These are excerpts from a humorous John Walsh column in The Independent (UK), in which he explores the self-aware “talent” in a young Julian Assange.
……My parents ran a touring theatrical company, in which people dressed up every night in clothes that weren’t their own, and pretended to be other people in order to fool the people sitting in front of them, who’d paid money to be deceived. It was a disgraceful scam, but nobody seemed willing to blow the whistle. So some nights, when I could still only crawl, I’d writhe onstage from the wings, point at the leading lady and hiss to the audience, “It’s not really Queen Gertrude – I think you have a right to know it’s Mrs Marjorie Nobbs from Owl Creek Avenue!”
At the Ned Kelly Memorial School, I excelled in Sums, Needlework, Writing and Copying. At five, I sat beside Eric Ponting, who was much better at Sums than I was, in order to look over his shoulder and copy his answers. Mrs Ponds told me my behaviour was wrong and that I must work out the answer myself. “But Ponting always has the true answer,” I replied. “And the truth should be available to all, especially me. Or are you saying we should spend our lives being satisfied with half-truths?” She gave me a clip round the ear and called me a mouthy little drongo, but I could tell my classmates were impressed.
……A week later, we were given a spelling test. I demanded to know the answers there and then. The teacher, Mr Whitlam, told me not to be silly.
“You are concealing information from children in a flagrant dereliction of educational principles,” I said. “You are encouraging us to rely on guesswork, for which we will later be penalised.”
“No, Assange,” said Mr Whitlam, “I just want to know whether you can spell ‘kookaburra’ and ‘wallaby.'”
“Can you spell ‘transparency’?” I asked him, with my biggest sneer. “Since you clearly don’t know what it means.”
I was sent before the Headmaster to be caned.
“You’re a strange customer, Julian,” said the Head. “Smart, clever, sharp as a whip, but with no understanding of any privacy except your own. Also you’re paranoid and insecure, possibly because your mother had a tough time with men and you’re always moving house. Ah well. Touch your toes.”
“I understand you must punish me to uphold the corrupt regime of which you are the local gauleiter,” I said, bending over. “But I think you should know there’s a blue ring platypus loose in the car park…”
He rushed outside. I had just enough time to rifle through the pile of magazines I’d spotted in a toppling pile beside his sofa. Halfway down, I found a copy of Sheilas in Their Scanties. His name and address were on a sticker, so I knew he got it every month.
When he returned, I was on the telephone. “What the bloody hell…?” he shouted.
“I’m just ringing Sheilas in Their Scanties to confirm that you’re a subscriber,” I said mildly. “Then I’m ringing the Queensland Age to tell them our headmaster gets porn magazines sent to the school every month. And then you can cane me.”
“Assange…” The wind had departed the headmaster’s sails all right. “Perhaps we could come to some… arrangement.”
And at that moment, the glimmer of a thought occurred to me, about the direction of my future career…
Considering Assange’s sociopathic personality, this satire is probably spot on.