Contrary to what Fox and Friends inadvertently reported last week, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is alive and kicking. However, that doesn’t mean the 85-year-old was in good enough shape to attend a museum exhibition held in her honor at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
The Jan. 29 event, titled “An Evening with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” had to be canceled as the progressive justice recovers at home from major surgery.
Missing in action
A message from the cultural center explains their star guest’s absence:
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg regrets that she is unable to visit the Skirball on January 29. The Justice is curtailing travel and focusing on her work while recuperating from recent surgery. Thank you for your understanding.
Ginsburg has been confined to her home following a Dec. 24 surgery to have cancerous growths removed from her left lung. The justice missed oral arguments for the first time in her 25-year Supreme Court career this month, and her leave-of-absence has now stretched more than 30 days.
In October, the Skirball Cultural Center opened its “Notorious RBG” exhibition just ahead of a blockbuster biopic memorializing the justice’s unlikely rise to power and celebrity. The exhibit is inspired by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik’s 2015 biography, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Knizhnik is credited with first dubbing Ginsburg as the “Notorious RBG,” an amalgamation of the bespectacled Jewish grandmother’s initials and the street name belonging to a 300-lb African-American crack dealer turned rapper known as the Notorious B.I.G.
Speaking of her inspiration for the nickname, which first appeared on her blog in 2013, Knizhnik wrote: “I thought what better way [celebrate Ginsburg’s life] than to compare her to the late, great Notorious B.I.G. As she likes to say now, they actually have a lot in common.”
It’s difficult to tell what, exactly, Knizhnik believes her feminist heroine has in common with a rap icon who regularly objectified women in his songs before he was murdered by gang members in Los Angeles.
Nonetheless, Khizhnik’s pet name for the aging justice was so wildly popular among progressives that it served as marketing inspiration for T-shirts, coffee mugs, internet memes, book covers — and now, a museum exhibition.
Museum quality life
The exhibit, on display until March 2019, includes some of Ginsburg’s robes of office, costumes from the 2018 film On the Basis of Sex, photos of Ginsburg from her younger years, and even a gallery showcasing kitchen utensils belonging to Martin Ginsburg, the justice’s husband who frequently cooked meals for the family.
Unfortunately, Ginsburg wasn’t there to witness the collection for herself on Tuesday. The justice also canceled a Feb. 6 interview in New York at the progressive Jewish 92nd Street Y.
Ginsburg fans who can’t visit the Skirball exhibition still have a chance to celebrate the liberal icon when the cultural center takes its show on the road in 2019. The tour will stop at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia in fall 2019, before moving on to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco.