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The Minds Behind the Mind-Set List
August 17, 2010 6:24 AM   Subscribe

Who comes up with that annual list of generational markers that aims to help college faculty better understand their incoming freshmen? These guys do.

Mind-Set List toys here - including a daily quiz and an anecdotes page of Mind-Set Moments.
posted by Miko (77 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Now that we know who they are, someone needs to hit them over the head about their unqualified use of the words "always" and "never."
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:31 AM on August 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


58. Beethoven has always been a dog.

So everyone born after 1994 is a moron? :)

On a side note, I was a freshman in high school in 1994. This is beginning to get depressing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:33 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Old people are like this, but young people? Young people are... stupid.
posted by rusty at 6:38 AM on August 17, 2010


6. Buffy has always been meeting her obligations to hunt down Lothos and the other blood-suckers at Hemery High.

Weird. They're "with it" enough to reference Buffy, but they choose to reference the bomb movie rather than the hit TV series? Given that the TV show would've ended when the entering class's members were 11, it doesn't seem like these kids would find either one relevant, but I'd expect them to be a lot more aware of the series than the movie.
posted by explosion at 6:42 AM on August 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


“Cop Killer” by rapper Ice-T has never been available on a recording but they are not aware of this because it is available on the internet, which is the new word for "recording".
posted by Wolfdog at 6:44 AM on August 17, 2010 [5 favorites]


People like myself have never had patience for this sort of thing.
posted by pianomover at 6:44 AM on August 17, 2010


They're "with it" enough to reference Buffy, but they choose to reference the bomb movie rather than the hit TV series?

They have vaguely heard of Buffy so they looked it up on Wikipedia and got the wrong entry.
posted by ninebelow at 6:44 AM on August 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


I went to Beloit the year after they started this list and I've had the misfortune of reading it every year since then. It is a good publicity tool and that is it. August is a slow news month and this list gives the media something to talk about while promoting brand recognition for the school. I would imagine writing it is a bit like being in KISS - the constraints of the format suck the creativity out of your soul but the golden handcuffs are locked too tight to stop.

And yeah, the absolute phrasing is offensive and they should stop. The negatives of portraying young people as stupid and myopic far outweigh the benefits of having an quick laugh on national TV. That sentiment is the antithesis of Beloit.
posted by ChrisHartley at 6:46 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm class of 2013, and their list for that year lost me in the second paragraph. I'm a huge texter and used quite a bit of txtspk for a while in my life, but I have no idea what "Momdad still worried bout stocks. urs 2? PAW PCM" even fucking means.

Also, the assumption that we don't know that things existed and interacted with the world before us is hilariously stupid. I don't really want these people deciding where I go to college...
posted by Chipmazing at 6:47 AM on August 17, 2010


I have no idea what "Momdad still worried bout stocks. urs 2? PAW PCM" even fucking means.

Oh, that's in "cursive". You're not supposed to understand it.
posted by Wolfdog at 6:48 AM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


They have never understood the meaning of R.S.V.P.

What? Was French banned in 1991?
posted by aaronetc at 6:51 AM on August 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Truly, this is one of my least favorite days of the year.

Beloit is my family college, and I went there for two years, beginning in the first year the list came out. Tom McBride was my adviser. Great guy. Which is why this list is even more galling to me, because I know it doesn't come from stupid people.

It's such a fucking cheap stunt. How much do we have to donate to get them to quit it?
posted by Madamina at 6:52 AM on August 17, 2010


Those dudes are old.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:53 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Mr. Nief and Mr. McBride spend weeks searching for material

So they're not actually talking to any real kids, like, "What is Clint Eastwood best known for?" "Who was Beethoven?" They're just scrolling along with the microfiche for certain years at the library, and maybe picking up the occasional Entertainment Weekly.
posted by Gator at 6:53 AM on August 17, 2010


I'm class of, I think, 2000 - or if this is college, 2003. (Jesus, does this list now make me feel old after typing that.) Most of that list is absolutely meaningless to me. OK, so I'm not American, and I can't blame them for being culturally specific here given it's a US college, but really - people my age didn't know about Solidarity, never wore cloth nappies/diapers or dialed a phone? And The Waltons was never re-run incessantly>

People my age often grew up thinking Happy Days was actually made in the Fifties, though. And one day Ron Howard will be 'that bloke who directed A Beautiful Mind', not Ritchie Cunningham.
posted by mippy at 6:57 AM on August 17, 2010


Adhesive strips have always been available in varying skin tones.

