Ok, after the Royal Wedding, what’s more human interest than conjoined twins? It’s not like the situation in the Middle East, interest rates or any athletic achievement can mitigate our interest in twins who aren’t completely separated. Consequently, (television) magazine stories about conjoined twins are evergreens.

Last week’s pair in the New York Times Magazine was especially interesting, as these twins are connected at the thalamus in their brains, and to varying degrees, they share responses to stimuli.

In the accompanying video, the Tatiana and Krista seem miserable (and wouldn’t you be, if the person attached to your head ate ketchup and you could taste it too?). I wondered if conjoined twins, like the royal family, exist only for our voyeuristic pleasure. In the example of Tatiana and Krista, National Geographic has already documented the first year of their lives, the New York Times Magazine published a feature on them, and now their family is in talks with a reality TV producer. They’re not part of the circus like Chang and Eng, but aren’t they?

The article mentions another set of conjoined twins, Ladan and Laleh Bijani, so miserable at 29, that they took the even odds and tried to separate. They would rather be dead than conjoined, and that’s what happened: they died in surgery.

 And yet, out of the history of conjoined twins, they are the only ones to elect such a procedure. So maybe a shared and observed life is better than none at all.