The climax of “Created Equal: Clarence Thomas in His Own Words,” arrives when the venerable justice recalls the moment he learned his nomination to the Supreme Court was confirmed. Speaking very much “in his own words,” Thomas remembers thinking, “whoop-dee-damn-doo.”
The humor is poignant because it comes after viewers journey with Thomas through his whole life, from rural poverty in the Jim Crow South to Yale, from one marriage to another, from seminary to the Supreme Court, and from hard-earned respectability to a devastating confirmation battle. After watching decades of blood, sweat, and tears culminate in a character assassination of historic proportion, “whoop-dee-damn-doo” feels about right.
The corporate media’s one-dimensional rendering of Thomas is deeply unfair, and that’s where director Michael Pack steps in. “Created Equal,” Pack’s compelling new documentary, opens in select theaters on Jan. 31. (See here for the full list, or to request a local screening.)
Pack managed to get the famously quiet jurist talking, guiding viewers on an intimate march through his remarkable life, starting in little Pin Point, Georgia, and ending where he sits today. “Created Equal” features two surprisingly fast hours of original interviews with Thomas and his wife Ginni, cut from more than 30 hours Pack spent interviewing them in a Virginia studio over a six-month period.