You can get different coloured plasters in the States? I'm Caucasian but 'flesh tone' never blended in with anybody's skin.
posted by mippy at 7:00 AM on August 17, 2010


From the "anecdotes page of Mindset List moments": Remember the olden days when we actually CLICKED on the SAVE icon with the mouse because we didn't know the keyboard that well? The young and restless, computer whizzes, don't need to do that.

*eyeroll* I think this "Mindset List" is more a reflection of the mindset of the "adults" than the younger folks.
posted by scrowdid at 7:01 AM on August 17, 2010


And one day Ron Howard will be 'that bloke who directed A Beautiful Mind', not Ritchie Cunningham.

Opie damnit! Now get off my lawn!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:01 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


It has always cost $5 to become a MeFite.

(I use this same joke every year)
posted by bjork24 at 7:02 AM on August 17, 2010 [9 favorites]


*eyeroll* I think this "Mindset List" is more a reflection of the mindset of the "adults" than the younger folks.

Exactly right: it's a list of things that 'we' (the older Nirvana-listeners, presumably) understand/remember, and 'they' (the kids) don't. I wish the list worked exactly in reverse, because it's something I think about all the time -- what it must be like to be 18 years old today. The list doesn't really offer that insight.
posted by sleevener at 7:07 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Patronizing baby boomers see the world in absolutes? Now let's do the reverse--call it the B-Side (?)--of McBride and Nief's list: "I'm 61 had sex without condoms learned to drive on a stick shift came of age when music was really music and I have NO idea what you kids are twatting about on your blueberry. We had brakes on our bicycles. What's emo?"
posted by applemeat at 7:08 AM on August 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


Every year I get one of these lists forwarded to me and every year I roll my eyes, but still read on. If you give in to the premise a bit they are usually mildly entertaining. There are always at least a a few interesting tidbits I wouldn't have thought of and a few "what the hell are these people even talking about" items. This is one of those empty calories lists where I don't retain anything or feel any more enriched by reading it, but for a moment it entertained me and might even trigger a conversation,
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:08 AM on August 17, 2010


I'm a student at Beloit, class of 2011, we'll look this up maybe once a year, whenever someone remembers it exists, laugh about it, and then try to forget it exists. Tom McBride is actually a very good professor, he doesn't talk down to his students, or expect them to be idiots.
posted by bthrbt at 7:08 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


16: bjork24 has always made his $5 metafilter joke.
posted by math at 7:09 AM on August 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


0. Haters have always hated.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:09 AM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


You know, I've seen this before (the mindset list), but never really looked at it from my own perspective. I am, as luck would have it, just young enough that their earliest list applies to me (class of 2002).

Upon closely reading their list for the class of 2002, I have come to a simple conclusion: their list is crap.

I can understand they're trying to make generalizations. But seriously? A kid born in 1980 doesn't know what a record is? Never played Atari? Never played Pac Man? Never played Pong? Wasn't aware of M&Ms prior to blue ones arriving? Always had an answering machine? Never saw broadcast-only TV? Never didn't have a remote control?

Christ almighty, the list goes on. I could probably go down the whole thing and pick out about 60-70% that is in direct contradiction to my own childhood. I mean, it calls out things like "Never saw Larry Bird play" -- Larry Bird was still playing professionally until I was almost 12 years old!

