Friday, August 25, 2006

The Beloit List: Friday's Jolt of Reality

Beloit College in Wisconsin has released its annual "Mindset List," which, in the words of the press release, "looks at the cultural touchstones that have shaped the lives of today's first-year (college) students." The list is developed by Beloit's Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Public Affairs Director Ron Nief.

For today's 18 year olds:

* They have never heard anyone actually "ring it up" on a cash register.
* A stained blue dress is as famous to their generation as a third-rate burglary was to their parents'.
* A coffee has always taken longer to make than a milkshake.
* They have never had to distinguish between the St. Louis Cardinals baseball and football teams.
* They grew up in minivans.
* They grew up with and have outgrown faxing as a means of communication.
* Carbon copies are oddities found in their grandparents' attics.
* Mr. Rogers, not Walter Cronkite, has always been the most trusted man in America.
* Bar codes have always been on everything, from library cards and snail mail to retail items.
* Public school officials have always had the right to censor school newspapers.

This is the environment in which we are working. How does this affect our services? And why do I feel just a little older today than I did yesterday?


walt crawford said...


And, as you can probably guess, one of those you cite is nonsense, unless we assume "always" means "for the last five or six years."

George said...

Walt, I dropped the entry about Google, which, as I noted on your blog, was way too big a stretch. A fair cop!

Andy Havens said...

Major misses: The've always been told to "Say No" to drugs. They've always lived with AIDS. Apple Mac was always a computer choice. Punk was always mainstream. Disco was always dead. TV always came through a cable. Video games were always available at home and better there than in the arcades. Car phones weren't limited to cars. "Star Wars: Episode I" is the first Star Wars movie they saw in a theater. They never owned a record player. They may never have owned a tape player. They can all touch type. Tattoos on girls don't mean they're bikers.

George said...

Many of the items you point out were on earlier iterations of the Beloit list. If you click on the link in my post, you'll see links to the first eight lists.