Beloit College has just published their annual Mindset List, "a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college." They've published this list for the past 11 years, and if you haven't checked it out, and ever, ever have dealings with people in their late teens or early 20's, I'd urge you to. This is not a "kids these days" Abe Simpson-y screed, it's an objective list of the cultural world that today's freshmen--an 18-year-old freshman in the class of 2012 was born in 1990--have grown up with.
It's easy when you're teaching to lose touch with the world your students live in, and that's the reason the Beloit list is so valuable.
Harry Potter could be a classmate, playing on their Quidditch team.
Since they were in diapers, karaoke machines have been annoying people at parties.
Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino.
Girls in head scarves have always been part of the school fashion scene.
All have had a relative--or known about a friend's relative--who died comfortably at home with Hospice.
Films have never been X rated, only NC-17.
Clarence Thomas has always sat on the Supreme Court.
IBM has never made typewriters.
The Tonight Show has always been hosted by Jay Leno and started at 11:35 EST.
Pee-Wee has never been in his playhouse during the day.
Authorities have always been building a wall across the Mexican border.
Lenin’s name has never been on a major city in Russia.
Caller ID has always been available on phones.
Michael Milken has always been a philanthropist promoting prostate cancer research.
I have to laugh at this one: "There have always been gay rabbis." That's undoubtedly true for everyone since the Talmud was written; all that's changed is how honest about it everyone is.
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Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.