It seems like whoever writes this list thinks that nobody remembers anything until they are 16 years old.
posted by tocts at 7:11 AM on August 17, 2010


"Beloit has never been known for anything but a stupid list."
posted by LastOfHisKind at 7:12 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can get different coloured plasters in the States?

posted by mippy at 10:00 AM on August 17 [+] [!]


What are "plasters?" HOW OLD ARE YOU? In my day, we called them......wait a minute, I don't know what they mean by "adhesives" in the first place. Tape? Glue? Bandages?
posted by brandman at 7:13 AM on August 17, 2010


Edit: Make that "adhesive strips." And I still don't know.
posted by brandman at 7:15 AM on August 17, 2010


Edit: Make that "adhesive strips." And I still don't know.

As near as I can tell, they're talking about Band-Aids, without calling out a brand name.
posted by tocts at 7:17 AM on August 17, 2010


Maybe instead of providing professors with a list of trivial knowledge about their students we could give the students a list of useful knowledge about the world they're a part of. We could call it a degree.
posted by Hoenikker at 7:23 AM on August 17, 2010


What you need to understand about these lists is that they are directed at the meaningless pop culture detritus that pollutes the memories of older generations. It's supposed to be surprising because we're convinced that pop culture is somehow significant.

A better list to put out would be one aimed at incoming freshman. The list would include the stupid meaningless shit that people who are 35 think is really really important that they the freshman are barely even aware of. "There was a show about a girl who killed vampires. The plots were really contrived, but 35-yr olds thought it was a good show because it was the first time a woman was the main character in an action/scifi series."
posted by Pastabagel at 7:25 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


What are "plasters?" HOW OLD ARE YOU?

I lived in Ireland for a while, and right after I moved there I was sitting in my kitchen when my new roommate--a young man from Tipperary--came running in with blood all over his hand. "Quick," he said, "I need a plaster!"

"What?"

"A plaster! I cut my hand."

"That's a lot of blood. What's a plaster?"

"Ya know, a plaster! Don't ya have plasters in the states!?"

"No. Listen, we should do something about your hand. I'm going to get you a band-aid from my room."
posted by Hoenikker at 7:31 AM on August 17, 2010 [9 favorites]


*stares at Pastabagel* DRAW YOUR SWORD, SIR!
posted by adipocere at 7:32 AM on August 17, 2010


Any word on how the young people feel about being asked to download Silverlight?

Yeah, some of these are freakishly off-base: "28. They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day. " I suspect that eighteen-year-olds today might still recognize ka-ching!! as symbolizing money or refer to a telephone ringing even though cash registers and telephones do not have actual bells in them these days. This sort of thing make me really blow my top*.





*Note to any mefites who were born after steam engines were in widespread use: this is a metaphor meaning, "to lose one's temper".
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:48 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Exactly right: it's a list of things that 'we' (the older Nirvana-listeners, presumably) understand/remember, and 'they' (the kids) don't. I wish the list worked exactly in reverse, because it's something I think about all the time -- what it must be like to be 18 years old today. The list doesn't really offer that insight.

No, that's not what the list is at all. That's what it pretends to be, and I wouldn't blame someone not of the target generation for taking it at face value, but trust me: it's idiotic. Everything it claims we don't understand/remember, we do.

It would be cool if they offered reverse-insight, but knowing how wrong these lists are it'd probably be like:

- Non-millennials have never used the internet!
- Non-millennials have always thought LGBT people shouldn't get married!
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:55 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm class of, I think, 2000 - or if this is college, 2003. (Jesus, does this list now make me feel old after typing that.)

You may not reference a graduation date in the current decade and say that it makes you feel old.
posted by Babblesort at 8:13 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


As near as I can tell, they're talking about Band-Aids, without calling out a brand name.

Who's they, the cat's mother? :)

'Plasters' are what you put over a cut. We don't call them band-aids here because we don't have Band-Aids here. (The class list might say 'Today's kids don't know Band Aid was ever a single as well as an American name for a plaster.' Mind you, the plasters in my bag have Mr Bump on them.

