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
May 26, 2020 | NPR · In recent years, Congress has approved laws formalizing the transition process and ensuring there is buy-in from the two major candidates, even at this stage of the campaign.
 

AFP via Getty Images
May 26, 2020 | NPR · Most places where Americans usually register to vote have been closed since March. It’s led to a big drop in new registrations right before an election that was expected to see record turnout.
 

Annacaroline Caruso/ WVPE
May 26, 2020 | SEPM · Prisoners and their relatives have contradicted state officials about the conditions and medical care inside Indiana prisons. Some say didn’t learn an imprisoned relative had COVID-19 until he died.
 

Arts & Life

May 25, 2020 | FA · In The Splendid And The Vile, author Erik Larson details the British prime minister’s first year in office, during which England endured a Nazi bombing campaign. Originally broadcast March 30, 2020.
 

The Jon B. Lovelace Collection of California Photographs in Carol M. Highsmith's America Project, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division
May 25, 2020 | NPR · When the Roosevelt administration rolled out millions of dollars to fund artists, musicians, writers and actors, it wasn’t just about job creation. It was to unite a nation in turmoil.
 

May 24, 2020 | NPR · A new documentary looks at allegations that the hip-hop mogul sexually assaulted several women, and places his case against the larger question of how black women are treated by the #MeToo movement.
 

Music

May 25, 2020 | FA · Fitzgerald’s warm, yet ultra-cool voice was at the opposite pole of jazz singing from Armstrong’s gravelly growl. There’s absolutely no reason their voices should blend so effortlessly — but they do.
 

Redferns
May 25, 2020 | NPR · The drummer was the last surviving musician to play on Miles Davis’s iconic 1959 album.
 

May 24, 2020 | NPR · Peter Russell of Washington, D.C., shares the song that’s helping him get through these times, Franz Schubert’s ‘An Die Musik.’
 

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