January 11, 2008

"(The brother and sister) met later in life and felt an inevitable attraction..."

Twins separated at birth meet and marry. The marriage is annulled when the truth is discovered, but it's interesting to see this assertion that that the attraction was "inevitable." Is there something about the close blood relationship that causes attraction, that we only deny because we've learned the incest taboo?
David Alton, a member of the House of Lords, revealed their situation as a way of highlighting perceived shortcomings in the Human Embryology and Tissues Bill which is now going through Britain's Parliament....

"I suspect that it will be a matter of litigation in the future if we do not make information of this kind available to children who have been donor-conceived."
Yes, there are an awful lot of half-siblings out there — the fruit of popular sperm donors — who are going to meet and feel this "inevitable" attraction.

IN THE COMMENTS: Diane writes:
If I discovered my husband was my brother, I'd find a way to hide it. I love my husband, and frankly, I'd be unwilling to give him up. Now, I wouldn't have biological children with him--I'm not that twisted.

Am I alone?

This suggests a follow-up question. If you knew that a happily married couple were — without knowing it — brother and sister, would you hide it from them?

44 comments:

Revenant said...

I wonder if the couple wanted the annullment, or if they were forced to separate.

jawats said...

I wonder - is it because any attraction in this day and age has become sexualized to the extent that even a familial love, without the certainty of identit? Or, could it simply become eros because the attractees lack any other rational context in which to categorize the feelings without the confirmation of identity?

Mortimer Brezny said...

Hillary Clinton's win in Iowa was inevitable, too.

tightspotkilo said...

Seems like just about everybody had a favorite cousin. The taboo isn't so strong as it propagates out.

Trooper York said...

Three words to gross you out:

Donny and Marie.

Telecomedian said...

The story doesn't mention much about the twins involved, and rightfully so with regards to their privacy. Still, it doesn't indicate how old these two were, what parts of the country they were from. I can't help but to feel sorry for them. Imagine thinking you've found your one true love, only to find out you're separated siblings. That would have to be amazingly painful. Almost like a Greek tragedy. Poor folks...

JackDRipper said...

Now if only these brothers and sisters could just get along:

http://buchanan.org/blog/?p=917

January 11, 2008

The Brothers & Sisters War

by Patrick J. Buchanan

All politics is local, said the late House Speaker “Tip” O’Neill.

Tip was wrong. All politics is tribal – as we just rediscovered in the New Hampshire primary.

With Obama surging and Hillary reeling after a third-place finish in Iowa, it seemed all the dreams of a Clinton restoration would come crashing down on the eighth of January.

All the pollsters predicted it. All the pundits agreed. And all the anti-Clintonites, sensing this was the kill, came streaming out of their closets to mock Hillary and hail Barack, as they once hailed Bill.

“The Hun is always at your feet or at your throat,” said Winston Churchill.

Anticipating a blowout, the chattering class found confirmation Monday morning in an emotional moment when Hillary choked up and began to tear up. All day, all night, all the next day, they rebroadcast the breaking of Hillary. The gloating and glee were pandemic.

Others, however, saw it, too. Undecided Democratic voters and independents, especially women, saw the bullies taunting the girl in the schoolyard, pulling her pigtails, making her cry. The maternal instinct kicked in, hard. Women poured out to pick Hillary up, dust her off, and put her back on her feet, back into the race and back into the lead.

Hillary’s victory became a stunning upset because no one had predicted it and no one had expected it after Iowa and all those polls showing Obama pulling away.

What happened in New Hampshire was a backlash against press, pollsters, pundits and piling on. When Bill Clinton suggested the press was in the tank for Barack, he understated his case. In the first days after Iowa, you would have thought Obama had been born in Bethlehem.

He is the greatest orator since Dr. King, we were told. He has the passion of Bobby Kennedy and the cerebral cool of JFK. He will lead us out of the desert of division into the sunny uplands of racial harmony. The caucuses of Iowa were the Lexington and Concord of a new American Revolution. Providence has sent us this great gift.

Then New Hampshire rejected him. Worse, New Hampshire left the pollsters and pundits with egg all over their faces. Instantly, there arose the need to explain why everyone had been wrong. And instantly came the answer: It was racism.

“The Bradley Effect” defeated Barack, the pundits suggested.

The Bradley Effect is named for Tom Bradley, the popular black Los Angeles mayor who was running well ahead of his GOP opponent for governor in the polls, only to see his lead vanish on Election Day. The Bradley Effect – voters lying to pollsters about how they intend to vote for a black candidate, then going into the booth to pull the lever for the white opponent – this closet racism defeated Obama.

Why was there no Bradley Effect in Iowa? Because in Iowa they have to vote in public, while in New Hampshire they have the privacy, the secrecy, of the voting booth.

But this explanation has about it an aura of spin and sour grapes. How can the Bradley Effect explain why John Edwards, the hedge fund populist, collapsed? How does the Bradley Effect explain why women surged to Hillary, 57 percent of them, while men stayed with Barack?

