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List Looks At Life Through Eyes of 18-Year Olds
August 23, 2006 9:07 PM   Subscribe

Most 18-year-old students entering the class of 2010 this fall were born in 1988. For them: Billy Carter, Lucille Ball, Gilda Radner, Billy Martin, Andy Gibb, and Secretariat have always been dead. They have known only two presidents. Ringo Starr has always been clean and sober. Paul Newman has always made salad dressing. Gas has always been unleaded and Don Imus has always been offending someone in his national audience. Wisconsin's Beloit College has published its sixth annual Mindset List. [2003 list previously discussed]
posted by ericb (80 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Yes, yes, but what can be done about keeping them off my goddamned lawn?!?!?
posted by jonson at 9:09 PM on August 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


*shakes fist*
posted by jimmythefish at 9:13 PM on August 23, 2006


Three Presidents. Bush senior was inaugurated in January '89, Clinton in '93, and then that dumb guy they've got now, old whatsisface.
posted by chudmonkey at 9:18 PM on August 23, 2006


Where's the "damnkids" tag?
posted by mrnutty at 9:26 PM on August 23, 2006


Thsi was an amusing concept originally, but the lists keep getting dumber as I get older and crankier. Soon they won't make any sense at all, and jonson and I can sit around grousing about them all day.
posted by medialyte at 9:26 PM on August 23, 2006


A number of years ago, a fned of mine returned to finish college when she was about 30 years old -- along with the 18 year olds and such.

Some folks were talking before class one day and somebody mentioned Paul McCartney.

One young lady piped up: "Oh yeah. Wasn't he in a band called Wings?"

Oy.
posted by bim at 9:27 PM on August 23, 2006


From their list (#33): They have no idea why we needed to ask "...can we all get along?"

Huh? Ain't no racism anymore? That's some wishful thinking... And just who is this "we" they refer to? As I recall, it was one Rodney King, who'd had the shit beaten out of him by LA cops, who uttered this oft-repeated (and too often mocked) statement.

It is a sort of fun and interesting list to scan, though. Still, that #33 bugged me.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:27 PM on August 23, 2006


This reminds me of an early conversation with my grandfather who was born in 1890. He told me of a time before television, before moving pictures, before radio. He told me of a world war--- no, not that one, the one before that one, when he ran Missouri mules through Paris as a teenager.

Each generation sprouts through the misty bog of just-prior events for which they have no connection but through history books and family tales. It's good for them to look back, to be reminded of the their link in the chain of history.
posted by F Mackenzie at 9:27 PM on August 23, 2006


chudmonkey: no, the point is they wouldn't have 'known', same goes for USSR and united Germany
posted by oliyoung at 9:27 PM on August 23, 2006


That should say "friend of mine...."
posted by bim at 9:29 PM on August 23, 2006


Yeah, this year's list seemed pretty, eh, meh, nothing Earth-shaking compared to earlier lists.
posted by orthogonality at 9:29 PM on August 23, 2006


chudmonkey : "Three Presidents. Bush senior was inaugurated in January '89, Clinton in '93, and then that dumb guy they've got now, old whatsisface."

I think the idea is that they've lived with 3 presidents, but the first stopped being president when they were 5, and thus they probably didn't "know" of him. I was born in 1974, so I should remember Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Mk 1, Clinton, and Bush Mk 2, but the earliest president I can actually remember is Reagan.
posted by Bugbread at 9:30 PM on August 23, 2006


Yeah, the death of Secretariat really affected me.

They should really point out things that were true since age 6 or so. I only really know of two presidents during my lifetime - I was born in 1984. I am Canadian, too, so that had something to do with it, but I didn't have any concept of the whole "president" thing until Clinton, really. They could make these Mindset Lists based on the premise that you don't really know what's going on in the list until you're, say, 8? 10?
posted by blacklite at 9:34 PM on August 23, 2006


Don Imus has always been offending someone in his national audience.

I doubt that most 18-year olds even know who Imus is.
posted by amro at 9:35 PM on August 23, 2006


Lots of meh and wth, but... if such a list was drawn in 1890, would there be so much technological advancement? (Although I'll concede a few treats.)

Or would it be filled with the Earl of Nothingham begat 2 offspring &c&c&c?
posted by porpoise at 9:35 PM on August 23, 2006


I think it's because this years' list is trying to be funny. And failing.

