I was just sitting back and reading through the annual “Mindset List” that Beloit college puts out annually (every August) and I think its something that everyone should take a scan through whenever it comes out. For people old and young, be you on the rise or cresting the hill – or even a kid in school – you can find something in it that will strike you as noteworthy.
What is it you ask? Well to put it simply, every year at around this time they release this list that compiles some of the “cultural touchstones” and changes in our perceptions and culture that we don’t really even realise are happening and more importantly – evolutions of our culture and society in simple ways that the elder folks might note if aware enough by nature, but the younger, newer generation has no idea.
And the main reason beyond the amusement and insight of it all, the real reason I like to share stuff like this is because its proof of the concept that all things in life be they economic, religious, personal, scientific, metaphysical – all these things are constantly evolving and changing as our understanding and awareness and experience (good AND bad) grows. Reality itself is a state of mind that changes from generation to generation and this is just another way of reminding ourselves how true that is.
It’s fair before I share the amusing and insightful listings that I give a line about the guys behind it, for which I’m just going to flat out ripoff their homesite:
The creation of Beloit’s former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief and Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride, 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. Mindset List websites at Beloit College and at mindsetmoment.com, the media site webcast and their Facebook page receive more than a million hits annually.
Like all things though, its not a perfect list. As a concept I think its fantastic, creative and in today’s fast-paced and constantly evolving brave new world it is more relevant and important then any other time in history thus far. However that said, I found that the extensive list they had made included a lot of things that were America specific (too much for average folks) and some were really not as big a deal and felt like they were being put to pad the size of the post.
And so I decided of my own accord to pare the list down to a more manageable number and limit it to things that most anyone could understand or relate to across the globe. Granted there will be places and people who are not quite there yet, but in terms of significance, long term impact and cultural resonance I think this works just fine. The list is here in its condensed form covering my selection of the most relevant (in my humble view) of the 75 point mega-list originally made which if you are so inclined can be viewed on the page linked earlier in this post at the Beloit homepage. And so without further adieu, I now go directly to the creators of the list and the list itself:
“This year’s entering college class of 2015 was born just as the Internet took everyone onto the information highway and as Amazon began its relentless flow of books and everything else into their lives. Members of this year’s freshman class, most of them born in 1993, are the first generation to grow up taking the word “online” for granted and for whom crossing the digital divide has redefined research, original sources and access to information, changing the central experiences and methods in their lives…without any memory whatever of George Herbert Walker Bush as president, they came into existence as Bill Clinton came into the presidency.
Andre the Giant, River Phoenix, Frank Zappa, Arthur Ashe and the Commodore 64 have always been dead.
Their classmates could include Taylor Momsen, Angus Jones, Howard Stern’s daughter Ashley, and the Dilley Sextuplets.
For those who cannot comprehend that it has been 18 years since this year’s class was born, they will quickly confirm that the next four years will go even faster and, like the rest of us, they will continue to grow older at increasing speed.
The Mindset List for the Class of 2015
1. “PC” has come to mean Personal Computer, not Political Correctness.
2. The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.
3. Jim Carrey has always been bigger than a pet detective.
4. They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.
5. As they’ve grown up on websites and cell phones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.
6. “Don’t touch that dial!”….what dial?
7. Amazon has never been just a river in South America.
8. Chicken soup has always been soul food.
9. Frasier, Sam, Woody and Rebecca have never Cheerfully frequented a bar in Boston during primetime.
10. They’ve always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe: Michael Who?
11. O.J. Simpson has always been looking for the killers of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
12. Women have never been too old to have children.
13. Japan has always been importing rice.
14. We have never asked, and they have never had to tell.
15. Life has always been like a box of chocolates.
16. They’ve always gone to school with Mohammed and Jesus.
17. There has never been an official Communist Party in Russia.
18. “Yadda, yadda, yadda” has always come in handy to make long stories short.
19. Video games have always had ratings.
20. Dial-up is soooooooooo last century!
21. Refer to LBJ, and they might assume you’re talking about LeBron James.
22. Women have always been kissing women on television.
23. Their older siblings have told them about the days when Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera were Mouseketeers.
24. Faux Christmas trees have always outsold real ones.
25. They’ve always been able to dismiss boring old ideas with “been there, done that, got the T-shirt.”
26. Music has always been available via free downloads.
27. Moderate amounts of red wine and baby aspirin have always been thought good for the heart.
28. They’re the first generation to grow up hearing about the dangerous overuse of antibiotics.
29. Russian courts have always had juries.
30. While they’ve been playing outside, their parents have always worried about nasty new bugs borne by birds and mosquitoes.
31. Some of them have been inspired to actually cook by watching the Food Channel.
32. Fidel Castro’s daughter and granddaughter have always lived in the United States.
33. Their parents have always been able to create a will and other legal documents online.
34. They’ve often broken up with their significant others via texting, Facebook, or MySpace.
35. Kim Jong-il has always been bluffing, but the West has always had to take him seriously.
36. Nurses have always been in short supply.
37. They won’t go near a retailer that lacks a website.
38. Altar girls have never been a big deal.
39. Folks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have always been able to energize with Pepsi Cola.
40. Andy Warhol is a museum in Pittsburgh.
41. Refugees and prisoners have always been housed by the U.S. government at Guantanamo.
42. There have always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded U.S. Navy ships.
Hope that amused and gave pause for thought to at least a few if not all of you – I will be posting again likely tomorrow on Anna Hazare and the situation in New Delhi so watch this space!