The real divide in the Democratic Party is the clash between the McGovern wing – the highly educated and the college young – against the Humphrey-Mondale wing. And while African-Americans are moving to Obama because he is one of them, women, a majority in the party, are moving to Hillary because she is one of them. Blacks and women are dividing in the Democratic Party over the issue of: Do we want the first black president or the first woman president? And in the first major battle of the Brothers & Sisters War, the sisters won.

This could get ugly. As Hillary’s victory in New Hampshire is being attributed to the Bradley Effect – i.e, white racism – any Barack victory in South Carolina will now be attributed to the black vote, what in the Old South they used to call “the bloc vote.”

Obama could cease to be a crossover candidate and rapidly be relegated to the Jesse Jackson role – the African-American perennial runner-up who is ceded the black and liberal vote – and bought off with a prime-time speech at the convention and a campaign plane in the fall.

Racism was not responsible for Obama’s defeat in the Granite State. Indeed, race is the reason for his rise from nowhere. Race is the reason the liberals are kneeling in adoration. And gender is not Hillary’s problem. Gender is Hillary’s biggest asset in a party mired since the 1960s in ethnic, gender and race politics.

In the last New Hampshire debate, Hillary was asked about her likability, why so many folks seemed to like Obama more. She gave the sweet answer of the schoolgirl: “Well, that hurts my feelings. … He’s very likable. I agree with that,” referring to Obama. “I don’t think I’m that bad.”

“You’re likable enough, Hillary,” Obama sneered.

In that moment, the “fairy tale” may have just gone poof.

Bob said...

The Scottish singer Andy M. Stewart wrote a song about this very situation:


THE ORPHANS' WEDDING
(Andy M. Stewart)

One fine summer's morning as nature was blooming,
And good folk held tae the church bell,
Two young lovers by life were deceived
And their story I sadly will tell.

For all the town knew of our wedding,
Now all the town knows of our shame.
And I've been broken for ever,
By the stranger who told me my name.

She came from the city to help in the harvest,
I worked in the field by her side
And all the long winter I courted my love,
By the summer I made her my bride.

And happy were we for the first time together
Since the Great War had taken our kin,
'Til a man from the government came to our door,
And asked if I might let him in.

With a voice that was colder than the wind o'er the mountains
Or a spray from a winter-blown sea,
He said that together we could not remain,
For brother and sister were we.

Now in summer I roam in the deep glens and quiet
To sit by their dark waters' side,
And there I think only on her that I shamed
And all by the taking of a bride.



His recorded version is heartbreaking.

SteveR said...

JackD

Anyone can google, copy and paste. You're boring, dude.

Methadras said...

Yes, there are an awful lot of half-siblings out there — the fruit of popular sperm donors — who are going to meet and feel this "inevitable" attraction.

The law of unintended consequences will come to bear on this little vignette.

Paul Snively said...

"Inevitable" might be too strong, but the attraction between birth children who were separated early in life—and sometimes even between birth mother and child—who meet later in life is indeed a well-documented phenomenon. The incest taboo isn't based on blood (it can't be, since human beings don't have sensory apparatus for perceiving blood relationship). It's based on what we can perceive: who we grew up with. See Steven Pinker's "How the Mind Works" for details.

Balfegor said...

I wonder - is it because any attraction in this day and age has become sexualized to the extent that even a familial love, without the certainty of identit?

Genetic sexual attraction, as Snively notes, is apparently a documented phenomenon. The reason we don't experience it under normal circumstances is the Westermarck effect.

Synova said...

Familiarity breeds contempt, or something.

But that's what I'd heard, too. That it was growing up with someone that triggered whatever brain thing that says, "not a potential mate."

terrance said...

Aristophanes's Speech from Plato's Symposium
Collected Works of Plato, 4th Edition, Oxford U. Press,

Aristophanes explained that the "original human nature was not like the present, but different. The sexes were not two as they are now, but originally three in number; there was man, woman, and the union of the two, of which the name survives but nothing else....." and he went on to say ...."Each of us when separated, having one side only, like a flat fish, is but the tally-half of a man, and he is always looking for his other half.....There is not a man of them who when he heard the proposal would deny or would not acknowledge that this meeting and melting into one another, this becoming one instead of two, was the very expression of his ancient need......And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love."

JohnAnnArbor said...

balfegor, that explains something. My hallmates in college unanimously thought a particular girl in the dorm was really hot. I had known her since we both were 4, and that thought simply had not occurred to me.

Freeman Hunt said...

I wonder if the couple wanted the annulment, or if they were forced to separate.

Same here. How sad. I cannot imagine.

Not to anyone in particular: If you found out that your spouse was your sibling, what would you do?

lumiere said...

I'd never marry my twin. Never crossed my mind. He's my brother.
I'm his brother. It would be as if my father married his twin...brother.

tjl said...

"See Steven Pinker's "How the Mind Works" for details"

See Wagner's "Die Walkure," Act I, for further details.

