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 [...]

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There are times in our lives when we have no choice but to perform. The stakes are high, the pressure is on, the price of failure immense. It seems natural that most of us would try to minimize the amount of time that we spend in such anxiety-inducing situations. But what of those people who [...]

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In a certain sense, childhood is most acutely experienced in retrospect. As a child, it’s simply life as you know it. But, as an adult, childhood (both one’s own and the developmental category in general) takes on a kind of mythic significance and, perhaps, nostalgic appeal. In this episode of Off Topic we look at [...]

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This week on Off Topic, we take a close and critical look at the institution of marriage. Why do we do it? What do we hope it will be? What is it really? How has it changed?

In this episode:

Professor Stillman battles a pesky woodpecker, and in so doing, comes face to [...]

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The figure of the Genius looms large in our contemporary thinking about art and creativity. Art is a gift given to the masses by those fortunate few who are capable of creating something from nothing, of inventing forms and sounds that the rest of us simply couldn’t imagine. Well, maybe that’s overstating it [...]

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Stream or download this episode in its entirety below.

In this episode of Off Topic:

Professor Stillman confronts the ambiguities inherent in the snake’s side of the story.
Canadian novelist Peter Behrens discusses how the Irish established the template for what it means to be an immigrant in North America.
Duke [...]

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In case you missed the premiere episode of Off Topic on Friday night at 7pm, we’ve posted it here for you to enjoy at your leisure.

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News

March 5, 2015 | NPR · Changes to workers’ compensation laws mean families and government bear more of the costs that result from injuries on the job.
 

AFP/Getty Images
March 5, 2015 | NPR · The pair were tracked down and arrested in Malaysia last November. For spray-painting graffiti on a commuter train car, they are sentenced to nine months in prison and three strokes from a cane.
 

EPA/Landov
March 5, 2015 | NPR · Pyongyang said it welcomed the attack on Mark Lippert, who was assaulted in Seoul by a knife-wielding political activist who said he opposed joint U.S.-South Korea military exercises.
 

Arts & Life

March 5, 2015 | NPR · Thomas McGuane’s new story collection gives us a large cast of Big Sky dreamers, schemers and down-and-outs. Reviewer Alan Cheuse says it’s a fascinating portrait of the state — with bonus bears.
 

March 5, 2015 | NPR · The writer-director’s new show, premiering Thursday on ABC, opens with the home invasion murder of a war veteran. We learn about the crime through characters diverse viewpoints.
 

March 4, 2015 | NPR · Tina Fey co-created the quirky comedy The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for Netflix; John Ridley made the emotionally raw drama American Crime for ABC. TV critic David Bianculli says they’re both good.
 

Music

Courtesy of the Artist
March 5, 2015 | NPR · A dark and twisted musical adventure — think David Lynch meets Nick Cave, with Romani music and “Workingman’s Hero” thrown in for good measure — in a new video from Wasted Wine.
 

AFP/Getty Images
March 5, 2015 | NPR · There are plenty of single men in opera, but would you really want to date them? Try separating the dudes from the duds in this puzzler.
 

Courtesy of the artist
March 5, 2015 | NPR · David Kennedy, the Leeds producer behind Pearson Sound, has been at the vanguard of British electronic music since his first singles in 2006. Now, he’s finally releasing his first full-length album.
 

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