A Little Bit of Sowell

This week, Jason Riley stops by to talk about his new documentary, Thomas Sowell: Common Sense in a Senseless World, which aside from being great, is also free to stream on YouTube. So the second you finish this podcast, we expect you will watch it.  But before we get to Jason, we visit with Steve Krakauer, who writes the must-read Fourth Watch newsletter about all things media. We talk about liberal bias (we can confirm that it exists), why Texas may be the next media capitol, and whether print really is dead. Also, the guys make their Super Bowl picks, James’ daughter is quarantined in Boston, and Rob explains why the old Hollywood studio system likely won’t be coming back. 

Music from this week’s show: A Little Bit ‘O Soul by Sound Explosion

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There are 26 comments.

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  1. Blondie Thatcher
    Blondie
    @Blondie

    Have only listened to the open. @jameslileks, Byron York has a corner on the “no chitchat podcast” so tread lightly. ;)

    • #1
  2. Architectus Coolidge
    Architectus
    @Architectus

    Our world needs a LOT of Sowell… 

    • #2
  3. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Architectus (View Comment):

    Our world needs a LOT of Sowell…

    Never enough Sowell. The Mozart of academics.

    • #3
  4. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    Peter said that he had to sort of hold his tongue about asking Jason Riley about his last few columns.

    What’s that about?

    I looked up the title of Jason Riley’s last few columns and found one with the title, “This Time, Trump’s Impeachment Is Warranted”.

    Hmm, why is Ricochet.com crawling with all these Nancy Pelosi-conservatives?

    I said I wasn’t going to listen to this podcast for while, but old habits and all that.  I can see that the podcasts here are going to be a minefield for quite a while…

    • #4
  5. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Blondie (View Comment):

    Have only listened to the open. @ jameslileks, Byron York has a corner on the “no chitchat podcast” so tread lightly. ;)

    We cash in our chat chit later, so no worries.

    • #5
  6. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):
    I said I wasn’t going to listen to this podcast for while, but old habits and all that. I can see that the podcasts here are going to be a minefield for quite a while…

    We didn’t talk about that stuff, though.

    • #6
  7. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    I just want to go on record that I like the “chitchat” a lot. 

    • #7
  8. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    lol

     

     

     

    • #8
  9. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    I’m not going to explain or defend this, but I think they need to massively overhaul black history education or something. I find it mind numbing. I don’t think enough Americans really understand how badly they got hosed during reconstruction. I know I don’t know enough about it. I think the interstate highway system wiped out a lot of productive areas in the cities. Stuff like that. Then more about heroic or very productive figures. There are a ton of them that don’t get much attention.

    • #9
  10. RufusRJones Member
    RufusRJones
    @RufusRJones

    You guys are nailing the mask versus vaccine conversation. It makes me insane like I’m living in the GDR or something. 

    I have severely liberal relatives and it’s very clear to me that they are very fired up with any collective action that comes from the top or the bottom regardless if it makes any sense. Masks are just perfect. I think what’s going on is they have to justify more and more non-public goods and central planning regardless if they do anything to improve society. They cannot go in the opposite direction at all, even though it’s obvious that is common sense if you just watch the news. 

    • #10
  11. J Ro Member
    J Ro
    @JRo

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    I’m not going to explain or defend this, but I think they need to massively overhaul black history education or something. I find it mind numbing. I don’t think enough Americans really understand how badly they got hosed during reconstruction. I know I don’t know enough about it. I think the interstate highway system wiped out a lot of productive areas in the cities. Stuff like that. Then more about heroic or very productive figures. There are a ton of them that don’t get much attention.

    You make me think of history museums in the PRC: lots of info about Western barbarians and Japanese atrocities, but not much on Imperial malfeasance and nothing on CCP barbarity.

    About 25 years ago the Library of Congress opened a collection of rare photographs of actual American slaves. It was shut down within days, I guess for revealing some truth or insight we are not supposed to know.

    Perversely, during black history month Americans are more likely to hear about Nelson Mandela than about William Wilberforce.

    • #11
  12. Peter Robinson Contributor
    Peter Robinson
    @PeterRobinson

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):

    Peter said that he had to sort of hold his tongue about asking Jason Riley about his last few columns.

    What’s that about?

    I looked up the title of Jason Riley’s last few columns and found one with the title, “This Time, Trump’s Impeachment Is Warranted”.

    Hmm, why is Ricochet.com crawling with all these Nancy Pelosi-conservatives?

    I said I wasn’t going to listen to this podcast for while, but old habits and all that. I can see that the podcasts here are going to be a minefield for quite a while…

    Honestly? I meant only that I had to work at keeping the conversation focused on Tom Sowell, not start peppering Jason with questions about his own work.

    On Monday, btw, I’ll be recording an episode of Uncommon Knowledge on the impeachment. Two of my three guests, Richard Epstein and John Yoo, consider the trial unconstitutional, while only one, Andy McCarthy, takes the other side. Two to one. Something tells me you’ll approve.

    • #12
  13. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    Thank you for having on two great guests and hosting intelligent, interesting conversations. I wonder, though, how effective conservatives have had in promoting and disseminating the teachings and philosophies of Thomas Sowell – as well as Walter Williams, Bob Woodson, and even Clarence Thomas – when we have Kendi’s brand of ‘anti-racism’ and the 1619 Project being taught in schools and popularized in corporate culture? Meanwhile the legacy media shuns balanced perspectives, holding out as representatives of all black thought Cornell West,  Al Sharpton, Clarence Page, while intellectually honest people who have ideas beyond minority victimhood such as Kmele Foster, Glenn Loury, and John McWhorter aren’t given a platform – or even when Kmele was on Bill Maher’s show, was roundly criticizes and suffered baseless, ignorant criticism (the usual Uncle Tom BS). What is the path forward here? I hope Mr. Riley, who has done well at WSJ and the Manhattan Institute has some ideas on this front. I think it could do a lot of people well to free them from the prison of helplessness in places like Minneapolis where decades of the race war culture has only hurt them and the city.

