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Rivals tell how they got bullied, fought back

Updated: April 30, 2011 4:45AM



At the mayoral debate Monday night, the bullying question was raised, and three of the four candidates raised their hands.

Rahm Emanuel had his bike swiped on the dangerous streets of Wilmette. Miguel del Valle said he was beaten up. Carol Moseley Braun went so far as to name her tormenter and cackle wildly after describing how she went “Bye-Zerk” on her.

Gery Chico? Wasn’t bullied. But after the debate, he told reporters about taking care of a kid who was picking on his brother.

“I knocked him out. Not cold, you know. But I mean, I knocked him out because he was on my brother’s back. And you know what? If you do that a couple times, nobody messes with you. I mean that is just the way I was brought up.”

Lest we think Chico isn’t sensitive to this hot-button issue, his campaign released Chico’s official anti-bullying plan. All well and good, but I gotta say, there’s something to be said for that old-school remedy.

For the record: Bullying is bad. It’s heartbreaking to hear stories of kids who are taunted and tormented to the point of doing harm to themselves. It’d be a much better world if hostile, insecure bullies didn’t tease, intimidate and physically harm others.

But since the beginning of time, bigger and jerkier kids have been picking on other kids. It’s a regrettable but inevitable part of the growing-up experience, and except in the most extreme circumstances, you learn to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, get on with your life. The best revenge is being a better person than the clown that got his kicks out of trying to make you miserable.

Plain-talkin’ Sarah

In an interview with fellow Fox News star Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin once again invoked the groan-inducing term “lame-stream media” as she went after her critics.

As for using the term “blood libel” last week, Palin maintained, “You can spin up anything out of anybody’s release. ‘Blood libel’ obviously means ‘being falsely accused of having blood on your hands,’ which in this case is exactly what is going on.”

Uh-huh.

More Palin: “[T]wo days before I released my statement, the Wall Street Journal had that term in its title . . . that phrase has been used for eons . . . So . . . it was part of that double standard thing and goes back to that thing if they didn’t have double standards, what standards would they have, I suppose?”

Perhaps she means double standards as in: If you criticize me or my family I’m going to demand an apology and talk about how unfair it is for the lamestream media to go after us, even though I’ve trotted them out time and again for political and monetary gain — but if I make a misstep, I’m never going to apologize for it and I’m going to talk about how my First Amendment rights are being threatened, even though that’s not really happening.

That kind of double standard?

Gelman, take my alarm clock!

One of the many unsuccessful challengers to Johnny Carson’s reign as the King of Late Night TV was Rat Packer Joey Bishop, who hosted a late-night show from 1967-1969.

His sidekick? A guy named Regis Philbin.

A quarter-century would pass before Regis enjoyed his greatest success. With TV stardom coming so late in his career, he clearly relished every moment on the national stage. Philbin is 79 and he’s endured some health issues in recent years, but it still came as a surprise when he announced Tuesday this would be his last year.

Thanks to my partnership with Roger Ebert and later as a solo guest, I was on Regis’ show about a dozen times. (Roger and I were on the show that marked Kathie Lee’s final appearance.)  Regis would come in, looking dapper in his wool overcoat, barking greetings to everyone and anyone. A little makeup, a little prep, and boom! He was REGIS, sounding an awful lot like Darrell Hammond imitating Regis Philbin.

Regis always seems so happy to be on TV — even when he’s being crabby. As is the case with most talk-show hosts, you get the sense they’re most alive, most engaged with the world, during that one hour of the day when they’re on the air. I thought he’d keep working until he simply couldn’t work.

First Larry King, now Regis Philbin. However you feel about their careers, you have to salute their longevity. The last time neither King nor Philbin was on the air for an hour every workday, Madonna was singing about how she felt “Like a Virgin.”

Regis Philbin has logged more than 16,000 hours on television. If you WATCHED three hours of TV a day, every day, it would take you more than 14 years to reach that mark.



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