Wednesday, Jul. 15, 2009

The Pinball Wizard

Tommy isn't a real wizard. His prodigious pinball skills just make him look like one. The main character in the Who's 1969 eponymous rock opera is struck "deaf, dumb and blind" by a childhood trauma. Tommy doesn't know where he is, and he can't communicate with anyone. Yet somehow when he plays pinball, he "stands like a statue/ becomes part of the machine" and never, ever loses. Later cured of his sensory afflictions, Tommy becomes an egotistical New Age guru who urges his followers to seek enlightenment through pinball. If this sounds far-fetched, just remember that the song dates to the 1960s, when music didn't have to make sense.