There’s never a pause in the rush of BREAKING NEWS these days, so I’m just gonna start posting good links irregardless. From the New York Times, “The star of the documentary “RBG” has embraced her popularity as another tool in her effort to help women advance”:
WASHINGTON — No one knew when, or even how or where, Ruth Bader Ginsburg would pop up. The Supreme Court justice was due at a screening here of “RBG,” a new documentary chronicling her exemplary life. But she was not tied to the night’s tightly scripted schedule — at some point she would just appear, “like a ninja,” an organizer said.
Gathered in a theater at the Naval Heritage Center, the crowd was amped. There were lawmakers (progressive Democrats and a smattering of conservatives); the justice’s family, friends and former law clerks; her colleague Justice Stephen Breyer; and self-described fan girls and boys…
When the justice arrived, bodyguards encircling her, the audience gave her a standing ovation, then hushed until she claimed her seat. She wore her hair pulled back with one of her beloved scrunchies, in navy velvet; a maroon tweedy blazer; slate-blue belled slacks; jewelry in just about every possible place jewelry can go; and carried her own large handbag. In front of her, arms shot up for the stealth selfie-with-a-famous-person snap. She didn’t mind.
Justice Ginsburg is an unlikely celebrity but then again, we live in an age full of those. What makes her ascendance to pop culture icon — the Notorious RBG, y’all — truly surprising is that, at 85, she is having fun with her unexpected fame, and making careful and inspired use of it for her own savvy ends.
“Ruth was so far ahead of her time that she was alone for decades,” Gloria Steinem wrote in an email, listing the ways her friend and feminist compatriot of nearly half a century has been at the forefront of cultural shifts. “Ruth acted on the intertwining of racism and sexism long before it was called intersectionality. And she was principled in her own field,” the law, even though, as a woman, she was not initially welcome in its highest ranks…
Theodore B. Olson, the conservative lawyer and a longtime friend of Justice Ginsburg (he also argued Bush v. Gore, representing George W. Bush, in front of her), has seen her evolve into an idol.
“She knows the fact that she’s doing this, and embracing it, means so much to young women — because she’s teaching, every time she gives a speech or talks to people,” he said after the screening. “And that’s what this movie will do too. So she knows how valuable it is.”
Mr. Olson calls her a warrior. Ms. Steinem, in the documentary, calls her a superhero. (Marvel agrees: in “Deadpool 2,” when the title character is assembling his X Force, he flicks through a photo of her as a candidate.)
For Julie Cohen and Betsy West, the directors of “RBG,” she was, first off, a hard-to-wrangle subject. Each had interviewed her for other projects, but when they approached her about the documentary she told them she wouldn’t talk to them for at least two years. She was 82 at the time.
They persisted, interviewing colleagues and clients for whom she did landmark work. Eventually they were granted an audience with her, trailing along on family vacations, to the opera, and on a visit with her granddaughter, a recent Harvard Law graduate who calls her Bubbie. In her chambers, Justice Ginsburg traced her path from law school, where the dean asked her and the eight other female students (in a class of about 500) how they could justify taking the place of a man. Though she made the law review and graduated at the top of her class at Columbia, no firm would hire her, a Jewish woman and already a mother; she became a professor instead. If she felt any frustration at being shortchanged professionally, it didn’t erupt. “Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade,” she wrote in her 2016 autobiography, “My Own Words.”…