The best clues as to the nature of the times are often to be found in its leading works of art. In my view, the most insightful Western works of recent decades are the three American television series, The Sopranos, Deadwood, and Mad Men. Violence plays a major role in both of the first two productions.
Perhaps this is linked to the excessive fearfulness common in modern Western upper-middle-class life, illustrated by the paranoia about children being abducted that impels parents to chauffeur them everywhere. The reality is that they live in suburbs in which the statistical likelihood of child abduction is infinitesimal.
John Carroll is professor of sociology at La Trobe University in Melbourne and author of The Existential Jesus.