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

August 29, 2015 | NPR · Three Al-Jazeera English journalists and several student activists were sentenced to up to three years and six months in prison in Cairo on Saturday.
 

August 29, 2015 | NPR · In Beirut, the Lebanese capital, bars and restaurants closed Saturday night in solidarity with anti-government protests that have grown over the last week.
 

August 29, 2015 | NPR · Ankara, long hesitant to commit to the coalition against the self-declared Islamic State, said “[the] fight against the terrorist organization is a priority.”
 

Arts & Life

August 29, 2015 | NPR · Phillips’ new collection is both raw and refined, drawing on intimate experience while shunning autobiography. “I become uncomfortable when people make an equation between author and poem,” he says.
 

August 29, 2015 | NPR · The famed novelist says that at 85 she no longer has the energy to write another book, but she’s just released a revised and updated edition of her manual for aspiring writers, Steering the Craft.
 

August 29, 2015 | NPR · This weekend, the NPR Books Time Machine is rewinding Scott Lynch’s swashbuckling Gentleman Bastard series, a combination fantasy of manners, heist caper and heartfelt buddy comedy. With pirates.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
August 29, 2015 | NPR · Along with his band The Night Sweats, Rateliff is the voice behind “S.O.B.” — a new song with an old sound that’s catching a lot of people off guard.
 

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August 29, 2015 | KQED · More than 60,000 people will gather in the Nevada desert next week for the annual festival — and the Playa Pops Symphony, which made its debut last year, will be ready for them.
 

Courtesy of the artist
August 29, 2015 | NPR · Popular bands like The National, The Black Keys, Wilco and Bon Iver have spawned spin-offs in recent years. Should their fans be nervous, or should they embrace the change of pace?
 

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