    • #13
  14. Nanocelt TheContrarian Member
    Nanocelt TheContrarian
    @NanoceltTheContrarian

    When Rob Long equates Trump’s claims of election fraud with the Russian collusion investigation he has completely gone off the rails. One involved the entirety of American federal intelligence services including fraud in the FISA applications about which no one has done anything except hand down a probation sentence to a guilty DOJ attorney: the other involved no federal investigation at all despite mountains of evidence of violation by states of their own election laws. I live in Georgia where the Secretary of State signed a consent decree to violate state election laws. Even Andy McCarthy won’t discuss the rampant election irregularities in Georgia. Rob Long appears to be a sick and dishonest man who has taken leave of reality.

    • #14
  15. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Listening to James read a Butcher Box spot could turn even the most fastidious vegan into a raging carnivore.

    • #15
  16. StephenHenstock Lincoln
    StephenHenstock
    @StephenHenstock

    When I heard mention of Thomas Sowell’s syndicated column history in the podcast, it came back to me, in a flash, how much I enjoyed reading them decades ago way up in Toronto. I never put 2 and 2 together until now.

    What are Sowell’s best books to read regarding race as it’s currently being addressed in the culture wars?

    I have been reading and enjoying and learning from the book 

    Taboo: 10 Facts You Can’t Talk About

    by Wilfred Reilly

    • #16
  17. MISTER BITCOIN Inactive
    MISTER BITCOIN
    @MISTERBITCOIN

    StephenHenstock (View Comment):

    When I heard mention of Thomas Sowell’s syndicated column history in the podcast, it came back to me, in a flash, how much I enjoyed reading them decades ago way up in Toronto. I never put 2 and 2 together until now.

    What are Sowell’s best books to read regarding race as it’s currently being addressed in the culture wars?

    I have been reading and enjoying and learning from the book

    Taboo: 10 Facts You Can’t Talk About

    by Wilfred Reilly

    Go to his website tsowell.com 

     

    • #17
  18. Taras Coolidge
    Taras
    @Taras

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    lol

     

     

     

    This story will be filed in the same place as the one about Cesar Chavez sending goons to the border to beat up illegal immigrants.

    • #18
  19. MISTER BITCOIN Inactive
    MISTER BITCOIN
    @MISTERBITCOIN

    Taras (View Comment):

    RufusRJones (View Comment):

    lol

     

     

     

    This story will be filed in the same place as the one about Cesar Chavez sending goons to the border to beat up illegal immigrants.

    the ‘wet line’

     

    • #19
  20. Al Sparks Thatcher
    Al Sparks
    @AlSparks

    James had a good monologue on movies, and old movie theaters that are gone.  I’ve seen that happen, since I lived in a small town in New Mexico, where I grew up.  When I was a small kid in the 1960’s, I watched movies in those theaters, and watched them decline.  I watched the rise of the movie multiplex (two theaters) in that small town.

    But he also talked about the “social glue” in the late 1930’s.  Of course the real social glue were local churches and charitable organizations like the Lions and Elks, it was really radio, more than movies that provided a national glue.  Politicians knew that.  Franklin Rooselvelt did his “fireside chats” on radio.

    A lot of entertainment was provided on radio, which was replaced by television in the 1950’s.

    • #20
  21. Tedley Member
    Tedley
    @Tedley

    I was surprised to hear Steve say that CNN wasn’t very biased when he worked there 2010-2013.  Really?  Although he purports to be an observer of media and news, he needs to be ready to talk more about historical media bias before he joined the industry.  A good resource that sought to be an objective study of media bias in the mid to late-20th century would be And That’s the Way it Isn’t, A Reference Guide to Media Bias, edited by Bozell and Baker, published by the Media Research Center in 1990.  The Media Research Center website (puts out Newsbusters) continues identifying news bias, and they provide transcripts and video of the bias. 

    • #21
  22. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    The Thomas Sowell Archive. Password = TS

    https://markandrealexander.com/sowell/

    • #22
  23. Gary Robbins Member
    Gary Robbins
    @GaryRobbins

    Another great podcast.  However, I missed James’ Member Post of the Week.  :(

    • #23
  24. Blue Yeti Admin
    Blue Yeti
    @BlueYeti

    Gary Robbins (View Comment):

    Another great podcast. However, I missed James’ Member Post of the Week. :(

    It’ll be back. Just had some very crowded shows the past few weeks. 

    • #24
  25. JuliaBach Coolidge
    JuliaBach
    @JuliaBach

    Can’t wait to watch the Sowell documentary.

    If my child’s university were putting my child on quarantine for ten days, and not allowing human contact, especially just because of an exposure and not illness, I’d be withdrawing that child from that institution.

    • #25
  26. JuliaBach Coolidge
    JuliaBach
    @JuliaBach

    I find it strange that people assume most will be eager to take the vaccine.  They won’t, especially in places where life has mostly returned to normal.  It was clear in March that if we closed everything then, our standard for reopening would be zero cases.  That’s why we never should have closed in the first place.

    • #26
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