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

AP
October 20, 2019 | NPR · The acting White House chief of staff denied what he previously said: that defense funding to Ukraine was frozen in part over the demand that Kyiv dig up dirt on Trump’s political rivals.
 

AFP via Getty Images
October 20, 2019 | NPR · The tragic early morning training exercise also resulted in three other soldiers being hospitalized. The incident involved the Bradley Fighting Vehicle on which they were riding.
 

AP
October 20, 2019 | NPR · His visit to restart peace talks with the Taliban comes amid debate about the role of U.S. troops in the region after Trump quickly began withdrawing forces from northeastern Syria earlier this month.
 

Arts & Life

Grand Central Publishing
October 20, 2019 | NPR · Axton Betz-Hamilton was 12 when her family’s mail began disappearing. Her memoir details what follows and, when she discovers the culprit, the painful process of collecting the pieces of her past.
 

October 20, 2019 | NPR · Alicia Alonso, one of the finest ballet dancers of the 20th century, died Thursday in Havana. The dancer helped start the American Ballet Theatre, then built the Cuban state ballet program.
 

October 20, 2019 | NPR · NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro speaks with New York Times Chief Fashion Critic Vanessa Friedman about the closure of Barneys stores.
 

Music

October 20, 2019 | NPR · Jackie Cruz plays a convict in the series Orange Is the New Black, but she’s also a singer. She talks to NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro about her debut album, Hija de Chavez.
 

October 19, 2019 | NPR · Singer Summer Walker’s album, Over It, debuted earlier this month — and it’s already broken records. Music critic Briana Younger of The New Yorker discusses some of the album’s standout songs.
 

AFP/Getty Images
October 19, 2019 | NPR · How much do (do do do do do) you think the soprano knows about the hit children’s song Baby Shark? We’ll find out.
 

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