Compare this year's
"The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union." (LOL, student union!)
to 2002's "They were 11 when the Soviet Union broke apart, and do not remember the Cold War."
or this year's "Faux fur has always been a necessary element of style." (huh? it has?)
to 2002's much more insightful "The expression 'you sound like a broken record' means nothing to them."
posted by orthogonality at 9:37 PM on August 23, 2006


Milli Vanilli never had anything to say.
posted by owhydididoit at 9:37 PM on August 23, 2006


flapjax at midnite : "Huh? Ain't no racism anymore? That's some wishful thinking..."

No, "ain't no remembering riots that happen when you're 3 years old". King didn't say "can't we all just get along" because there was racism in the world, or because the cops beat him up. He said it in response to the riots in LA, and they were due to racism and police abuse.
posted by Bugbread at 9:38 PM on August 23, 2006


I graduated from college in 1988. Damn, that's depressing.
posted by blucevalo at 9:39 PM on August 23, 2006


flapjax: I think the idea is that they don't know about the LA riots (because certainly college first years can't possibly know extremely recent history), not that there's no need to "just get along anymore." Poorly worded, I agree.
posted by epugachev at 9:41 PM on August 23, 2006


Thanks epugachev and bugbread for pointing out my misinterpretation. Now I'm just ticked off that these young'uns didn't learn about the LA riots in high school!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:44 PM on August 23, 2006


Some of that list is very idiotic. Number 13 and number 19 as examples.

The whole idea of wireless internet and whatnot has only because mainstream in the past, what? 5-10 years?

I can vouch for this becuase I was born in 1988. Boy, 2010 seems so very far away.

Do things really change that much from year to year? i was reading the list for the class of 2003 and a lot of those things still applied to me.
posted by liquorice at 9:45 PM on August 23, 2006


I didn't know Sara Lee made underwear.

Granted, I'm class of 2007, but still ...

I always find this list equal parts insulting and amusing.
posted by anjamu at 9:47 PM on August 23, 2006


Archie, Jughead, and Veronica didn't search for Gopher either. Probably haven't for a while.


Back in my day, you could count the number of internet nodes on the programs of an 8-track. We had to carry tarantula-infested floppy disks the size of LP's four miles up an oil-covered mountain just to log in on a 20x20 pixel monochrome screen, where the pixels were the size of floor tiles, weighed 30lbs each and reeked of formadehyde.

Back then, a four character password was considered secure and if you got it wrong, the IT Nun would give you a swift rap on the back of the hand with a slide rule burning with gasoline before you had to walk halfway down the mountain to re-boot the server with a barbed wire hand crank.


[/old man rant]
posted by Extopalopaketle at 9:51 PM on August 23, 2006 [11 favorites]


with all that meth they're doing, these kids aren't going to remember anything that happened after 1988 either...
posted by troybob at 9:53 PM on August 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


Back in my day...

Now that was funny! Extopalopaketle, they ought to have you writing that list!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:56 PM on August 23, 2006


This brings to my mind some of the difficulties defining generational boundaries, probably because I just finished reading Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069.

Most people would consider those born in 1983-4, for example, too young to be in Generation X. Someone born in 1989, however, would not remember the Cold War or any time before the widespread use of the internet, cell phones or Game Boys, where as the '84-er would.

This leads some to partition generation Y. Despite being only 6 years older than this year's freshmen, I really can't relate many things on that list.
posted by spaltavian at 9:57 PM on August 23, 2006


For the past five minutes, the link has always been dead.
posted by the_bone at 10:05 PM on August 23, 2006


This leads some to partition generation Y. Despite being only 6 years older than this year's freshmen, I really can't relate many things on that list.
Whereas I am only three years older than this year's freshmen (at the very end of what that list would have as the "MTV Generation"), and I felt that that list included a lot of touchstones among my peers.
posted by anjamu at 10:05 PM on August 23, 2006


Man, this list just gets worse every year, doesn't it? Kind of like the youth of America.

10. Thanks to pervasive headphones in the back seat, parents have always been able to speak freely in the front.

Bullshit.

17. They grew up pushing their own miniature shopping carts in the supermarket.

What the hell?

29. Computerized player pianos have always been tinkling in the lobby.

What are they smoking at Beloit? And in what lobbies?
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:06 PM on August 23, 2006


and what's more, these 18yo's can now vote.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:08 PM on August 23, 2006


Computer games have always been in color.

Violence has never been permitted, let alone expected, in football.

