“Someone dies, let’s say it’s your mother”
Begins a podcast that Freakonomics released last month about how we choose to remember jerks after they die.
It starts by highlighting this real obituary about one family’s recently deceased matriarch, who was by her own daughter’s account not the best mother and mother-in-law (via Legacy.com):
Carole ‘Fritzi’ Miller Roberson departed this world Friday, December 2, 2011, from her beloved second home in Ajijic, Mexico… She’ll be remembered as an astute business woman, a rabid historian, a fascinating hostess, and a boundless creative. She loved her family, history, antiques, horses, the arts and good gossip. Her regular emails to family were often unintentionally hilarious as her typing was spotty and her typos… And her typos were legendary. Regardless, Carole wrote short stories and was working on a screenplay. She was a difficult mother and a horrendous mother-in-law. She will STILL be missed. Carole is survived by her children…
(These type of obits, by the way, are my favorite. I’d much rather read about one’s faults than virtues.)
The podcast goes on to compare the legacies of Roberto Clemente and Ty Cobb, and examines why their legacies may not match up with who they really were.
The transcript of the podcast is at this link.