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?

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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

May 24, 2015 | NPR · Record rainfall was wreaking havoc across a swath of Texas and the Midwest on Sunday, causing flash floods in normally dry riverbeds, spawning tornadoes and forcing at least 2,000 people to flee.
 

Carnegie Mellon University CREATE Lab
May 24, 2015 | WESA · In polluted Pittsburgh, a new device from a local university helps residents assess indoor air. It’s not the only monitor on the market — but is the only one available to borrow from a public library.
 

May 24, 2015 | NPR · The great mathematician, whose accomplishments and struggle with schizophrenia were depicted in the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind, died with his wife, Alice, in a car accident on Saturday. “His suffering, I know, was real,” says University of Chicago economist Roger Myerson. “But he was touched by glory.”
 

Arts & Life

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May 24, 2015 | NPR · “I’ve never accused myself of being manly,” Offerman says, noting his real-life persona is different from his Parks and Recreation character. His book is a set of essays about people who inspire him.
 

Associated Press
May 24, 2015 | NPR · Meara, who was married to Jerry Stiller and mom to Ben Stiller, had roles on Rhoda, Alf, Sex and the City and The King of Queens.
 

The Kobal Collection
May 24, 2015 | NPR · Actor Kenneth Choi is best known as the boisterous Chester Ming in The Wolf of Wall Street. Growing up in Chicago, acting was his passion, but his dad didn’t approve. So he ran away — to Hollywood.
 

Music

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May 24, 2015 | NPR · Madisen Ward and his mother, Ruth Ward—better known as Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear—have been performing together for six years, but have only recently begun to attract national attention.
 

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May 24, 2015 | NPR · Experimental artist Holly Herndon, who mashes up collected sounds, dance music and pop, reflects on society’s relationship with technology on her new album, Platform.
 

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May 23, 2015 | NPR · The polymath pianist and composer has released three new albums — including a recording of his own Mass, whose writing was interrupted by a disastrous car accident.
 

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