The word "goth" has always meant a black-wearing angst-bunny who thinks it'd be romantic to actually be a vampire. Anne Rice has always been the goth muse.

Isaac Asimov is dead.

Ronald Reagan might as well have been dead.

Every job they've ever had, or expect to have, has included at least a nod towards occupational health and safety training. They've not been expected to apply much, if any, common sense.

Most of them know a girl, or know someone who knows a girl, whose nude pictures can be found on the Internet.

A large number of them have a weblog, on which they will post details of your interactions with them, if these interactions are at all notable.

Phones have cameras.

Music has always been digital; easily obtained, and for most of their lifetimes, easily copied.

Security cameras are everywhere the public might be expected to go.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:15 PM on August 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


Funny, '88 was probably the year I started to actually remember things...
posted by Football Bat at 10:24 PM on August 23, 2006


I think it would be more accurate to say "Billy Carter has always been some guy mentioned on the Simpsons a couple times, and they meant to look up who the hell they were talking about, but never got around to it."
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 10:43 PM on August 23, 2006


It has always been possible to die as a direct result of unprotected sex.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:46 PM on August 23, 2006


And pretty much : MeFi has always been a website.
posted by sien at 10:48 PM on August 23, 2006


It's bullshit that google was always a verb too, seeing as how google was only incorporated in '98, and it took a while to become the leader in the search engine market anyway.
posted by afu at 10:59 PM on August 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


They could make these Mindset Lists based on the premise that you don't really know what's going on in the list until you're, say, 8?

The trend of these lists seems pretty clearly geared toward an idea that you start being aware of what's going on in the world beyond your backyard once you start first grade.

The whole idea of wireless internet and whatnot has only because mainstream in the past, what? 5-10 years?

But "wireless" technology has been spreading outside of computers for much longer if you think of things that once only operated if you were directly, physically connected to the base unit or a power supply. Remote controls (many of which were hard-wired 20 years ago) have become, in these kids lifetimes, the way to work everything from the locks on the car to the ceiling fan in the living room. Many homes have no corded telephones. Power tools and kitchen appliances that operate on rechargeable battery power are wireless, technically speaking, and in many cases, kids don't know that they come in wired varieties. And let's not forget the ubiquitous cellular phone. Speaking of which, that's something else that could be on this list, incoming college freshmen have never "dialed" a phone number in their lives.
posted by Dreama at 11:13 PM on August 23, 2006


68. "Outing" has always been a threat.

Um . . . was there time being outed was a good thing?
posted by johnj at 11:16 PM on August 23, 2006


johnj: An outing used to be something you'd go on, say on a Sunday afternoon, with a picnic basket, or some such.
posted by aubilenon at 11:28 PM on August 23, 2006


well . . . there ya go.


posted by johnj at 11:46 PM on August 23, 2006


Or, you know, something McCarthy might do to you.
posted by aaronetc at 11:49 PM on August 23, 2006


If those in High School today were as well versed in geography and the international political clime of today as we were back then (for me, the very tail end of the Eighties,) then they should know as much about the Middle East as we knew about Eastern Europe and Central America.

I somehow doubt that is the case.

Somehow, I think the current administration loves that.
posted by sourwookie at 12:02 AM on August 24, 2006


To most 18-year-old students entering the class of 2010 this fall, Ashley, Brianna, Brittney, Brandon, Cody, Ethan, Hannah, Isaiah, Kayla, Logan, Madison, Megan, Nathan, Noah, Tyler, Zachary, or Zoe (to name just a few) was never a goofy name to get stuck with.
posted by pracowity at 12:07 AM on August 24, 2006


There's a difference between being aware of something through an education vs. experiencing it and having it affect your life in some way. The use of the word 'never' is denying this fact. Take, for example, #26.

Dirty dancing has always been acceptable.

For me, the class of 1997, Dirty Dancing was, apparently, unacceptable at some point. Swayze kicked that door right down for me. Burned that motherfucker to the ground. I have, however, never Dirty Danced. I've never wanted to, nor will I do it in the future. In short, I don't give a fuck and it doesn't matter to me at all.

But, I have lived in a world where Snakes on a Plane was but a twinkle in the ether...and thems was rough times. That's some thing you can take to the bank.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:20 AM on August 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


er...I was looking at 2009 there. Damn kids. *shakes fist*
posted by jimmythefish at 12:23 AM on August 24, 2006


Manuel Noriega has always been in jail in the U.S.

