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

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July 24, 2016 | WBUR · A transplant surgeon knows how to game the system to get his patients bumped up the list for a heart transplant by giving them care they don’t need. Is that being a good doctor — or a moral failure?
 

July 24, 2016 | NPR · A burned body was found near a northern Los Angeles brushfire that’s forced the evacuation of 1,500 homes. As of Saturday night, the 31-square-mile fire was just 10 percent contained.
 

AP
July 23, 2016 | NPR · Just days before the Democratic National Committee convention gets underway, WikiLeaks releases almost 20,000 emails among DNC staff, revealing discussions of topics from Bernie Sanders to the media.
 

Arts & Life

July 23, 2016 | NPR · Fans of science fiction have long wrestled with the question of just how much science should be in their fiction. Advocates of different approaches met at San Diego’s Comic-Con.
 

July 23, 2016 | NPR · Alaska’s a state that’s “not too precious about itself,” Eggers says. In Heroes of the Frontier, he follows an out-of-work dentist as she moves her small family to an unfamiliar home.
 

July 23, 2016 | KRTS · The 87-year-old conceptual artist unveils a large-scale installation of his work in Marfa, Texas, this week. He’s spent his career creating site-specific art that often treats light as its subject.
 

Music

Adam Kissick for NPR
July 23, 2016 | NPR · Listen to the rollicking soul band perform songs from its upcoming sophomore album, Sea Of Noise.
 

Adam Kissick for NPR
July 23, 2016 | NPR · The off-again, on-again rock band from Milwaukee, Wisc., built a careening, playful set around mainstays like “Blister In The Sun” and new songs like “I Could Be Anything.”
 

KLRU-TV/Austin City Limits
July 23, 2016 | WXPN · WXPN in Philadelphia is hosting its own music festival this weekend.
 

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