Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has repeatedly declined to hear a case brought forth by “Mortality,” choosing instead to outlast everyone and everything on Earth. She did, however, offer an opinion. In an interview with NPR’s Nina Totenberg, Ginsburg delivered one of her more delicious subtle smackdowns in response to those who wished her ill and the concept of death in general:
There was a senator, I think it was after my pancreatic cancer, who announced with great glee that I was going to be dead within six months,” she recalled. “That senator, whose name I have forgotten, is now himself dead, and I,” she added with a smile, “am very much alive.
Now that is a Gins-burn! They say the best revenge is living well but I’d argue the best revenge is living, going on NPR, and flexing on all your haters on Earth and in Heaven.
RBG was like, “Well, Nina, in the words of Destiny’s Child, ‘Hey how ya doin’ yeah I’m doin’ mighty fine. Last time I seen ya it’s been a long time.” She continued, “Stop smilin’ at me get that look off your face. Please don’t even front stop bein’ so fake. I know you do not like me and you made it very clear; you’re always talkin’ about me from what I hear.” Justice Ginsburg then concluded, “always put me down when you thought that you could. I want you to know that I’m doing so good.” She added, “So good, so good, so good.”
Let’s take this piece-by-piece.
First of all, in the NPR article the anecdote is contained under a section with the subheading “Outlasting the naysayers.” I do not want to get a strongly worded, dulcet-toned letter from Terry Gross for mocking NPR, but this quite the understatement. You know, a naysayer. It’s that thing where you say you’re alive and someone else is like, “Nay!”
You: I’m existing on this mortal coil.
A naysayer: I dissent!
Ah, anyway, I am cancelled from NPR. Moving on. Secondly, the atrocity of a senator gloating about a Supreme Court justice (or anyone, really) being dead within six months is mind-numbing and also very much on brand for our day, age, national history, and forecast for the future. That said, the effortless shade of a very much alive RBG relaying the story and then casually mentioning that she doesn’t remember the person’s name has actually gone six months into the future, gently slayed me, and then resurrected me.
And then to add the kicker that the “naysayer” is himself no longer around to gleefully wish her ill-will? The chefiest of chef kisses! The Salt Fat Acid Heat of chef kisses! A game of Spin the Bottle on the set of Top Chef! Seven minutes in Heaven with the Swedish Chef!
This isn’t to say that it’s good that someone else died, but also don’t start and there won’t be none. Also! Ginsburg is not just alive. She is “very much alive.” WHO AMONGST US CAN MAKE SUCH A CLAIM? What are my goals and aspirations? To be very much alive. I’ll settle for pretty much alive, also. One day. One day.
RBG is just over here, minding her own vivified business, while everyone in the country knocks every piece of wood that wasn’t ripped out of the soil by former Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. She’s doing her surprisingly vigorous workout, staying above the drama, and letting the fact that she is still kicking and kicking ass serve as the ultimate flex. Beloveds, may we all live our lives as if the mere fact of our existence can read our naysayers for filth. Case dismissed!