‘RBG’ documentary reveals how Ruth Bader Ginsburg became a meme — and why that’s so surprising Favorite 



May 4 2018



The Ginsburg without photoshopped sunglasses and a crown fueled a revolution with lawsuits instead of protests. She believed in incremental progress instead of bold gestures. She was projected to be a conciliator on the court, not its preeminent liberal dissenter.

Now, “everyone wants to take a picture with me.”

Has Ginsburg too eagerly embraced the fame? All of the speaking engagements and interviews have presented Ginsburg a platform to speak about the #MeToo movement, the need for an Equal Rights Amendment, Colin Kaepernick and, most notably, Donald Trump. It has not endeared her to those who believe Supreme Court justices should be read and not heard.

And it is particularly surprising given that Ginsburg has always been recognized as big in the brains department and underserved in pizazz, especially compared to the gregarious Marty and her larger-than-life best friend on the court, the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

And yet, lines stretch for blocks when she appears on college campuses and at synagogues, and her octogenarian likeness is tattooed on millennial muscles (she disapproves: “so permanent”).

“The notion that I don’t comprehend that my job is to interpret the law fairly, that I’m going to vote one way based on who I might have voted for president, is just. . .” she trails off. “None of us, even if we wanted to, could be successful if that’s the attitude that we have.”

But the most surprising aspect of the Ginsburg in the film, Cohen said, is the sober judge has a good sense of humor.

As they were finishing shooting with Ginsburg, they showed her clips of Kate McKinnon’s impersonation on SNL, with her huge glasses, black robe, white jabot. The justice simply can’t stop laughing as she watches.

“It’s marvelously funny,” Ginsburg says finally.

Does it remind you of yourself, she’s asked.

“Not one bit,” Ginsburg replies. And then, with a beat of her own comedic timing:

“Except for the collar.”

RBG (PG, 97 minutes). Opens Friday in select theaters.

Posted by ers558@nyu.edu on