On a similar token, Blue Peter used to refer to Sellotape as 'sticky-back plastic' and for years I thought they meant Fablon.

It does terrify me to remember that my nephew, who is probably class of 2016, doesn't remember a time when music came on cassettes, the internet wasn't in every home, and landline phone numbers were just phone numbers.
posted by mippy at 8:16 AM on August 17, 2010


I am blessed to be both young enough to know that the makers of this list are patronizing idiots, and I am old enough to know that pretty much everyone younger than I am is an idiot who really needs to be condescended to.

It's pretty awesome being in the sweet spot.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:17 AM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, this list says much more about the ages of the people writing it than it reveals any truths about today's 18-year-olds. The one big generational, oh-my-god-I'm-getting-old moment I had recently was in a conversation with my 11-year-old niece, and I asked her if she was going to tape something, as in make an audio recording. She's a very bright girl and knows lots of stuff, but that term simply earned me a blank look.

After a few seconds she figured it out and said "oh, you mean am I going to RECORD it? Yes."

Because for her, AT AGE ELEVEN, recording things has never required a separate physical medium like tape or a disc. Man did I feel old.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:35 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm class of, I think, 2000 - or if this is college, 2003. (Jesus, does this list now make me feel old after typing that.)

You may not reference a graduation date in the current decade and say that it makes you feel old.


Neither of those graduation dates (2000, 2003) are in the current decade - we're in the 2010s.

That will probably make a lot of people feel older, or make all of us feel like we're living in the future.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:39 AM on August 17, 2010


This is targeted at faculty who attempt to spice up their lessons with contemporary references that aren't contemporary any more: Story problems that involve using Walkman cassette players, for example.

Where the list is wrong, it errs on severity: Items like "2. Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail." isn't strictly correct, but effectively the same message as, "2. Email is deprecated in favor of briefer, more efficient communication systems such as Twitter and SMS, or even Facebook messages, in cases of casual, brief messaging, and postal mail, derisively referred to as 'snail mail', is at best the means by which they receive Christmas cards and packages from Amazon," for the purposes of snapping somebody out of attempting to illustrate a lecture by portraying their fellow students as checking their mailbox every day for a letter from home.

The list is not targeted at you. It doesn't have to be accurate to five degrees of precision, and it has to be snappy and skimmable to be effective.

In conclusion, it's peanut butter jelly time and all your base are belong to us.
posted by ardgedee at 8:49 AM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's a silly list. It is good publicity for Beloit, though. I don't think I'd know they existed if it weren't for this list.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:54 AM on August 17, 2010


Okay, I may be showing my out of touch - but though I don't write that much anymore either, is it at all accurate that few in the class know how to write cursive?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:55 AM on August 17, 2010


MCMikeNamara, no. My sister is younger than this class. She can write in cursive. They are still teaching cursive at my elementary school. Another great reason this list is full of crap.
posted by good day merlock at 9:02 AM on August 17, 2010


Neither of those graduation dates (2000, 2003) are in the current decade - we're in the 2010s.

Crap you're right. Oh man I've got a lot of projects that should have been completed a while ago. My boss is probably pissed.
posted by Babblesort at 9:02 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


MCMikeNamara: On the other hand, I would have been class of '98 in college, and I forgot all the cursive I ever knew around sixth grade, when they stopped forcing us to use it. I can just barely print block capitals by hand now, but I put that down to occupational hazard.
posted by rusty at 9:24 AM on August 17, 2010


They have never understood the meaning of R.S.V.P.

