March 15: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 84th birthday. To mark the occasion, I give you–you, dear reader, not RBG, who does not read my blog!–an audio file that I think will make you smile.
Let me set up the clip: It’s from last month, February 6, in Palo Alto, California. Justice Ginsburg had just given Stanford University’s “Rathbun Lecture on a Meaningful Life” and sat for an interview with the event’s host, The Rev. Professor Jane Shaw. (See photo below.) Now she was into a question-and-answer session with students in the audience.
Previously, Justice Ginsburg had shared advice she had received years before from her mother-in-law about how to have a happy marriage: “It pays, sometimes, to be a little deaf.” This has long been a staple of RBG’s talks and interviews–when someone says something unkind, whether in marriage or at the Supreme Court or in life, don’t respond in anger. Act as if the unkind words weren’t said. Now a Stanford freshman named Sasha had a question about this advice: How do you balance this choice to be deaf to unkindness with the need to speak out against things that seem wrong?
I’ve heard and read RBG repeat this it-pays-to-be-a-little-deaf chestnut many times. But I’d never heard the answer she gave at Stanford. Justice Ginsburg tells a fine, funny, surprising story, and if you stop listening before you hear the words “sexist pig” come out of her mouth–you have stopped too soon. Take a minute and 20 seconds and enjoy.
Happy birthday, Ruth Bader Ginsburg!
You will not be surprised to hear that I’m kicking off Women’s History Month by contemplating Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She resisted and persisted, and still does.
(From I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark.)
Of course I would like the entire world to read I Dissent, but let me also bring to your attention RBG’s own book–My Own Words, a collection of her writings and speeches, thoughtfully curated by Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams. Excellent reading, it was published in October. I love the contents, and I love the cover, taken from Justice Ginsburg’s official Supreme Court portrait, painted by Constance P. Beaty (and just unveiled at the Court last week!).
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I learned this was coming about ten days ago–publishers get advance notice from the Times and writers get the heads-up from their publishers. But until I had The New York Times Book Review of February 12, 2017 in my hand, I wasn’t quite ready to believe it. Now I’ve got today’s paper. The best sellers are listed there in black and white. There’s newsprint on my fingers. I still don’t quite believe it, but I don’t deny it!