Monday, November 27, 2017

"The Man With Two Brains" in the Lancet Psychiatry

"Me and my brain" is a piece I've written about 1983 comedy The Man with Two Brains, and the history of brain transplants in fiction more generally, for the new issue of the Lancet Psychiatry (vol. 4, no. 12, December 2017). You need to be a subscriber to read the whole thing, but the Lancet website boasts the opening paragraph:
"The Man with Two Brains (1983), the classic comedy starring Steve Martin, is about a love triangle. Beautiful but wicked Dolores Benedict (Kathleen Turner) is hit by a car driven by neurosurgeon Michael Hfuhruhurr (Martin). He saves her life and falls for her but, once married, Dolores delights in tormenting him. Then Michael meets someone else. He has a lot in common with nice Anne Uumellmahaye (voiced by Sissy Spacek)—not least an unpronounceable surname. The only snag is that she's a brain in a jar."
And the Lancet Psychiatry tweeted the following tantalising excerpt:
"Despite the jokes, fun, and adventure, there's something deeply unsettling about the idea of brain and mind transplants. It plays on anxieties about the distinction between our physical body and our identity, and the linked fear of our bodies failing us through accident, illness, or decrepitude, redefining who we are. It speaks to anxieties about our own uniqueness and autonomy, and the threat of personal annihilation. And then there's the ongoing concern of how scientific and economic change threatens our personal control. It's ripe for further exploration, not just in research but in comedy and horror, because it's a subject best met with nervous laughter."

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