My Unlikely Friendship With Ruth Bader Ginsburg https://t.co/pgUpIQP7Kh— Steve Sailer (@Steve_Sailer) September 22, 2020
I was a young, African-American Southerner, working in a Republican administration. But I loved Bach’s Goldberg Variations, and that was enough for her.
By Eric L. Motley
Mr. Motley is the executive vice president of the Aspen Institute.
Sept. 21, 2020
Our improbable friendship began in 2002 at a Georgetown dinner party, and it began with music. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a Jewish urbanite who had just turned 70 and had been appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court by a Democratic president. I was a 30-year-old African-American from the rural South who had recently arrived in Washington to serve as a special assistant to George W. Bush.
Aware of my status as the new kid on the block, I soon was put at ease at the dinner by the friendly man seated next to me, Marty Ginsburg. I’ll always remember our conversation.
So what do you do when you’re not working at the White House? he asked. I replied that listening to music and reading were my chief interests.
He turned and said, my wife and I love music; what are you listening to now?
When he learned that I was researching different renditions of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, he asked for my favorite. Without hesitation, I replied, “Glenn Gould, 1955.” Addressing his wife on the other side of the table, he said, “Ruth, you have to meet Eric.”
We continued to discuss music and many other interests for the next 17 years. She sent me CDs and articles and sometimes over dinner would explain complicated legal cases. …
She also shared her own recollections that helped me understand the roots of her lifelong passion for equal opportunity for every person. Once we talked about people who had made lasting impressions on us when we were young. She recalled being mesmerized by the conductor of a children’s concert she attended in Brooklyn in 1944, when she was 11 years old. She was both sad and incredulous to learn I had not heard of the African-American conductor, Dean Dixon, and his inability to land a conductor’s job at a major symphony orchestra simply because of his race.
“Sit down,” she said, as I recall. “We cannot end the evening until you know his story. Can you imagine someone with so much skill and genius, conducting all over the world, and yet unable to find a job in his own country just because of the color of his skin?” …
That’s a pretty funny story that says a lot about how high IQ Jewish liberals like RBG tend to project about blacks: as symphony conductors denied the opportunity to make it on their in-born talent and chutzpah by the WASP establishment. They probably even had to found their own country clubs, or something.
People often asked both of us how we became friends. Last December, at dinner one evening she succinctly replied: “A common love for ideas, for music. It was really the Goldberg Variations that brought us together.”
When I listen to Bach’s marvelous, deeply stirring music, I am reminded that in all of these variations — all this flux of life, especially in the inner ups and downs — there is an exquisite order I can actually experience, which is so beautiful that it must be real. In that one piece of music, so beautiful and complex, both she and I discovered that these Variations had become a fixture in our lives.
On the night of her death, like thousands of others, my fiancée, Hannah, and I visited the Supreme Court. We climbed those marbled steps of majesty, and at the great bronze doors we left a single white rose. As I held Hannah’s hand, I remembered the love of Marty and Ruth and imagined my new beginning with Hannah. Then we came home and put on the Goldberg Variations.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be “racist” under Ibram X. Kendi’s influential definition because only 0.7% of law clerks she hired were black.
But that’s totally wrong because, as Eric Motley documents at length, blacks who held carefully considered opinions on Bach’s Goldberg Variations were OK with RBG!
No Disparate Impact Discrimination for RBG. After all, only a racist would think that blacks aren’t into Bach and opera as much as, say, Jews are.
On the other hand, when RBG asked Frank Ricci his favorite music, he probably shouldn’t have replied, “Aerosmith.”
iSteve commenter Mr. Blank replies:
I went to college with Eric Motley. To say he is the whitest-acting black man I have ever met is an understatement. He makes Neal deGrasse Tyson look like Flavor Flav.
He’s also crazy smart. I don’t mean when grading on a curve, like with Ta-Nehisi Coates. Eric’s a legitimate big-brained intellectual. He was way, way, waaay smarter than I was. It’s not an exaggeration to say he’s the smartest black guy I’ve ever met in person.
If RBG was under the impression that Eric is representative of black Americans, that would explain a lot about her.