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
August 29, 2014 | NPR · There’s an investigation into a payoff scheme before the 2012 presidential caucuses in Iowa. Jesse Benton says suggestions of his involvement are inaccurate and politically motivated.
 

August 29, 2014 | NPR · Regulations passed in Texas, which affected clinics that perform abortions there, have been blocked by a federal judge, on the grounds that they unconstitutionally restricted access to legal abortion.
 

August 29, 2014 | NPR · The 10-year-old watching cartoons reportedly became annoyed at the construction racket outside his window, so he took a knife and sliced through the worker’s rappelling apparatus.
 

Arts & Life

Photo Courtesy of Gov. Deval Patrick's Office
August 29, 2014 | NPR · The governor of the commonwealth of Massachusetts will answer three questions about the annual art festival taking place in the desert of northern Nevada.
 

Getty Images
August 29, 2014 | NPR · An earthquake in Napa Valley this week brought back old fears for author Gustavo Arellano. In his anxiety he’s revisiting the book A Crack in the Edge of the World.
 

AFP/Getty Images
August 29, 2014 | NPR · Mexican actor Mario Moreno, known as Cantinflas, made dozens of films between the 1930s and 1980s. A biopic about the comic, whose humor tweaked the rich and powerful, opens in the U.S. this weekend.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
August 29, 2014 | NPR · Take a deep breath, in black & white. Alice Boman’s fragile singing, mixed with ethereal images from the Swedish countryside, make for a small, laptop vacation.
 

Courtesy of the artist
August 29, 2014 | KCRW · This week’s episode of Metropolis, curated by KCRW’s Jason Bentley, features a variety of Basement Jaxx-related material, plus new music from Kelela, SBTRKT and more.
 

Courtesy of the artist
August 29, 2014 | NPR · This week’s puzzler for careful listeners is from guest Quizmaster Mark Reznicek, drummer for the Fort Worth rock band Toadies. Hear the fills (or intro) and match it to the song.
 

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