Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Beloit College Mindset List: 2010

One of my favorite events every year is the release of the Beloit College Mindest List. It might possibly be the greatest thing ever to come out of Wisconsin. Once a year the school releases a list of characteristics of incoming freshmen in terms of cultural experiences to indicate a) their view of the world and b) show just how old you are.

I’ve been writing about this list for probably as long as I’ve been blogging. When I started I always would joke about how I could theoretically have a kid entering college. Which was funny given that it would have required my getting a girl pregnant in high school and just the thought of talking to a girl that I liked would make me nauseous with fear. Well, this year’s group of freshmen were born in 1992 when I was finishing my freshmen year of college. I still can’t say that I could have a kid in this class without laughing (unless having coffee with a girl has somehow been reclassified as reaching second base) but we are getting much closer. Anyway, on to the list…

Starting note: For these students, Benny Hill has always been dead.

1) Few in the class know how to write in cursive: I had the worst cursive handwriting imaginable as a kid. My parents would always complain to my teachers about my handwriting and I swear to god they were once told in reply “one day someone is going to get paid to read Chris’ handwriting.” Luckily I learned to type instead as I can’t even print neatly. That said, if anyone could tell me the purpose of cursive I would love to hear it.

2) Email is just too slow and they seldom if ever use snail mail: I’m not sure if I agree with email being too slow (though given texting it probably is to this generation.) However, in 1992 I was still writing letters to people over the summer. Honest to goodness handwritten letters to girls I met at school and were spending the summer overseas. I can guarantee you that there is not a single freshmen entering Illinois this year who will do that.

7) “Caramel macchiato” and “venti half-caf vanilla latte” have always been street corner lingo: As I mentioned, much of my college dating experience involved going out for coffee, which is a nice way of saying that I didn’t really have any college dating experience. Anyway, back then we would simply go to the independent coffee shops in Champaign and order…coffee. Maybe get fancy and order espresso. Where the hell these terms came from I have no idea.

9) Had it remained operational, the villainous computer HAL could be their college classmate this fall, but they have a better chance of running into Miley Cyrus’s folks on Parents’ Weekend: Yes, HAL was completed during my freshmen year at Illinois. I do not find that to be a coincidence.

12) Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry: I agree that your typical freshman will not get the Dirty Harry reference by I have a hard time calling Eastwood a sensitive director. I don’t think that I could call him a sensitive anything. He could read a collection of Wordsworth poetry and you would still use the word hardscrabble to describe it.

15) Colorful lapel ribbons have always been worn to indicate support for a cause: It started during award shows. Then it moved to everyday life followed by a morph into wristbands. Now there are actual battles over which color is allowed for which cause.

17) Trading Chocolate the Moose for Patti the Platypus helped build their Beanie Baby collection: A significant portion of the incoming class had parents who were banking on their Beanie Baby collection to finance their college education. Oh how wrong they were. A wonderful business case on artificial scarcity, overhyped markets and the realization of “Wait a minute, how can a stuffed animal that costs fifty cents to make be worth a hundred bucks?”

21) Woody Allen, whose heart has wanted what it wanted, has always been with Soon-Yi Previn: My god, I remember when this story broke. This was the biggest news story of the summer and everyone talked about how horrible it was that he was marrying his adopted daughter. 18 years later and they are still together and he is still making movies. Not very good movies but movies nonetheless.

27) Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive: We are probably passed the point where anyone remembers the 5 ¼ inch drives from back when floppy discs were actually floppy. It’s probably been a good five years since computers even came with true disc drives. I remember loading up my Commodore 64 using a tape drive. Man am I old.

32) Czechoslovakia has never existed: Thus making them unable to truly understand the wonder of the “Two Wild and Crazy Guys” sketch on Saturday Night Live. Also, incoming freshman cannot remember when Dan Akroyd was either a) funny or b) weighed less than 300 pounds.

39) Pizza jockeys from Domino’s have never killed themselves to get your pizza there in under 30 minutes: I grew up in lovely Berwyn, Illinois and when Domino’s started their store was on the other side of the train tracks from my house. Yes, I did literally grow up on the wrong side of the tracks. This was wonderful though since if we timed it correctly our Domino’s driver would get stuck behind a freight train for ten minutes thus resulting in a free pizza. Loved that promotion.

43) Russians and Americans have always been living together in space: Maybe not accomplish much but they have been living there. It is amazing to think that I grew up truly believing that there was going to be a nuclear Armageddon before I could legally drink and a kid entering college would not even understand that the Russians are supposed to be bad guys.

46) Nirvana is on the classic oldies station: Note to whoever wrote this list “Fuck you!” Sorry, I have never read something that has made me feel so old in my entire life.

48) Someone has always gotten married in space: I am completely lost on this one. I am a space geek and can’t recall a marriage in space. Can anyone fill me in on this one?

53) J.R. Ewing has always been dead and gone. Hasn’t he?: To be fair, I can barely recall the whole Who Shot JR storyline and Dallas hype. There really is no reason why anyone under 30 would get such a reference.

71) The nation has never approved of the job Congress is doing: And rightfully so.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I still firmly hold that we as a species are de-evolving.