However, to kick off the year we'd like to draw attention to a kind of companion post which ties in surprisingly well to our last post of 2011. This article by Susan Dominus was brought to our attention recently and seemed rather appropriate given the news we brought you around Christmas time of the successful birth of conjoined twins Jesus and Emanuel in Brazil.
The article also raises and glosses over some of those aspects of life as conjoined twins which have historically always seemed to hover in the shadows. While she specifically refers to the family's refusal to subject the twins to unnecessary medical study (“If one of them needs it for their health, by all means, they can do what they need to do,” said their step-grandfather... “But I’ll be damned if you’re going to poke and prod and experiment on them”), she also makes extensive reference to the response of the medical community to the discovery of the supposed thalamic bridge.
Similarly, the article appears to emphasise the girls normality, almost going so far as to suggest an absence of any spectacular element in their public lives (“Guests might have looked for a half-second longer than they ordinarily would, but they invariably smiled at the sight of the girls’ evident glee, just as they would at any other two small children”) and yet refers not only to the fact that the girls have been the subject of a documentary (on the National Geographic channel, to be precise), but also rather glossing over the family's pursuit of a reality television show.
in this interview is titled a “freak wrangler, manager and talent agent ”, and who refers to himself as “the conductor of a symphony of wackos... When you need something strange and eye-popping and nobody knows where to look, I’m the guy to find it for you.”
While the idea that the twins may share more than just physical sensation is a fascinating one, and no one seems to deny that it poses brand new implications for understanding subjectivity and a sensed embodiment, their labelling on the part of one neuroscientist as “a new life form” and their engagement with a self-identified “freak-wrangler” seem to raise some unfortunately more familiar ghosts of the past.