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

EPA /LANDOV
January 26, 2015 | NPR · In areas such as New York City, the worst of the snow is expected to hit around midnight. The next time the city will have less than a 50 percent chance of snow won’t come until 3 p.m. ET Tuesday.
 

Reuters/Landov
January 26, 2015 | NPR · A week after an Argentine prosecutor was found dead on the eve of his testimony about an alleged government cover-up of a terrorist attack, President Cristina Fernandez unveils a new plan.
 

AP
January 26, 2015 | NPR · The Syrian town was not seen as militarily important, but Islamic State propaganda bumped it up the list of targets.
 

Arts & Life

January 26, 2015 | NPR · From flying like a bird to walking through a refugee camp in Syria, virtual reality has enabled journalists, filmmakers and artists to immerse their audience in their stories like never before.
 

NPR
January 26, 2015 | NPR · Now that the Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods has made more than $100 million at the box office in just three weeks, NPR’s movie critic Bob Mondello has a modest musical proposal.
 

AP
January 26, 2015 | NPR · Dish Network soon debuts its Sling TV streaming service, with a small group of cable channels for $20 a month. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans tried it and says Sling TV is a welcome challenge to cable.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
January 26, 2015 | NPR · Ezra has a voice that can float high and delicate, but it can also wade deep. His debut album, Wanted On Voyage, is named for the words inscribed on Paddington Bear’s suitcase.
 

Courtesy of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
January 26, 2015 | WQXR · Hear the CSO and its charismatic conductor Riccardo Muti in a program showing the muscle and subtlety of the of orchestra in music by Scriabin, Debussy and Mendelssohn.
 

AFP/Getty Images
January 26, 2015 | NPR · Greek songman Demis Roussos lived an enormously colorful life, from his start as a prog-rock pioneer to being held captive by Hezbollah terrorists. He died Sunday at age 68 in Athens.
 

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