Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Doubting Thomas: The Movie

 

One of the frequent complaints from the right is that the left “owns the culture” and that the right has no presence in mass media. This is one of Andrew Klavan’s primary beefs on his podcast. He’s not wrong, you know. We’re constantly bombarded with movies and shows that are overt love songs to the hard-left but we have precious few media projects that are right-leaning.

This is a fine premise, but how do you go about establishing a conservative media culture? One thing that I do know is that you don’t do it with overt political stories; that’s preaching to the choir. You do it by telling good stories (a novel concept in modern media) that happen to have a conservative spine. In that vein, there is no better story to tell than the life of Thomas Sowell.

Briefly, this is his life:

  • Born in North Carolina shortly after the death of his father in 1930.
  • Taken in by an aunt and raised in Harlem, NY.
  • Got into the elite Stuyvesant High School but had to drop out at 17 to help support his family.
  • Worked at a machine shop and as a delivery man to make ends meet.
  • Tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers, nearly making the squad. (Evidently, he was an excellent athlete.)
  • Gets drafted for the Korean War, serves his country as a photographer (another of his many talents).
  • Gets back from the war and gets a job in civil service while going to night school at Howard University.
  • His professors are so impressed by his work that they help him get into Harvard where he graduated Magna cum Laude.
  • Gets his MA from Columbia.
  • At this time, Sowell was very much a Marxist, but his work researching minimum wage laws led him to believe that Marxist wage redistribution was beneficial to government bureaucrats but harmful to the working poor.
  • Gets Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
  • Starts his academic career at Cornell University. The backdrop of course being the notorious race riots at Cornell, of which Sowell was quite critical.
  • Embarks on an astonishing career as an academic, philosopher, and writer, becoming one of the real beacons on the right.

It’s hard to imagine a more compelling life story than Thomas Sowell’s. From humble beginnings to national prominence, Sowell’s journey is as implausible as it is inspiring. His success stands as a testament to time-honored conservative values: hard work, perseverance, open-mindedness, integrity, and bravery. That is a movie that I would watch, a movie that America needs to see.

Doubting Thomas, coming to a theater near you.


The “meat” of the movie should focus on the period in life from 20 to 40, the most compelling part of his story. If we’re looking at a two-hour movie:

Part I: The Early Years (Birth through 20): 15 minutes–North Carolina, Move to New York, Discovery of his true talent).

Act Break –> Dropping out of Stuyvesant High School. What does he do now?

Part II: The War and his college years, his first post at Cornell (20-30): 45 Minutes–Korea, From Howard to Harvard (Goodwill Hunting 2.0), Columbia, Working for the government/the failure of Marxism, University of Chicago. The Cornell Race Riots. Transformation.

Act Break –> Will he become a radical or stick with the lessons his aunt taught him so many years before? This is really the turning point in the film.

Part III: Ascension to Greatness (30-60): 45 minutes–Suddenly becomes the most unlikely voice for freedom-oriented Americans. Spars with left-wing white busybodies, Robert Bork testimony, Bill Buckley, Becomes publishing icon. Sparks controversy. Shades of racism in the left’s criticism of him. He’s unstoppable.

Act Break–>

Part IV: Retrospective: (60 to present): His role as a light in the darkness, Fame finds Thomas Sowell, Role as a mentor to younger folk, The Presidential Medal of Freedom*

* Hasn’t happened … yet.

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  1. Songwriter Member
    Songwriter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Played by Denzel Washington…

    • #1
    • July 18, 2020, at 8:23 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Mark Camp Member

    Triple Like.

    This article has

    1 2 5

    Triple Likes

    • #2
    • July 18, 2020, at 9:07 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  3. Brandon Member
    Brandon

    Songwriter (View Comment):

    Played by Denzel Washington…

    Need someone younger.

     

     

    • #3
    • July 18, 2020, at 9:29 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Songwriter Member
    Songwriter Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Brandon (View Comment):

    Songwriter (View Comment):

    Played by Denzel Washington…

    Need someone younger.

     

    Actually – Morgan Freeman could play him as he is today. To cover a 70-year span, it might take more than one actor.

    • #4
    • July 18, 2020, at 9:45 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. CACrabtree Coolidge

    I’m not sure that a mere actor could ever capture the essence of Sowell because he is so remarkable.

    If Trump has any smarts, he will get Sowell into the White House next week for the presentation of his Presidential Medal of Freedom. No one deserves it more than him.

     

    • #5
    • July 18, 2020, at 10:04 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  6. Mark Camp Member

    Songwriter (View Comment):

    Brandon (View Comment):

    Songwriter (View Comment):

    Played by Denzel Washington…

    Need someone younger.

    Actually – Morgan Freeman could play him as he is today. To cover a 70-year span, it might take more than one actor.

    I’ve had a cancellation (I can’t really hear the director anymore, and the last one refused to use e-mail on the set) and could take the 66 year old part, if there is one. Really, I know that I could play a 65-old, but my agent says I’ve been type-cast as 66, and I should just accept it.

    I’m white, but with the old racial strictures rapidly falling away in the casting world–Punjabs are routinely selected for roles as Confederate officers, and a full-figured Maori woman was selected to portray Romeo in a recent Danish production of the Shakespeare classic–I don’t see this as a problem. (Once again, Manny does. There’s a new web app that replaces Hollywood agents, and I’m thinking of switching to it.)

    • #6
    • July 18, 2020, at 10:13 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  7. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Songwriter (View Comment):

    Played by Denzel Washington…

    Samuel L. Jackson is Tomas Sowell, in Don’t Call Me Uncle. Coming Soon. 

    • #7
    • July 18, 2020, at 9:52 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. Samuel Block Support

    Intriguing idea. Just spitballing:

    His appearance on Firing Line could make for a good opening. From there, the story could concentrate largely on his youth; lively Harlem before the deluge of the late ‘60s; his unsuccessful tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers; and particularly his exposure to the madness that came after his collegiate years and his brush with bureaucracy while interning with the Department of Revenue (I think that’s where he interned). All of this could be spliced with his adult years as the US’s most important intellectual that less than half of the country has ever heard of.

    • #8
    • July 18, 2020, at 10:05 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  9. TBA Coolidge
    TBA

    Samuel Block (View Comment):

    Intriguing idea. Just spitballing:

    His appearance on Firing Line could make for a good opening. From there, the story could concentrate largely on his youth; lively Harlem before the deluge of the late ‘60s; his unsuccessful tryout with the Brooklyn Dodgers; and particularly his exposure to the madness that came after his collegiate years and his brush with bureaucracy while interning with the Department of Revenue (I think that’s where he interned). All of this could be spliced with his adult years as the most important intellectual that less than half of the country has ever heard of.

    He mentioned in one of his books a moment at his first job where he was supposed to put sodas into a huge bucket of ice – at a sort of pre- 7-11 convenience store/market. The owner said to go slowly, he didn’t, and broke a bottle which meant all the ice had to be thrown out and it had to be started from scratch. 

    He said he often thought back to the patience of the owner and was thankful for it. To me it – and probably to him, I don’t remember what he spun forth from the event in his writings – that moment is illustrative of so much; who actually has skin in the game, the relative worth of a new and inexperienced worker, the cost of training same, and of course the visuals would be awesome, ice and glass and a burning summer heat in Harlem. 

    • #9
    • July 18, 2020, at 10:16 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. I Walton Inactive

    Who could write it? Who would? Would they do it honestly and well? Is there any one doing anything? Do we have to wait for him to die?

    • #10
    • July 19, 2020, at 4:55 AM PDT
    • 2 likes