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
September 4, 2015 | NPR · Rocco Logozzo talks about his nephew, Aylan Kurdi, whose body washed up on a Turkish beach after a failed voyage from Turkey to Greece, and about the regret he and his wife feel for funding the trip.
 

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September 4, 2015 | NPR · A documentary about Franklin’s famous 1972 live album Amazing Grace has suffered years of delays due to technical and legal challenges.
 

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September 4, 2015 | NPR · Lt. Roland De Los Santos said that Ryan Goforth, 5, and his father had bought matching Captain America T-shirts — and that while Ryan has his on today, “underneath his uniform, so does Darren.”
 

Arts & Life

Getty Images
September 4, 2015 | NPR · A documentary about Franklin’s famous 1972 live album Amazing Grace has suffered years of delays due to technical and legal challenges.
 

September 4, 2015 | NPR · NPR’s Rachel Martin talks to actress Patricia Clarkson about her role as a jilted wife without a driver’s license in Learning to Drive. Ben Kingsley plays her instructor, who is a Sikh man.
 

NPR
September 4, 2015 | NPR · How do you transform 100 pounds of 60 varieties of tomatoes into a seven-course meal? It may sound like a math problem, but it’s more a creative journey into the infinite possibility of the tomato.
 

Music

September 4, 2015 | NPR · With a name like Destroyer, you might expect a heavy metal band. Led by musician Dan Bejar, the band’s latest album, Poison Season, has a lighter sound with interesting, uniquely delivered lyrics.
 

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September 4, 2015 | NPR · The jazz pianist pays tribute to his mentor, the late Clark Terry, with a piece called “For Clark.”
 

Courtesy of the artist
September 4, 2015 | NPR · The Norwegian synth-pop band a-ha releases a new album Friday, but its 1985 smash, “Take On Me,” remains inescapable.
 

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