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

April 1, 2015 | NPR · The in-flight catalog went bankrupt earlier this year. But its new owners say SkyMall catalogs might make their way back to airplane seatbacks soon.
 

AP
April 1, 2015 | NPR · The indictment against Sen. Robert Menendez alleges he took hundreds of thousands of dollars and extravagant gifts from a friend and donor in exchange for political favors.
 

iStockphoto
April 1, 2015 | NPR · The case of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz has focused attention on what Lufthansa, or any employer, can really know about an employee’s state of mind. Requiring a psychological evaluation has risks, too.
 

Arts & Life

Vineyard Gazette
April 1, 2015 | NPR · Poet and author Margaret Howe Freydburg died last week at 107; she wrote and published well past her 100th birthday. Her friend Nancy Slonim Aronie has an appreciation of a remarkable woman.
 

Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing
April 1, 2015 | NPR · When Johanna Basford first told her publisher she wanted to draw books for adults — well, she says, “You can imagine how quiet they were.” Today, both of her books have become sell-out successes.
 

April 1, 2015 | NPR · Alex Gibney intersperses recently unearthed concert footage from 1971 with vintage and newly recorded interviews to make Sinatra: All or Nothing At All. It’s illuminating and by no means a puff piece.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
April 1, 2015 | NPR · Fiona Ritchie selects some of the best new sounds from artists both rising and well-established.
 

April 1, 2015 | NPR · The mostly instrumental cuts draw on salsa, funk, soul and rock from vintage and new performers.
 

Courtesy of the artist
April 1, 2015 | WXPN · The Canadian singer discusses his new album, which was produced by Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew.
 

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