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

AFP/Getty Images
August 24, 2016 | NPR · After losing to the Swedes in the Olympic quarterfinals, the longtime Team USA goalkeeper said she thought “we played a bunch of cowards.” Solo was widely criticized for her criticism.
 

August 24, 2016 | NPR · Second-grade teacher Brandy Young announced the policy to parents this month. Her stance is one being taken by more and more educators.
 

August 24, 2016 | NPR · Let’s look deeper into your nose and all of its mysteries, shall we? Are you a snatiator? And does tweezing your eyebrows really make you sneeze?
 

Arts & Life

August 24, 2016 | NPR · Julia Green of Front Street Books recommends Moonlight on Linoleum by Terry Helwig, City of Women by David R. Gillham and The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.
 

August 24, 2016 | FA · Krasinski says he’s thankful for his big break “every single day.” Three years after the wrap of The Office, he continues to branch out. He’s now directing and co-starring in the film The Hollars.
 

Getty Images
August 24, 2016 | NPR · News of a 1999 rape case against Nate Parker raises some age-old questions about culture: Can art be separated from its creator? What moral obligations, if any, do the consumers of culture bear?
 

Music

August 24, 2016 | NPR · NPR’s Kelly McEvers talks with professor Christian Herbst, who was part of the team that released a study that explores the science behind Freddie Mercury’s amazing voice.
 

Courtesy of the artist
August 24, 2016 | NPR · Frankie Reyes is a Los Angeles-based artist who remakes classic Mexican and other Spanish-language ballads and waltzes using a vintage synthesizer. His new album is called Boleros Valses y Mas.
 

Courtesy of the artist
August 24, 2016 | NPR · From Shetland and Orkney to the Hebrides, the Isle of Man and Rathlin Island, this week’s diverse choice of music is far from insular.
 

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