In the history of American brother acts, where will the Emanuels rank?
Not as high as the Marx Brothers, the Smothers Brothers or the Allman Brothers Band. But higher than the Ritz Brothers, the Brothers Johnson or the Waco Brothers.
Rahm, Ari and Zeke are making their bid for Brother-hood with Zeke’s new book, Brothers Emanuel, a memoir growing up privileged and obnoxious on Chicago’s North Shore. They’re promoting the book on tonight’s Rock Center. The interview was previewed on the Today show. It looks worth watching, a) to see the Emanuels run roughshod over Wonder Bread wrapper boy Brian Williams, and b) to see a situation in which Rahm Emanuel doesn’t try to dominate everyone within range of his serpentine gaze. It’s Zeke’s book, and Zeke is his big brother, so Rahm defers.
Zeke says he wrote the book for “two reasons: the first reason is, I began assembling stories for my daughters. I’m getting to the age where I want to pass on family lore. The second is, we all began getting questions like, ‘What did mom put in the cereal? How come you have three successful brothers in three different areas? How did that happen, and how can I raise my kids that way?”
We also had a mother who was incredibly warm, supportive, pushy—hauled us off to demonstrations. There were also frustrations. She did end up having to give up [her] political activism [with the family’s move from Chicago to Wilmette]. She transmuted it when she got to the suburbs. One thing I can tell you: She didn’t baby us.
In that same interview, he responded to the author of the article, “Rahm and Ari Emanuel Beat Me Up,” who portrayed the bullying brothers as the terrors of Wilmette’s mean streets.
“That’s ridiculous. It’s one thing to respond and not be bullied yourself when people are calling you “nigger” or “nigger lover” or “kike.” It’s quite another to go out and just pick a fight. I do not think we went out and picked fights at all.”
Except with each other. As Ari says in the Rock Center interview, “the first time Zeke and I bonded, we beat the hell out of Rahm.”