This week, Times video editor Ann Simmons and columnist Robin Abcarian discuss three stories that have resonated with readers:
When the Copenhagen Zoo announced earlier this week that it had killed four healthy lions to make way for a new lion in order to increase the pride's genetic diversity, many people immediately thought of Marius, the healthy 2-year-old giraffe the zoo killed in February. In both cases, zoo officials said they were operating under the strict requirements of the European Assn. of Zoos and Aquaria, which exists to ensure the health and survivability of species, not of individual animals. But, asked animal lovers everywhere, why is it too much to ask that the animals who delight us in captivity at least be treated humanely when they are no longer useful to the zoo? Why kill them? Why not find them new homes?
It's not unusual for married celebrities to declare they've hit a marital wall and have decided to separate and divorce. But when actress Gwyneth Paltrow and rock star Chris Martin of Coldplay announced on Paltrow's lifestyle website Goop that they were calling it quits, the pair seemed to strain to avoid the "D" word. Instead, they said, they were engaging in "conscious uncoupling." This, Abcarian tells Simmons, is an attempt to put a poetic gloss on one of life's most prosaic, and painful, passages.
Finally, when First Lady Michelle Obama took her two daughters and her mother to China for a weeklong visit, she did the requisite first lady things: She took in many of China's most treasured sights and met with groups of students and educators to extol the importance of education. She dipped her toe only twice, and obliquely, into political waters. In a couple of her speeches, without mentioning China by name, she spoke of the importance of Internet and media freedom. It was a far cry from the passionate speech equating women's rights to human rights given by then First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton when she visited Beijing for a women's conference in 1995.