Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik [in Library Journal]
Ruth Bader Ginsberg (b. 1933) is legend: she was Columbia University’s first female tenured professor; she published the first casebook on sex discrimination; she was the second woman to sit on the nation’s highest court; and she was the first Supreme Court justice to officiate at a same-sex wedding.
Ginsberg is iconic: she’s a Halloween costume for all ages; her Cartoon Network alter ego, Wrath Hover Ginsbot, has been “appointed for life to kick your butt”; she’s a recurring character on Saturday Night Live. Her “jabot with scalloped glass beads” – aka her dissent collar – is a feared weapon for justice.
Her inspirational success on and off the bench – the diminutive octogenarian still does push-ups –inspired the Tumblr site, Notorious R.B.G., “a digital tribute” whose moniker nods admiringly to late rapper Notorious B.I.G., invoking both stark contrasts and surprising similarities between the two headliners.
Verdict: Site founder Shana Knizhnik and journalist Irin Carmon have seamlessly transferred digital to paper (fact-checked with RBG!) and going aural proves equally successful – albeit definitively different. While Andi Arndt reads RBG in all her fabulous notoriety, frequent references to downloadable enhanced visual materials (including RBG’s annotated doodles!) can be distracting. That said, this is exactly what libraries are for: let them do does justice to Notorious RBG.