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, 2014 | NPR · In an effort assist Kurdish forces in the Syrian border town, the U.S. military said Sunday the dropped supplies were meant to help resistance to Islamic State efforts to control Kobani.
 

October 19, 2014 | NPR · The newspaper’s heartfelt column about a political cartoon that was widely criticized as racist raises a question: Did editors learn the right lessons from the uproar?
 

October 19, 2014 | NPR · The 30-person team is designed to be deployed nationally in case anyone else in the country is diagnosed with Ebola. The team would provide medical assistance to hospitals.
 

Arts & Life

October 19, 2014 | NPR · In her new book The Lives of Muhammad, Boston University professor Kecia Ali discusses the different ways that Muslim and non-Muslim biographers have depicted the prophet over the centuries.
 

Courtesy of Geena Davis
October 19, 2014 | NPR · Geena Davis has played unforgettable roles in movies like Beetlejuice and A League Of Their Own. But before her acting debut in Tootsie, she worked at a clothing store in window displays.
 

October 19, 2014 | NPR · The newspaper’s heartfelt column about a political cartoon that was widely criticized as racist raises a question: Did editors learn the right lessons from the uproar?
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
October 19, 2014 | NPR · With its roots in punk and heartland rock, LP3 is a rattling, unpinnable record that doesn’t know when to stop baring its soul.
 

Courtesy of the artist
October 19, 2014 | NPR · Lily and Madeleine Jurkiewicz spend their second album feeling and defining the contours of each other’s voices, trading verses, lines and leads. They call it “blood harmony,” which about sums it up.
 

Courtesy of the artist
October 19, 2014 | NPR · The singer, formerly known as Cat Stevens, tackles weighty existential questions by looking backward, using the blues to unlock buried memories.
 

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