Most probably have no clue who he is. I only recognize the name from childhood.
posted by delmoi at 12:29 AM on August 24, 2006


The best way to make a statement about something has always to make a numbered list. Of course, most people will just stare blankly at your list, imagining what the fuck is the point of your list, but you'll feel smart anyway.
posted by qvantamon at 12:39 AM on August 24, 2006


Pretty mundane, I know, but a hella lot of people have never seen an electromechanical dial-type telephone in the US. Come to think of it, I suspect we will see a time not long from now where pay phones go away completely.
posted by pax digita at 12:51 AM on August 24, 2006


I needed a pay phone recently and it was a hell of a lot tougher finding one than it used to be.

Damn kids. *shakes fist*
posted by jimmythefish at 1:00 AM on August 24, 2006


Tom McBride's list has always seemed pretty stale and pretentious to us kids here at Beloit. I think he researches it in the library rather than, y'know, bothering to ask his students. I had him once as a professor - imagine Lewis Black in a classroom full of terrified freshmen, screaming his head off about Elizabethan literature. It was one of those 'experiences'.
posted by azuresunday at 2:20 AM on August 24, 2006 [2 favorites]


Tom McBride's list has always seemed pretty stale and pretentious to us kids here at Beloit.

That will be one of the items on next year's list.
posted by pracowity at 2:28 AM on August 24, 2006


that should read:

Don Imus has always been a Radio Cowboy shilling folks so that his "cancer ranch" can get a new *insert extravagant expenditure here* because the kids (and Deer-der) need it.
posted by evilgenius at 2:53 AM on August 24, 2006


...and what's more, these 18yo's can now vote.

But will they?
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:01 AM on August 24, 2006


Nathan...was never a goofy name to get stuck with.

I was about to protest, until I realized that yeah, it is a pretty goofy name to get stuck with. Ah, well. It's never done me any harm, unless you count all the "clever" people singing selections from "Guys and Dolls" at me all my life. And I was named after my great-grandfather anyway, so there you go.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:24 AM on August 24, 2006


Coulda been worse. I know a kid whose first and middle names are, I $hit you not, "States Rights." Named for this guy, in case you're curious.
posted by pax digita at 5:18 AM on August 24, 2006


aeschenkarnos : Most of them know a girl, or know someone who knows a girl, whose nude pictures can be found on the Internet.

You see, I knew I was born in the wrong generation.
posted by twine42 at 5:40 AM on August 24, 2006


I didn't know Sara Lee made underwear.

Was that before or after she played bass for the Gang of Four?
posted by Grangousier at 6:03 AM on August 24, 2006


Funny, '88 was probably the year I started to actually remember things...

Me, too -and I was born in 1960. Ten more years and I'll forget 'em all again. What were we talking about?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:13 AM on August 24, 2006


(Didn't read the list, but...) Class of '88 here, and I feel pretty fortunate to have lived through the progression of computer technology, from pre-TRS-80 to modern laptops, from cassette tape storage to affordable terrabyte arrays, from 300baud acoustic modems to OC-48s... Here's my little list:

Google, wikipedia, etc. have always existed for them. The idea of shelling out $500+ for a set of static encyclopedias seems ridiculous.

Their computers have always had a nifty graphical user interface -- most don't even know what a command line interface is.

Porn has always been readily accessible.

Installing a sound card has never involved shuffling IRQs and loading drivers into HIMEM. The files "AUTOEXEC.BAT" and "CONFIG.SYS" mean nothing to them.

They have always been able to communicate freely and easily with friends and family around the world.

(okay, a few non-computer ones...)

Their televisions have never had knobs.

Their televisions were always in color.

Video games have always been something you play at home.
posted by LordSludge at 6:30 AM on August 24, 2006


They have always had access to their own credit cards.

You can get a credit card before you're 18? Terrifying.
posted by jack_mo at 6:37 AM on August 24, 2006


More like: Gas has always been unleaded and Don Imus has always, wait: who the fuck is Don Imus?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:48 AM on August 24, 2006


For me, a 'class of '88'er,' the most amazing fact on the list comes in 41st place (shouldn't this be higher?) -

'41. They have always been able to watch wars and revolutions live on television.'

An amazing fact - perhaps, though it should be worded to included that the commentary and what they are 'watching' is biased towards American foreign policy 'interests' via the MSM.
posted by mctsonic at 7:08 AM on August 24, 2006



The Constitution is actually a suggestion...
posted by fluffycreature at 9:42 AM on August 24, 2006


and what's more, these 18yo's can now vote. - Heywood Mogroot

But mostly, they don't.

