Jews in the News: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Zoe Kravits and Ricki Lake

Not a Fun Schmoozer

 Justice RUTH BADER GINSBURG turned 85 on March 15th and that prompted a flurry of publicity. Two items I saw were on the light side. The “Wall Street Journal” (“WSJ”) interviewed her about her extensive collection of scrunchies (the cloth or elastic item used to hold hair in a pony tail). She told WSJ that her collection of scrunchies is very big and that she has favorite scrunchie-shopping cities and will not hesitate to travel to get a good one. The best ones, she said, come from Zurich, with London and Rome taking second and third place.

 On March 21, Stephen Colbert traveled to Washington, D.C. to see how Justice Ginsburg works out with her personal trainer. He participated in the workout and peppered their time together with mostly silly shtick. I knew from brief past attempted comedic interactions with Justice Ginsburg that the visit wouldn’t work that well. When Colbert attempted to liven things up by playing loud “disco-ish” music on a boom box, the Justice immediately objected, saying maybe she could work out with opera playing (she and her ideological opponent, the late Justice Antonin Scalia, bonded over their love of opera and were great friends).  When Colbert asked her a semi-silly legal question she was logically fine, but not funny. Frankly, she just isn’t the type of person who’s capable of being “cutely funny” in response to Colbert’s stream of cute remarks. (Video all over the Net. Google: Colbert, Ginsburg).

On the other hand, the workout video showed, via her limberness and responsiveness, that the Justice is in remarkably good physical and mental shape. Today, we expect admired celebrities to be everything. Well, some very competent famous people, including Jewish people, just aren’t funny schmoozers on talk shows or elsewhere and they shouldn’t be put in a position where they are expected to be. The Justice never was a schmoozer. A very reliable source tells me that when she, and her late husband, attended “fun” outings sponsored by the law firm her husband belonged to, that Justice Ginsburg, then a law professor, brought along law review issues to read. By the way, the “funniness” of Justices was measured in 2005 via counting how many times their remarks elicited laughter at oral argument. Justice Scalia was the winner, with Justice STEPHEN BREYER, now 79, finishing second.

At the Movies

“Gemini” is a rare indie film, in that it got such good reviews at a film festival that it was picked-up for a limited national release. It’s unlikely (but possible) that it will open at a theater near you. Look for it at a theater near you or, better yet, make a note to look for it on a streaming service in the near future. The director/writer is Aaron Katz, a filmmaker who has made a string of good indies on a shoe-string budget. Katz, a Portland, Oregon native, may well be Jewish, but bio details about him are very scant. Basic plot: Jill LeBeau (LOLA KIRKE, 37) is the assistant to Hollywood starlet Heather Anderson (ZOE KRAVITZ, 29). Jill arrives at Heather's house one day to find her dead from a gunshot wound. The police suspect Jill is the killer and she must solve her boss’s murder before her world completely unravels. RICKI LAKE, 49, has a biggish supporting role. Kirke is the star of the Amazon series “Mozart in the Jungle,” and the sister of JEMIMA KIRKE, 32, a “Girls” co-star. Their mother comes from a prominent British Jewish family of Iraqi origin and both sisters identify as Jewish. Kravitz’s paternal grandfather and maternal grandmother were Jewish and she identifies as Jewish. She proved she was more than “eye candy” with an excellent performance in the hit HBO series, “Big Little Lies.” (Opens Mar. 30)

Other TV/Streaming News

On March 29, the A&E cable station will launch a new original docuseries, “Marcia Clark Investigates The First 48". The 7-episode series will explore seven of the most high-profile cases of the last thirty years. The first episode, which airs on Thursday, March 29 at 8PM (many encore showings), is about the Casey Anthony murder case. The episode airing on April 5 is about murder victim CHANDRA LEVY.CLARK, 64, is Jewish and was born Marcia Klerks. She is famous as the prosecutor who lost the O.J. Simpson murder case.

On March 30, Netflix will premiere “Happy Anniversary,” an original romantic comedy/drama movie. It follows the ups-and-downs of a couple (BEN SCHWARTZ, 36, and Noel Wells) over several years.


Add Comment