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
December 21, 2014 | NPR · The election pits interim President Moncef Marzouki against challenger Beji Caid Essebsi, who held a post in the ousted regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
 

AP
December 21, 2014 | NPR · On CNN’s State of the Union, the president expanded on earlier remarks he made criticizing a decision by Sony Pictures to pull distribution of The Interview.
 

Aurora Almendral for NPR
December 21, 2014 | NPR · Rellenong manok is a deboned chicken filled with a jumble of ingredients. If it seems hard to pin down how this dish got all its fillings, it’s because of the complexity of the Philippines’ culture.
 

Arts & Life

December 21, 2014 | KUNC · The latest movie from filmmaking brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne stars Marion Cotillard as a young mother who fights to keep from getting screwed over by her colleagues at work.
 

December 21, 2014 | NPR · Sony has canceled its new film, The Interview, which depicts the assassination of North Korea’s leader. NPR’s Rachel Martin talks with filmmaker Kevin Smith about writing controversial comedies.
 

December 21, 2014 | NPR · Cooper worked closely with Taya Kyle to turn her late husband’s book, about his time as a Navy SEAL, into a film. “We all felt him the whole time we were shooting the movie,” Cooper says.
 

Music

December 21, 2014 | NPR · In the 1960s, the Beatles sent their most loyal fans a Christmas gift every year — a flexi-disc. NPR’s Rachel Martin talks to music writer Colin Fleming about the annual holiday single.
 

Redferns via Getty Images
December 21, 2014 | NPR · If we’re being honest, there was no consensus in R&B this year. Too many things happened, and we missed some ground-hugging gems, even a couple made by legends. These are ten of those.
 

KCRW
December 21, 2014 | KCRW · The singer and guitarist revisits “Hi-Fi,” from his much-loved breakthrough album, Transistor Radio.
 

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