Is the Emanuel family ever not in the news? Last month, bioethicist Ezekiel Emanuel was explaining in The Atlantic, using his 87-year-old former terrorist father Benjamin as Example A, why people ought to hurry up and drop dead at age 75. Now I’ve stumbled upon this 2012 article from the Jewish Daily Forward:
Rahm and Ari Emanuel Beat Me Up
Do Childhood Bullies Make Powerful Adult Leaders?
By Alan Goldsher
Published November 03, 2012, issue of November 09, 2012.
You know Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago? And his brother Ari Emanuel, arguably the most powerful talent agent in Hollywood? Well, they beat me up.
Not last week, or last month, or last year, but back in the ’70s, when they were teenagers and I was 10. Mind you, I’m not bitter about it or anything. Hell, I’ve been using the story as social currency ever since the Brothers Emanuel earned their respective notoriety. After all, everybody loves hearing how those ball-busting siblings were busting balls even before they owned Chicago and Hollywood. So let’s travel back to Wilmette, Ill. The year was 1976….
My pediatrician was Dr. Benjamin Emanuel, aka Dr. Benny. … Generally, my sojourns behind the house were solitary and unexciting, but every once in a while, Dr. Benny’s two high school aged sons paid me a visit.
It was common knowledge around Wilmette that Rahm and Ari Emanuel were bullies — hyper-intelligent bullies, but bullies nonetheless. (This was unlike their father, who only pretended to be a bully.) Rahm and Ari were, respectively, 6 and 5 years older than I was, so other than my weekly appearances at Dr. Benny’s, our paths never crossed; still, in those brief moments, the boys took a disliking to little ol’ me.
How do I know they disliked me? Because at every given opportunity, they threw me to the ground. Hard. Really hard.
I’ve blocked out the specifics of the attacks. The only things I know for certain were that a) they were unprovoked, and b) they hurt. I don’t know if their pushes were planned or spontaneous — although I suspect there might have been some forethought on that memorable afternoon when they shoved me back and forth and back and forth. …
All of which got me to wondering if it’s common for a childhood tough guy to succeed as an adult. According to Robert Faris, a sociologist at the University of California Davis, if the circumstances are right, the answer is yes. “On average, the future for bullies is bleak,” Faris said. “They tend to come from homes that are problematic, and then end up having long-term problems. But there’s a caveat to that: another category of kids who are highly aggressive, kids who come from good homes, kids who are often quite popular. Those children are probably more skillful in the way that they use aggression. They often have high social skills, and do quite well in later life. There are probably a number of politicians and successful business leaders who fall into that category.”