Playing the Men in Black theme song back to back with Sting’s Fields of Gold is an interesting juxtaposition. It impressed me with a theme of memory. How there is negative stuff in memory, but how it can be wiped clean, to bring a whole new outlook, like walking in fields of gold. Negative memory is a dish best wiped clean.

The Men in Black theme song, sung by Will Smith in 1997, encapsulates the Men in Black movie theme. In sum, it says all the “bad stuff” gets processed through the memory. But those memories can get wiped clean. It’s forgotten. It’s no longer a problem. The best one hopes for, when the bad stuff has gone is a brighter outlook on the future like Sting’s Fields of Gold, a beautiful, brave new way of looking at life. Certainly, many Hollywood endings leave us with such optimism.

Negative memories may haunt older people more than younger ones. What’s an older person to do with negative memories? Can negative memories be wiped clean or is that wishful thinking? Is the brave new outlook of Fields of Gold a fantasy for older people? Certainly, it can get harder dealing with negative memories when getting older, but that does not mean that negative memories can’t be a thing of the past and stay in the past. Movies like Men and Black and the optimism of the Hollywood ending challenge viewers to see the world afresh. So according to those, there is a way towards a brighter horizon.

This means there is always hope—when those negative memories surface. This matters because we can deal with our present so much better without the nagging, niggling memories from the past. Men in Black and the optimistic Hollywood ending import those ideas.

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