The prevalence of myths about tragic pairs like Siegmund and Sieglinde or Oedipus and Jocasta suggest something rooted in our DNA.

LarsPorsena said...

Hey! Come on folks!! After all they are two consenting adults. Who are we to judge...........How can we
deny them their human rights.......
How can we tell them who can be married....??????
You're just a bunch of (fill in the blank)phobes

Trooper York said...

Michael and Latoya

LarsPorsena said...

The Baldwin brothers. In any combination you'd care to hallucinate about.

Trooper York said...

Ross and Monica Gellar.

JackDRipper said...

SteveR said...JackD, Anyone can google, copy and paste. You're boring, dude.

Dude, that Buchanan guy is like totally rad so I was like I'm gonna c and p the dude pronto.

I just think a lot of the comments on the election are totally bogus.

Trooper York said...

Mark McGwire and José Canseco. The Bash Brothers. They would inject each other. Just not with steroids.

Balfegor said...

The prevalence of myths about tragic pairs like Siegmund and Sieglinde or Oedipus and Jocasta suggest something rooted in our DNA.

And isn't Brunhilde Siegfried's aunt? Come to think of it, I vaguely recall that Mordred is supposed to be the spawn of Arthur's incestuous union with his half-sister Morgause. Well, actually I vaguely recalled "Morgan," and then I cheated and looked at Wikipedia. I haven't read the new Tolkien Children of Hurin yet, but there's tragic incest there too.

That said, we're utter pikers compared to Japanese pop culture. I was watching one of those police dramas once (Keizoku, I think), and about five minutes in, they let slip that two characters were half-siblings. I knew immediately that they were sleeping together, and someone was going to die. It's that cliche.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Greg and Marcia

There. I said it.

former law student said...

Whenever I hear "twins separated at birth" I always think Siamese -- is that weird?

I blame narcissism for that relationship -- who looks more like you than a sibling? I wonder how many of the commenters closely resemble their mates.

Ann Althouse said...

Think of what a shockingly intimate relationship the twins had while in the womb. Doesn't that seem wrong? Why aren't we troubled by that?

SteveR said...

The way some people believe, what happens in the womb doesn't count. Sorry.

ZPS said...

I wonder how the sex was?

former law student said...

ann, what happens in the womb doesn't really count, as far as I'm concerned. My puppy likes to hump other puppies, especially boys. It don't draw any deep significance from it because he's only a puppy.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Think of what a shockingly intimate relationship the twins had while in the womb. Doesn't that seem wrong? Why aren't we troubled by that?

Placenta, my dear Professor. Placenta. They only had a womb with a view.

michael farris said...

"Think of what a shockingly intimate relationship the twins had while in the womb."

What happens in the womb stays in the womb.

ZPS said...

oh my god

http://www.wombwithaview.com/

Trooper York said...

David, Mary, Joanie, Susan, Nancy, Elizabeth, Tommy, and Nicholas in a pile on the floor, proving for once and for all that eight is truly enough.

jeff said...

Ah trooper, I hated that show. The second mother was younger than the older daughter. Bradford was a man ahead of his time. And then to find out he was based on Tom Braden?

Trooper York said...

Yeah but Nancy and Elizabeth were smoking hot. And the mom Betty Buckley was a babe as well. Lots of eye candy if you turned the sound down. It's really interesting to read the cast bio's to find out what happened to those people.

jeff said...

I've just assumed they were all dead. Except for Dick Van Patton of course. He became a muppet years ago.

jeff said...

Huh. I was just kidding and what do I find for the first kid? Dead. Drug overdose.

Trooper York said...

Read about Susan, she claims she was kidnapped by aliens or North Koreans or something. It is craptastic to the max.

Diane said...

I want to know if I'm alone in this:

If I discovered my husband was my brother, I'd find a way to hide it. I love my husband, and frankly, I'd be unwilling to give him up. Now, I wouldn't have biological children with him--I'm not that twisted.

Am I alone?

MarkW said...

Not to anyone in particular: If you found out that your spouse was your sibling, what would you do?

Stay married and not have biological children but adopt instead. Assuming she was of the same mind, of course.

I don't see any reason for this couple to separate, provided they are willing to forgo children.

peter hoh said...

I've seen the Westermarck effect play out in adults who grew up together in a co-ed boarding school dorm.

I recall that some researcher identified that a child's watching his or her mother care for an infant had a strong influence on establishing the incest taboo. Here's the reference.

This twins case is being used politically in Britain -- to promote the idea that the veil on artificial insemination needs to be lifted. I suspect that within a few years, technology will make it possible for donor-conceived children to find their own siblings, whether or not the law compels notification.

And to add something completely off topic, after we started dating, my wife and I found out that her father and my uncle worked together for a few months some 20 years earlier.

Ricardo said...

Interesting story, but how do we know the whole thing isn't fabricated? If they are really concerned with preserving the privacy of the individuals, isn't this going to do the opposite, and encourage journalists to go and ferret them out?