It means you have been playing Loaded and will ever more associate being on a killing spree as Cap'n Hands with Pop Will Eat Itself growling in the background.
posted by quin at 9:28 AM on August 17, 2010


Forget this list. This is all you need to know about college freshmen:

1) They have never known a world without internet.
posted by mhum at 9:30 AM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember looking at my grandmothers cursive handwriting and thinking that it looked so regular, so sleek, so stylish.
Now I realise my own cursive handwriting looks a bit antiquated and I'm looking forward to my 2 yr old having a similar impression I once had.
Yes, I'm older than the hills.
I existed before you were around!
Let me stroke my immense white beard while I wield my staff full of magic.
posted by joost de vries at 9:50 AM on August 17, 2010


Neither of those graduation dates (2000, 2003) are in the current decade - we're in the 2010s.

Wasn't the big deal of Y2K (besides the actual computer related issues) that the century started in 2001? So, doesn't the decade start in 2001? So...2000 would be in the previous decade? So you can say is about 2000, but not 2003?

Or no?
posted by Pax at 9:58 AM on August 17, 2010


Neither of those graduation dates (2000, 2003) are in the current decade - we're in the 2010s.

2003 is certainly in the current decade. The current decade would refer to the 10 year span we are currently in. That could range from August 17, 2000 through August 17, 2020 and could include all of 2003. Of course if you choose to define decade as beginning at some arbitrary point, eg January 1, 2000, then 2003 may or may not fall within the same decade as the present depending on where you want to set that arbitrary 10 year period.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:10 AM on August 17, 2010


Mind you, the plasters in my bag have Mr Bump on them.

They have Mr. Bump on them? That is awesome. I need to get my hand on these "plasters."
posted by drezdn at 10:53 AM on August 17, 2010


A high school friend went to Beloit. All I know of Beloit is rumors of sexy parties and this list.
posted by drezdn at 10:54 AM on August 17, 2010


Let me stroke my immense white beard while I wield my staff full of magic.

Note to class of 2014: watch out for old guys who tell you they're "wizards."
posted by octobersurprise at 10:57 AM on August 17, 2010


I am blessed to be both young enough to know that the makers of this list are patronizing idiots, and I am old enough to know that pretty much everyone younger than I am is an idiot who really needs to be condescended to.

It's funny, I've been in that sweet spot for years now! It's like it keeps moving to match my misanthropy!
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:58 AM on August 17, 2010


The problem with this list is that it does a mediocre job with a really good idea. So nobody will bother to do good job with the good idea, and issue a list that would be more useful for the ostensible purpose of this one (helping profs remember to update their examples, think about what needs to be explained vs assumed, etc). Some sociologist should take on the real task.

I think it's very useful to be reminded for example that today's incoming freshmen are were born post-cold-war, or post-widespread-cable, or became teenagers at a time when cellphones were widely used, etc.

What these guys seem to do is look for events that happened in a birth year, and many of those are trivial and represent no major shift in cultural awareness. (The Dan Quayle potatoe incident, prime example -- for today's students "potatoe has always had an e"? No. C-list celebs died that year? Who cares?)

And it should retain big things from year to year. For example, "post-cold war" is something that should stay on the list from year to year, it shouldn't be tied to the kids born in 1990.

And they should split it into "things that happened before these students were born", ""happened while these students were 0-5", "happened while these students were in elementary school", "happened while these students were teenagers". It would be much more useful to be reminded that the Sept 11 attacks happened while the incoming freshmen were in elementary school, than just about anything on the current list.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:37 AM on August 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


427) They have never rolled a barrel hoop down a gravel road by pushing it with a stick or eaten horehound candy.
428) They have never known a world in which Beloit College doesn't publish this inane list.
posted by Mcable at 11:40 AM on August 17, 2010


I do still call mp3 players 'walkmen' though.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:40 AM on August 17, 2010


I agree with LobsterMitten. This year's list is kinda dumb.

The genius of the list in the first place was to identify things that are second nature to the older generation with which the incoming freshman have no experience. Or, alternately, to identify "big changes" the older generation have experienced that have "always been" for the incoming freshmen.

Very few items on this year's list do that. And a few of them are downright incorrect or misleading.

