Monday, September 25, 2006


Since so many of you seem to enjoy the young whipper-snapper rant, I thought I would throw this up as well. Each year Beloit College does their "Mindset List" for the incoming Freshman class. So this class, which will graduate in 2010 (theoretically) was mostly born in 1988.

I assume that's the anguished scream of Jason I hear, running off to his prscious stash of booze.

Anyway, they've been doing this for years and they can be pretty entertaining. Feel free to go and check them out.

However, presented here for your amusement is this year's list.

1. The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union.
2. They have known only two presidents.
3. For most of their lives, major U.S. airlines have been bankrupt.
4. Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the U.S.
5. They have grown up getting lost in "big boxes."
6. There has always been only one Germany.
7. They have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on a cash register.
8. They are wireless, yet always connected.
9. A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents'.
10. Thanks to pervasive headphones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in the front.
11. A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.
12. Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines.
13. Faux fur has always been a necessary element of style.
14. The Moral Majority has never needed an organization.
15. They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.
16. DNA fingerprinting has always been admissible evidence in court.
17. They grew up pushing their own miniature shopping carts in the supermarket.
18. They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.
19. "Google" has always been a verb.
20. Text messaging is their email.
21. Milli Vanilli has never had anything to say.
22. Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.
23. Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.
24. Madden has always been a game, not a Superbowl-winning coach.
25. Phantom of the Opera has always been on Broadway.
26. "Boogers" candy has always been a favorite for grossing out parents.
27. There has never been a "skyhook" in the NBA.
28. Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents' attics.
29. Computerized player pianos have always been tinkling in the lobby.
30. Non-denominational mega-churches have always been the fastest growing religious organizations in the U.S.
31. They grew up in mini-vans.
32. Reality shows have always been on television.
33. They have no idea why we needed to ask "...can we all get along?"
34. They have always known that "In the criminal justice system the people have been represented by two separate yet equally important groups."
35. Young women's fashions have never been concerned with where the waist is.
36. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.
37. Brides have always worn white for a first, second, or third wedding.
38. Being techno-savvy has always been inversely proportional to age.
39. "So" as in "Sooooo New York," has always been a drawn-out adjective modifying a proper noun, which in turn modifies something else
40. Affluent troubled teens in Southern California have always been the subjects of television series.
41. They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.
42. Ken Burns has always been producing very long documentaries on PBS.
43. They are not aware that "flock of seagulls hair" has nothing to do with birds flying into it.
44. Retin-A has always made America look less wrinkled.
45. Green tea has always been marketed for health purposes.
46. Public school officials have always had the right to censor school newspapers.
47. Small white holiday lights have always been in style.
48. Most of them never had the chance to eat bad airline food.
49. They have always been searching for "Waldo."
50. The really rich have regularly expressed exuberance with outlandish birthday parties.
51. Michael Moore has always been showing up uninvited.
52. They never played the game of state license plates in the car.
53. They have always preferred going out in groups as opposed to dating.
54. There have always been live organ donors.
55. They have always had access to their own credit cards.
56. They have never put their money in a "Savings & Loan."
57. Sara Lee has always made underwear.
58. Bad behavior has always been getting captured on amateur videos.
59. Disneyland has always been in Europe and Asia.
60. They never saw Bernard Shaw on CNN.
61. Beach volleyball has always been a recognized sport.
62. Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti have always been luxury cars of choice.
63. Television stations have never concluded the broadcast day with the national anthem.
64. LoJack transmitters have always been finding lost cars.
65. Diane Sawyer has always been live in Prime Time.
66. Dolphin-free canned tuna has always been on sale.
67. Disposable contact lenses have always been available.
68. "Outing" has always been a threat.
69. Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss has always been the perfect graduation gift.
70. They have always "dissed" what they don't like.
71. The U.S. has always been studying global warming to confirm its existence.
72. Richard M. Daley has always been the Mayor of Chicago.
73. They grew up with virtual pets to feed, water, and play games with, lest they die.
74. Ringo Starr has always been clean and sober.
75. Professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics.


Ed Hollett said...


Thanks for posting this. I did it last year when i had a bunch of 20-something students to teach. It sorta helped me get into their headspace but it served more to depress the heck out of me.

That and the fact that things that happened 15 years ago were ancient history for them. So anicent in fact that they could have virtually no discernable relevence to their lives today.

Much like the Crusades.

or the Black Death.

or like the last crowd of 20-somethings I had encountered a few years before. Freshly graduated B.A.s who had - only in their final year - done a history course. On the Second World War. They asked the two older guys at the table if all that stuff was true.

Like about Stalingrad.

at the end of the session of "Yes, my son, 'tis all true," one of the lads offered his wise-beyond-the-years summary:

"Boy. That Hitler. He was one bad dude."

And Jesus wept.

J Consortium said...

I was born in 1986 which is only off this by 2 years and I can say that some of the technology points are exaggerated or wrong.

This list makes it sound like we were using cell phones at age 3. And the "pervasive headphones in the backseat" are something I think most people my age never saw.

If an 18 year old doesn't know what a carbon copy is, I weep for our generation.

Our email is email, like it is for everyone else.

I like comparing my generation to older generations but some of these are just dumb.


towniebastard said...

Jaimie, I agree some of it isn't completely accurate. Part of it isn't just the difference in generations, but also differences between rural and urban, along with differences in countries. Beloit is an American university.

However, I tend to never underestimate people's ignorance, as Ed points out. The stuff that people don't know about staggers me sometimes. Especially in history and geography...