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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Memory

OK, this ooo-eee-ooo story by Katy Human on the front page of today’s Denver Post, about research at the University of Colorado into suppressing traumatic memories, raises two important questions.

First, if Katy Human writes about stuff just because she thinks it’s interesting, does that make it a Human Interest story?

Second, don’t these mad scientists at CU ever go to the movies?

It is a fundamental tenet of sci-fi movies that emotion and memory are what make us -- and Katy -- human. Want to make an android think it’s a real person? Give it memories (cf. Blade Runner). And efforts to erase even deeply painful memories can have disastrous implications for our underlying sense of identity (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). Most important of all, the delicate matrix of memory, experience and emotional response is what prevents us from turning into pod people -- a lesson memorialized in the 1956 classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers and so central to the entire canon that the movie has spawned three remakes, including this summer’s The Invasion, a Nicole Kidman flick coming next month to a theater near you. Check out the trailer here, and keep your Katy human. -- Alan Prendergast

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts