listening to an audiobook in my usual there-but-also-somewhere-else manner, and suddenly I'm hit in the leg with what I thought was a rock. Is someone throwing a rock at me? I turn and see a rather pathetic man holding a controller of some sort in his two hands and glance down at the ground and see the stupid drone toy of his that hit me. I give him a look that must have expressed my opinion that this is the dumbest loser I have had to interact with in a long time, said nothing, and moved on. I was glad nobody threw a rock at me and glad I didn't express my sense of relief but only my opinion of his loserhood when I had to look at him.

Also, recently: We were walking down a quiet residential street near where we live, and suddenly BANG! — a big car crash. On a street with practically zero traffic, a black car made a left turn into the path of a red car going straight. No one seemed to be hurt, but the black car spun around and had its whole passenger's side crushed in. I realized how situationally unaware I am when I'm walking. I had my eyes open and looking straight in the direction where it happened, but I don't feel that I saw it. The sound of the crash got my attention, and I looked at the aftermath and deduced what happened, but I really did not see the hit. I think I get caught up in my thoughts and I'm somehow blind without being aware of how blind I am.

"One wonders if the boy did not know what would happen. I do not know about you, but in my youth I have never been in situations like this."

"Never. I was always aware of what could happen. When you are in somebody’s bedroom, you have to be aware of where that can lead to. That’s why it does not sound very credible to me. It seems to me that Spacey has been attacked unnecessarily.... People know exactly what's going on [about Weinstein]... And they play along. Afterwards, they feel embarrassed or disliked. And then they turn it around and say: 'I was attacked, I was surprised'. But if everything went well, and if it had given them a great career, they would not talk about it. I hate rape. I hate attacks. I hate sexual situations that are forced on someone. But in many cases one looks at the circumstances and thinks that the person who is considered a victim is merely disappointed."

Said Morrissey.

ADDED: These remarks made me wonder how smart Morrissey is. My guess was that he's very smart, and he likes to look at things from different points of view and talk about what he sees, and that can get you into trouble, at least if your smartness doesn't lead you to see what you're going to get if you waft miscellaneous ideas where people expect you to say only one thing and you decide to protect yourself by keeping quiet.

I read the "Early life" section of Morrissey's Wikipedia page, and see that his parents were "working-class Irish Catholics," and he "failed his 11-plus exam" after elementary school "and proceeded to St. Mary's Technical Modern School, an experience that he found unpleasant." He was good at sports but still "an unpopular loner." He said his education was "evil and brutal," and "All I learnt was to have no self-esteem and to feel ashamed without knowing why." He did read a lot, we're told, including feminist literature and Oscar Wilde. And he turned to music — very successfully — as the solution.

Even here, music was a solution. Morrissey could have saved these ideas for song lyrics, which can be enigmatic, ambiguous, and seeming to arise from a character the singer embodies.