Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The class of 2014 had its dreams

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.

The entire list can be found here, but below are a few items that just seem to drive home the fact that “nostalgia isn’t what it used to be”:

12. Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry.

19. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.

21. Woody Allen, whose heart has wanted what it wanted, has always been with Soon-Yi Previn.

25. Leno and Letterman have always been trading insults on opposing networks.

26. Unless they found one in their grandparents’ closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.

28. They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.

44. The dominance of television news by the three networks passed while they were still in their cribs.

46. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.

53. J.R. Ewing has always been dead and gone. Hasn’t he?

57. A purple dinosaur has always supplanted Barney Google and Barney Fife.

62. Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine.

(A half-hearted doff of the TDOY derby to Bill Crider for pointing me toward this depressing list.)

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