Ezekiel Emanuel is the bioethicist of the three Emanuel brothers: another is Rahm, the Mayor of Chicago, and the third is Ari, the Hollywood superagent portrayed by Jeremy Piven on Entourage. (Why we are supposed to take moral advice from a celebrity ethicist whose beloved brothers are notorious examples of amoral ruthlessness never seems to come up …) Ezekiel recently wrote in Vanity Fair about how Rahm was discriminated against as African-American when he spent a lot of time at Foster Beach in Chicago.
Now, the 57-year-old Ezekiel has an article in The Atlantic about how he hopes to die at age 75 because nobody is very creative after 75, which is true.
Of course, not many people are very creative at all at any age, so why they should be terminally depressed that they are less likely to suddenly, say, compose the 21st Century equivalent of the Eroica Symphony or whatever after they hit 75 doesn’t seem all that germane.
However, Dr. Emanuel’s article does have a subtext:
My father illustrates the situation well. About a decade ago, just shy of his 77th birthday, he began having pain in his abdomen. Like every good doctor, he kept denying that it was anything important. But after three weeks with no improvement, he was persuaded to see his physician. He had in fact had a heart attack, which led to a cardiac catheterization and ultimately a bypass. Since then, he has not been the same. Once the prototype of a hyperactive Emanuel, suddenly his walking, his talking, his humor got slower. Today he can swim, read the newspaper, needle his kids on the phone, and still live with my mother in their own house. But everything seems sluggish. Although he didn’t die from the heart attack, no one would say he is living a vibrant life. When he discussed it with me, my father said, “I have slowed down tremendously. That is a fact. I no longer make rounds at the hospital or teach.” Despite this, he also said he was happy.
In other words, when is my dad going to hurry up and die?
When is his Elderly Tourette’s Syndrome going to stop being a potential threat to his sons’ careers by revealing how the Emanuels really think, like in 2008 when the codger crowed after son Rahm was appointed Obama’s Chief of Staff:
“Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel,” he was quoted as saying. “Why wouldn’t he be? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floors of the White House.”
On the other hand, the old man, while he’s no longer the driven super-achiever Zionist Irgun paramilitarist race warrior of his younger days, has a wife who would probably miss him were he gone, and at least nine grandchildren. Maybe he’s happier now that the internal fires that drive the Emanuel men to thrust themselves so aggressively into public life are no longer burning quite as hotly in him.