Like everyone else.
posted by raedyn at 9:50 AM on August 24, 2006


Better them voting than some of the morons here in Cleveland, where we just had a delegation from the RNC to see if we're worthy of hosting their dumb convention. Some bright idea-master dreamed up this excellent way to welcome our new corporate overlords: "leave your office perimeter lights on until midnight so the city looks shinier for our visitors."

I kid you not.

'Course, to me that was awfully telling. "Waste natural resources unnecessarily because it'll make the Republicans like us!"

Yeah. I don't want those people voting, I don't think...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:41 AM on August 24, 2006


Class of '88 here, and I feel pretty fortunate to have lived through the progression of computer technology, from pre-TRS-80 to modern laptops, from cassette tape storage to affordable terrabyte arrays, from 300baud acoustic modems to OC-48s...

Class of '87 here, and I feel the same way. It's weird to remember waiting 5 minutes for a program to load from cassette onto a TRS-80, or from a big old (actually floppy) floppy disk onto a Commodore 64, and having to type "run" in the command line to run it. And you used to be able to use a TV as a monitor! (Even though it didn't work as well.)
posted by Marla Singer at 10:51 AM on August 24, 2006


never had a station sign off with the National Anthem? That still happens. Although lately only once a week.
posted by Gungho at 10:55 AM on August 24, 2006


I was born in '57, my daughter in '93, so I get daily reminders of how ancient I am. One prolonged discussion we have had lately is our different movie experiences.

When I was a child there was no cable and no videotapes, so the only way I got to see a movie was either the very rare (twice a year) trip to movie theater to see a (usually mediocre) child's movie such as "The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes" or watching at home on the black and white TV. The movies on TV were all cut to be G-rated, but they often dealt with adult themes. My dad liked horror, WW II, westerns, and Film Noir, so that is what I got exposed to.

My daughter has never watched anything but children's movies in color. She doesn't like black and white, she doesn't like difficult subjects, she doesn't like westerns, horror or Film Noir. She doesn't like foreign movies, documentaries, or indie films. She doesn't even know who Laurence Olivier is or Buster Keaton or Sophia Loren.

As the catalog of children's movies grows larger, I imagine there will be fewer and fewer children exposed to anything not expressly made for them.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 11:00 AM on August 24, 2006


LordSludge: Video games have always been something you play at home.

That's a great one! I do recall getting a roll of quarters from the bank and heading down to the arcade with buddies...best place in town to score some dope too.
posted by Richat at 11:01 AM on August 24, 2006


And George Foreman is a grill company.
posted by Izzmeister at 12:24 PM on August 24, 2006


Kurt who?
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:54 PM on August 24, 2006


I got my first credit card when I was 17 - in 1983. Buffums (a now defunct SoCal dept. store) was trying to get new (and younger?) customers. I had a decent income at the time and qualified for a $150 credit limit.
posted by deborah at 1:13 PM on August 24, 2006


Don't worry, Boomers, Xers, et al.

For every generation that comes along and threatens to forget all the vitally important cultural touchstones your life would be nothing without (Secretariat? Don Imus?), there will always be a healthy subset of young nerds to fetishize, obsess over and meticulously catalogue it before passing it along to art school kids who will nostalgize it all out of proportion and hipsters, who will make it cool and then abandon it just as the kids in Kansas are starting to get down.

Gilda Radner will one day have a posse, I guess is what I mean, and your Pavement records are safe for posterity.
posted by StopMakingSense at 2:40 PM on August 24, 2006


When I was a kid, my baby sitter was the old Italian lady next door to us in the Bronx, we called her Tante Rosa in Yiddish. She was 106 years old. She was born in 1853. And I'm only 50. My grandfather used to complain about Cossacks.

My, how times have changed.
posted by zaelic at 3:32 PM on August 24, 2006


"Google" was a verb in 1988?
posted by ontic at 5:18 PM on August 24, 2006


Andy Gibb is dead?
posted by Skygazer at 6:47 PM on August 24, 2006


36. They have rarely mailed anything using a stamp.

People don't use stamps anymore? Did I miss something?
posted by Sand Reckoner at 10:56 PM on August 24, 2006


Andy Gibb is dead?

For the last 18 years...
posted by Talez at 8:32 AM on August 25, 2006


.
posted by Skygazer at 10:53 AM on August 25, 2006


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