Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

AFB’s Top 5 Posts of 2018


Thanks to our readers for another landmark year at Aesthetics for Birds! Here were our most-viewed posts this year. Scroll through to make sure you haven’t missed something big! (You can also check out last year’s Top 5 here.)


#5: Why Do We Resist Rough Heroines? by Adriana Clavel-Vazquez

Coming in at number five is a post that examines rough heroines, characters who are essentially and unredeemably immoral. We have lots of rough heroes in literature, movies, and television, but Clavel-Vazquez asks why we find so few rough heroines. Perhaps unsurprisingly, her proposed answer tells us a lot about ourselves and our ongoing socio-cultural situation.

#4: What Makes Heavy Metal Heavy? by Jay Miller

Next is a post dissecting what exactly the heaviness in heavy metal is. Miller takes this up by looking at Sleep’s album Jerusalem (originally titled Dopesmoker). What makes this particular album sound so much heavier than other heavy metal? His account, part music theory and part psychology, explains it in terms of two key concepts: sonic weight and sonic density.

#3: Is Cultural Appropriation Ever Okay? – A Roundtable Discussion

This post was the first of five artworld roundtables that appeared in collaboration with Chris Richards, the pop music critic for the Washington Post. The series was framed around “the five hardest questions in pop music” as described by Richards, who provided a few particularly salient examples, followed by our contributors’ responses. Our readers were especially curious to see philosophers’ varying takes on the extent to which cultural appropriation is morally or socially acceptable.

#2: A Statement Regarding the ASA Harassment Incident by Shelby Moser

This year also saw a heated controversy surrounding the American Society for Aesthetics and their handling of a sexual harassment complaint. The accuser spoke out about her experience in this open letter, which received nearly 80 comments in support, many requesting action on the part of the ASA. We also posted a recap of this incident, and an open letter from law professor regarding the legal ins and outs of the situation. Eventually, the ASA did indeed offer a formal apology, reported here.

#1: Can We Separate the Art from the Artist? – A Roundtable Discussion

Our most-viewed post this year was the final entry in the special collaborative artworld roundtable series. The final question, whether we can separate art from the artist – in this case, with special attention to musicians – struck a chord with our readers. With all the attention paid recently to sexual harassment and other bad behavior by artists and entertainers, questions about how a responsible and concerned public should approach their work is more pertinent than ever. A variety of thinkers came together to share their thoughts on this issue, together presenting a diverse array of perspectives for readers to consider.

What a great lineup of posts! You can explore the categories via the tabs above if you’re curious to look back at more of our posts from the past year. And thanks again to you, our readers. We are already hard at work, preparing to bring you another excellent year of aesthetics and philosophy of art!

Image credit: cuatrok77


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