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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May 29, 2017 | NPR · Decades ago, researchers introduced a new theory of policing. It’s called “broken windows” and is seen by many as a cure-all for crime. But the idea is often used in ways its creators never intended.
 

AP
May 29, 2017 | NPR · By the time the final day of Texas’ legislative term had ended, Immigration and Customs Enforcement had been called and politicians on both sides of the aisle had accused each other of making threats.
 

NPR
May 29, 2017 | NPR · Driven by a profound regret for his votes to authorize the wars in the Middle East, Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., is leading a bipartisan effort to pull the U.S. military out of Afghanistan.
 

Arts & Life

Noel Black for NPR
May 29, 2017 | NPR · For people in prison, rules limiting access to technology make seeing video of their kids’ first steps difficult. But a Colorado woman is using a 19th century solution for this 21st century problem.
 

May 29, 2017 | NPR · Advertising jingle writer Steve Karmen wrote a number of famous jingles, including Budweiser Beer’s, “When You Say Bud,” the New York State song, “I Love New York”, the Exxon Song and Wrigley Spearmint Gum’s, “Carry The Big Fresh Flavor.” This story originally aired on Dec. 13, 2016, on All Things Considered.
 

May 29, 2017 | NPR · NPR’s Robert Siegel interviews Graham Allison, author of Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?, about honoring the dead by avoiding unnecessary wars.
 

Music

May 29, 2017 | NPR · Advertising jingle writer Steve Karmen wrote a number of famous jingles, including Budweiser Beer’s, “When You Say Bud,” the New York State song, “I Love New York”, the Exxon Song and Wrigley Spearmint Gum’s, “Carry The Big Fresh Flavor.” This story originally aired on Dec. 13, 2016, on All Things Considered.
 

Getty Images/iStockphoto
May 29, 2017 | NPR · In some cases, the job of composer might be going the way of typewriter repairman and bowling pinsetter as software creates music more cheaply and quickly than humans. Can you hear the difference?
 

May 29, 2017 | FA · During a 2000 visit to the Fresh Air studios, the former teen idol performed old songs, new songs and songs by blues and country performers who influenced him.
 

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