In this, my third post on the aesthetics of punk rock, I will continue my examination of Jesse Prinz’s idea (as detailed in “The Aesthetics of Punk Rock”) that punk rock (in its various forms) is characterized by three qualities: Irreverence Nihilism Amateurism The topic of this post and the next is amateurism. (See here for the introductory post, and here for the post on nihilism. As already noted in previous posts, I don’t have much to say about irreverence.)
I began this series of posts here, setting up the issues and summarizing Jesse Prinz’s main points in his groundbreaking “The Aesthetics of Punk Rock”. Readers of that post will recall that Prinz identifies three characteristics of punk rock that he thinks are central to the genre: Irreverence Nihilism Amateurism Readers of that post will also recall that I have nothing at this point to say about irreverence (of course, there likely is much to say about the exact sort of irreverence that is at work in punk rock, but I’m not going to do that today). Thus, we’ll move on to the second topic in the list: nihilism.
The following is the first post in a series on punk rock. Click here for entry #2. In a 2014 article in Philosophy Compass titled “The Aesthetics of Punk Rock” Jesse Prinz (who guest-blogged for AFB here!) presents an aesthetic analysis of punk rock aimed at both fostering a deeper understanding of the genre and at teasing out larger lessons for the philosophy of music (and the philosophy of art more generally). His analysis comes in two stages. First, he provides a framework for understanding punk rock music (and the punk subculture within which it is produced and consumed) in terms of three central themes: Irreverance. Nihilism. Amateurism. Prinz then uses this three-part story to draw two larger conclusions: Punk rock involves an explicit rejection of traditional aesthetic norms, illustrating the plasticity of taste (and as a result serious consideration of the genre recommends a rejection of global norms of “goodness” or … Continue reading →