As we discussed on Tuesday, Lyndon Johnson was one of the greatest intimidators in US history, utilizing every bit of his 6’3″, 250-pound frame and sharp, filthy tongue to push through a fistful of the most sweeping governmental reforms of the 20th century. It was known simply as the Johnson Treatment—unrelenting mental and physical intimidation of opponents by any means necessary—and only 10 American gentlemen in the last 50 years have employed it as famously and effectively as LBJ.

The Bob Gibson Treatment: Holstered a dozen or so pitches whose singular purpose was to intimidate batters crowding the plate. Among them were “two different fastballs,” Gibson wrote in his autobiography, “a couple sliders, a curve, a change-up, a knockdown, a brush-back and hit-batsman.”

The Rupert Murdoch Treatment: In 2003, threatened to cancel The Simpsons and sue his own network when an episode of the show included a Fox News ticker reading, “Do Democrats Cause Cancer?” and “Fox News—Not Racist, But #1 With Racists.”

The Mike Tyson Treatment: “From the moment I step in the ring, I never take my eyes off of my opponent. I keep my eyes on him, I keep my eyes on him, I keep my eyes on him. And once I see a chink in his honor—one of his eyes move just a little—then I know I have him. Even when he gives me that piercing look again in the center of the ring, he already made that mistake—he looked down for one tenth of a second, which means he’ll fight hard for the first two or three rounds, but I know I already broke his spirit. I’m a god when I walk in the ring, and no one can beat me. I’m Mike Tyson, the greatest fighter who ever lived.” Transcript from “A Lesson on Intimidation from Mike Tyson.”

The Scott Rudin Treatment: Sent Harvey Weinstein, a chain-smoker, a crate of cigarettes after working together on The Hours. Also regularly fires all five of his assistants simultaneously, who then wait at a designated café across the street until an office manager informs them that they’ve been rehired.

The Bobby Knight Treatment: Choked Indiana University’s communications director after a negative press release; assaulted a Puerto Rican police officer while coaching Pan American Games in San Juan; threw a chair across the court to protest a referee’s call during game; told Connie Chung, “I think that if rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it”; choked, punched and mock-bullwhipped Indiana players Michael Prince, Neil Reed and Calbert Cheaney, respectively; threw a potted plant at a female secretary; attacked assistant coach Ron Felling by throwing him out of a chair after overhearing him criticizing the basketball program in a phone conversation; fired a shotgun in the direction of James Simpson after he asked Knight to stop hunting too close to his home; bid farewell to an Indiana University crowd by saying, “When my time on earth is gone and my activities here are passed, I want them to bury me upside down and my critics can kiss my ass.”

The Barry Bonds Treatment: Pitchers walked him 2,558 times in 12,606 at bats—or roughly every fifth time he came to the plate. Here’s why

The Suge Knight Treatment: A card-carrying member of the Piru Bloods gang, Mr. Knight broke into the hip-hop world as Bobby Brown’s muscle, but quickly took on more of a leadership role by employing negotiation tactics involving lead pipes, baseball bats and dangling Vanilla Ice off a 20th-story balcony until he signed away all publishing rights to “Ice Ice Baby,” having sampled music from Knight’s label without his permission. Judging from a recent interview, the (Suge) Knight Treatment continues to have a lasting effect on Mr. Ice.

The Rush Limbaugh Treatment: In the wake of massive backlash from Limbaugh listeners after saying, “Rush is not the head of the Republican Party—he’s an entertainer whose show is incendiary and ugly,” RNC Chairman Michael Steele quickly apologized: “My intent was not to go after Rush. I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. I went back at that tape and I realized words that I said weren’t what I was thinking.”

The Rahm Emanuel Treatment: Congressman Eric Massa on the Rahm Treatment: “I’m sitting there in the congressional showers, naked as a jaybird, and here comes Rahm Emanuel, not even with a towel wrapped around his tush, poking his finger in my chest, yelling at me because I wasn’t gonna vote for the president’s budget. Do you know how awkward it is to have a political argument with a naked man? … It’s ridiculous.”

The Jack Lambert Treatment: Have a look.

—C.B.S.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • C. Brian Smith