Poor, poor Klara.

SPOILER ALERT: The following paragraph gives away important plot points from an early-1990s television program—not that that many people would be in a rush to figure out which show, track down copies of said show, watch it, and then have it ruined by having read this. Nonetheless, I feel compelled to give any such people fair warning.

This afternoon I watched an episode of an old TV show. At the beginning of this particular episode, the hero attended the funeral of a man recently discovered to have been a serial killer, adulterer, and rapist. The hero attempted to console this man’s wife by relating the details of the killer’s last moments on Earth, in which he expressed great remorse and begged forgiveness for his horrible crimes. The wife seemed to deal with the whole affair a lot better than you’d expect, especially considering that her husband had killed her niece, her daughter, and at least one other person just in the last two weeks.

The wife’s composure, though scripted, was impressive. She took the bizarre revelations in stride, without the valium that had kept her calm and without the antidepressants that had kept her sane throughout the run of the show.

Anyhow, this got me thinking: what does it take to make wives think ill of their husbands? I realize that this is just a TV show, and that in real life, it takes a lot less than murder–in fact, it doesn’t take much more than the husband’s incessant failure to be absolutely perfect at all times.

Let’s look at a somewhat tougher question: knowing that parents will go to great lengths to defend their children, and knowing that parents will often summon enough cognitive dissonance to do so, what exactly does it take to make mothers think ill of their children? Surely, there’s got to be something so awful, some pattern of behavior that’s so inexcusable, that even the most loving and forgiving parent would have to question her offspring’s angelic nature.

Klara Pölzl died in 1907, with her teenaged son by her side. What if she’d lived long enough to see her son’s death—she would have been 84 when Adolf committed suicide—what would Hitler’s mom have thought of him?

I’d written a few more paragraphs on the subject, but it’s probably better just to let the mind wander. This is what I think about when I watch television. Maybe I should stop.

One Response to “Poor, poor Klara.”

  1. Que si Says:
    April 16th, 2007 at 5:08 PMI see you haven’t received many comments lately and I know how dependent your ego is on comments so I decided to leave you one. And regarding what Hitler’s mother would have thought of him, I believe she would have been elated. If you ever spawn, Mr. V, wouldn’t you be happy to see your opwn flesh and blood nearly take over Europe with his sights set on the world? Yes, he did some awful things, but mothers tend to ignore the bad aspects of their offspring whether it be a tendency to lie or the urge to wipe a race of people from the face of the earth.