Why is it the “greatest” homecoming?

Jonathan Orme

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I enjoyed The Greatest Showman. It was a very nice family friendly movie about a conman who uses people with genetic anomalies to make money. In order to enjoy Homecoming even more, we just need to forget that P.T. Barnum wasn’t the admirable family man Hugh Jackman portrayed.

We don’t need to know that the movie omitted that Barnum’s first greatest show was when he was in his twenties. He got a $500 loan to rent a very old black woman for a year. He toured the country with her, passing her off as George Washington’s 163 year old nurse. When she died in his possession, he sold tickets to watch him perform a live autopsy.

Student government didn’t choose to celebrate such a man. They weren’t thinking about the historical context, but they also weren’t being willfully ignorant. “We tried to pick a theme we could decorate a dance around, as well as we could have an assembly for and center a commercial around,” explained Ms. Baker, the student government advisor. “We just kind of went off the story and the fun parts of the musical, not so much of [P.T. Barnum’s] background.”

In this context, The Greatest Showman is a great theme. Keep in mind, last year’s theme was La La Land; another popular musical that came out in the previous year that appealed to a very, very diverse audience. These choices might seem careless, but the former is much less so than the latter.

The Greatest Showman had this theme of acceptance that [student government] really liked.” Ms. Baker enthused. This is similar to the theme of acceptance in La La Land when Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone accept that they will never be together because of their different ideas of what jazz should sound like.

By focusing on the film and it’s themes of love and diversity, student government has taken coal and made it into diamonds. This will be the Greatest Homecoming. Especially because it represents to Timpview students the theme of acceptance we see in the movie.