"I left with nothing. It's strange because in primary school I excelled. I passed the 11-plus. I didn't go to grammar school but went to Rathcoole Secondary School. We did mid-term exams and I was first in almost every subject. But people wouldn't play with me. I wasn't allowed on the football team. I was on my own.
I got this idea in my head that I could be bottom of the class in every subject if I really tried hard, and believe me coming bottom in some of the subjects was very difficult because they got really low scores. But I managed it, and I became popular."
Let's repeat what Gary Mitchell just said: "I managed it - [to be bottom of the class in every subject] - and I became popular." This is horrendous. Then he said:
"I realised that learning things was a bad idea, and being dumb was a good idea. Being stupid was the smart thing to do."
He explained here his journey from chronic worklessness to famous playwright. He then explained his life after becoming famous:
"Things were going great – I had a family, plenty of money, plenty of opportunities and plenty of work. Everything seemed perfect. In fact, I remember standing outside our house one day with my wife, and she told me it was like heaven. Nothing ever went wrong – just before everything did go wrong.There was a build-up which I should have been aware of. David Ervine, who was a friend and really loved my plays, spoke on my behalf to renegade paramilitaries. He came back and told me I was really a victim of my own popularity. I was famous, and I shouldn't be. As it was put to me, who did I think I was?
People, for their own insane reasons, started to think I must be to blame for something. If all these Catholics liked me, I must be doing something wrong. My car got blown up, my home got petrol bombed. I had to leave my home and go into hiding for years with a really young family."
He said: "My whole family was told to leave Rathcoole and everyone did, except her [my grandmother]." He said of Protestant working class boys:
"They are bluffing. They’re smarter than that. Protestant working-class boys are doing exactly what I did. They are hiding their intelligence. It’s very sad, but it’s a macho culture. People are judged on how good at fighting they are and how good at intimidating people they are, certainly not how good their brain is or how good they are at passing exams."
On working class Protestants and the arts, he said:
"I can only talk about my experience and for me, growing up, the arts was a very Catholic or a homosexual thing. I don't really see how that has changed much. If I tell people I've a play on, young guys will look at you strangely. If you say movie, they think you're cool, but if you say it's a play, it is completely different."Interview in full here. My previous article on Gary Mitchell is here. My earlier posts in the 'When it's cool to be dumb' series can be accessed here, here (UDA prisoner), here, here, here, here, here,here, here and here. With the Simpsons here. On the Huffington Post UK here. With loyalist playwright put into hiding for his broadmindedness, Gary Mitchell, here. With Shane Smith and Russell Kane here.