“American cultural history could probably be parcelled out as a sequence of sensational murder cases”
American cultural history could probably be parcelled out as a sequence of sensational murder cases. There was nothing remotely “typical” about the Manson murders or, for that matter, about the O. J. Simpson case, but one came to stand for the disillusion and decline of sixties hippie innocence, the other for the enduring American racial divide. A history of America told through its murders is sensitive to the mood of each period. It’s perhaps significant that, in the nineteen-sixties, questions of misconduct were usually tied to the behavior of the police…, while these days we focus on the prosecutors, implicating the system’s managers, not simply its laborers.
Adam Gopnik, “Locked Up”, The New Yorker (15 April 2019), 72.