The Hidden Meaning of The Who’s Tommy

The rock opera about a deaf dumb and blind kid is also an allegory for being gay

Hogan Torah
The Riff

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Photo capture from Tommy curtsey Columbia pictures. Image edited by author

“What movie do you like because of your father?” was the question posed on X.

Tommy. I don’t know if I like Tommy because of my father, but he’s the one who introduced the album to me. It was my favorite tape of his to listen to in the car. I liked the directness of the lyrics. He’s playing pinball. I’ve played pinball.

“I was 5 when my dad called me into the living room because Tommy was on TV. I was too young to understand what was going on. 40 years later, it still blows my mind,” I posted.

My friend Brad Kreative replied to my post. “As a young queer, I understood Tommy and loved it for that,”

Wait, Tommy isn’t a gay movie. Is it?

I ran through the movie in my head.

Tommy witnesses the murder of his presumed dead father by his mother's new lover, rendering Tommy deaf, dumb, and blind. His parents try to cure him by leaving him with people who rape, beat, and drug him.

He grows up and becomes the world's most famous pinball player until his mom throws him through a mirror. This cures Tommy, and he becomes a spiritual leader. Then he opens a trailer park where fans can…

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Hogan Torah
The Riff

Counterculture journalist 💊 humorist 🤪 social media hegemon 🤴 Google me, I autofill 🕶️