Why does our culture place value in that which is deemed authentic or original? What happens when we find out that the thing we have enshrined as authentic is determined to be nothing more than a copy? How does our relationship to the ideas of authenticity and originality impact the decisions we make from what dungarees to buy to which presidential candidate we vote for?

In this Episode…

orvell

Miles Orvell, Professor of English and American Studies at Temple University discusses the rise of authenticity in American culture at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Orvell is the author of The Real Thing: Imitation and Authenticity in American Culture, 1880-1940 (University of North Carolina Press), which deals with literature, photography, and material culture.

Bart-Ehrman

Bart D. Ehrman, James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Biblical scholar, and author of numerous bestselling books–including Forged, Misquoting Jesus, and God’s Problem–explains how 2000 years of transcription, translation, and interpretation have made it virtually impossible to talk about an “authentic” version of the New Testament.

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Murray Ross, artistic director of Theatre Works, speaks to questions of authorship with respect to the Shakespearean oeuvre.  Was there really a single man called Shakespeare? Did he really write all the plays that we attribute to him? Was he stealing from his contemporaries? Does it matter?

photo

Ryan Banagale, musicology professor at Colorado College, tells the story of the song, “You Are My Sunshine,” and how it came to be the ubiquitous tune it is today. Even the the most familiar folk songs have a history, but whether they have a definitive origin is a different question altogether.

TomFrank_fixed

Thomas Frank, founding editor of The Baffler magazine, columnist for Harper’s magazine, and author of many books–including The Conquest of Cool, and most recently, Pity the Billionaire–discusses the surprisingly symbiotic relationship between “authentic” countercultures and the corporate interests that supposedly co-opt them.

 

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News

AFP/Getty Images
December 8, 2016 | NPR · “The epidemic of malicious fake news and fake propaganda that flooded social media over the past year, it’s now clear that so-called ‘fake news’ can have real world consequences,” Clinton said.
 

AP
December 8, 2016 | NPR · Worried about policy changes and potential cuts in federal funding that Donald Trump warned about on the stump, mayors are now sharing their ideas with the president-elect as he sets his urban agenda.
 

AP
December 8, 2016 | NPR · China’s top court has handed basketball legend Michael Jordan a victory in a long-running trademark dispute over the use of his name by a Chinese company.
 

Arts & Life

AP
December 8, 2016 | NPR · In the new podcast, “Making Oprah,” journalist Jenn White follows Oprah Winfrey’s rise from Chicago talk show host to media mogul.
 

Courtesy of Paramount Pictures
December 8, 2016 | NPR · This sprawling, chaotic comedy about a sprawling, chaotic holiday party expects its improv-tested cast to make up for its skimpy script. Some performers do; most don’t.
 

Courtesy of The Film Collaborative
December 8, 2016 | NPR · Writer-director Clay Liford’s low-key, lo-fi coming-of-age-in-the-digital-age comedy follows the romantic fumblings of awkward teen Neil (Michael Johnston), both online and off.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
December 8, 2016 | NPR · White originally co-wrote and sang the song for a 2011 album by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi. Here, he plays a live acoustic version and discusses his role in its creation.
 

Getty Images
December 8, 2016 | NPR · What better way to soundtrack the fraying of nerves of America than with a new At The Drive-In song?
 

Redferns via Getty Images
December 8, 2016 | NPR · Emerson Lake & Palmer’s singer and co-creator, who died Wednesday, was at the forefront of a movement that took rock in a new literate — and liberating — direction.
 

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