Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List. It provides a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. The creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief, it was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references, and quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing worldview of each new generation. The Mindset List website at www.beloit.edu/mindset, the Mediasite webcast and its Facebook page receive more than 400,000 hits annually.
A few choice selections:
Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.
They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.
Cross-burning has always been deemed protected speech.
Unless they found one in their grandparents’ closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.
“Viewer Discretion” has always been an available warning on TV shows.
Once they got through security, going to the airport has always resembled going to the mall.
American companies have always done business in Vietnam.
Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.
Rock bands have always played at presidential inaugural parties.
They have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.
And my favorite little jab:
Whatever their parents may have thought about the year they were born, Queen Elizabeth declared it an “Annus Horribilis.”Things for professors to keep in mind. And high school teachers? We can go back at most 5 or 10 years before our reference is ancient history to students.
And 9/11 was 9 years ago.