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 30, 2016 | WGBH · In 2004, the Archdiocese of Boston announced the closure of St. Frances X. Cabrini Church in Scituate, Mass. Parishioners have fought to keep it open, but finally exhausted their legal appeals.
 

Francesco Fiondella/International Research Institute for Climate and Society
May 30, 2016 | NPR · Rwanda is missing 15 years of weather data. Getting it back would be a boon for farmers. But can it be done?
 

AP
May 30, 2016 | NPR · The fields bend the hairs and that generates a nerve signal, scientists say.
 

Arts & Life

May 30, 2016 | NPR · The massively popular BBC show, Top Gear, relaunches Monday on BBC America. Following the painfully public downfall of its former host, the new hosts have big gears to grind.
 

May 30, 2016 | NPR · NPR’s Bob Mondello has a selective preview of summer movies from superhero blockbusters to music documentaries and everything in between.
 

May 30, 2016 | NPR · Unlocking the Cage is the latest from filmmakers D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus. Pennebaker made his name with the Bob Dylan documentary, Don’t Look Back, and Monterey Pop. For some 40 years, he and Hegedus, his wife, have collaborated on award-winning films such as The War Room, about Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist
May 30, 2016 | WXPN · The Nashville singer and songwriter reinvents herself with her new album, Ain’t Who I Was.
 

May 30, 2016 | FA · The Roots’ drummer discusses the artistry involved in creating a great meal. “I’m more obsessed with the journey … than the destination,” Questlove says. Originally broadcast April 27, 2016.
 

Courtesy of the author
May 30, 2016 | WXPN · The writer’s new book, The Sun & The Moon & The Rolling Stones, stems from his experience touring with the band in the mid-’90s.
 

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