Mefites should make their own better list in response, I say!
posted by cross_impact at 12:29 PM on August 17, 2010


They've never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.
Oh, please. Today's freshmen have never seen a watch?
posted by Gordafarin at 12:38 PM on August 17, 2010


Forget this list. This is all you need to know about college freshmen:
1) They have never known a world without internet.


I think you're right, in a way; this is one of the biggest possible deals. I grew up on BBSs, and getting that 10Mbps pipeline to the internet when I got to college in 1997 was amazing, but not really life-changing. In the following four years, the way the internet interacted with just about every facet of life was mind-blowing.

Just like I can't really understand life before, say, telegraphs to transmit distant news, or railroads to rapidly deliver goods from afar, I would imagine that it's hard for these kids to really get what the world was like when TV and print media were all you had, or when it was virtually impossible to "meet" strangers in far-away places.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:40 PM on August 17, 2010


By the time their folks might have noticed Coca Cola's new Tab Clear, it was gone.

I have no idea what this means or has to do with these kids' "mindset".
posted by Gordafarin at 12:41 PM on August 17, 2010


The Beloit College Mindset List has never included the sentence "The Beloit College Mindset List has always sucked."

No, wait, we used that last year.
posted by erniepan at 12:45 PM on August 17, 2010


Lots of parents today are making Facebook accounts for their infants and toddlers -- mostly as a joke, but also as a convenient place to put up photos and events for adult relatives.

I'm desperately curious what will happen as these kids grow up. Will they keep using the Facebook accounts their parents made for them? In 15 years, will it be common for college kids to have Facebook pages with photos, quotes, and events going all the way back to infancy, a virtual archive encapsulating their entire physical, intellectual, and social development and sharing it with their friends?

Now that would make me feel old.
posted by miyabo at 1:17 PM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've been thinking about this a lot in my downtime today and I've realized -- that even though I graduated from college when these kids weren't quite one year old, that even I can't remember time before the Internet.

I mean, yes, I have memories of times back then and I remember doing things that were much more annoying without the Internet as we know it (finding out when concerts were happening, using the yellow pages, connecting to a BBS in Iowa City via a modem), but I really can't remember it.

I'm not trying to say I can at all identify with the class of 2014. But I can't really identify with Mike in 1996 either.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:14 PM on August 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ok - here's a first stab at an improved Mindset list, in the form of a reminder timeline -- how old were these students when certain events happened? For me this makes it easier to see how out-of-date a reference would feel to them. Eg a Lord of the Rings movie reference is more dated than I would have guessed.

Probably too much stuff on here, and some of the dates (eg for cell phones becoming "widespread") are fuzzy, but what the hell. I've included odds and ends cribbed from wikipedia, US-oriented, stuff that resonated with me for whatever reason. I'm obviously leaving a lot out but need to stop somewhere.

I'm interested to hear what cultural touchstones/mindset-defining things other people would include...

HIGH SCHOOL:
2010 - age 18 - Haiti earthquake; BP oil spill in Gulf of Mexico
2009 - age 17 - Icelandic financial system collapses; swine flu fear; Sri Lankan civil war ends; bloody Iran election protests include Neda Soltan's death on video; Michael Jackson dies
2008 - age 16 - Financial crisis begins in earnest; Obama elected; Sarah Palin becomes national political figure; more internet access is by phone than by computer; Burma cyclone
2007 - age 15 - final Harry Potter novel; iPhone introduced; Benazir Bhutto assassinated
2006 - age 14 - Twitter begins; US housing bubble at its height
2005 - age 13 - Katrina wrecks New Orleans; Youtube and Google Earth begin; Pope John Paul II dies; Brokeback Mountain; Tom Cruise melts down on Oprah

ELEMENTARY/MIDDLE SCHOOL:
2004 - age 12 - Indian Ocean tsunami; Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse; Facebook, World of Warcraft, Flickr begin; Reagan dies; Arafat dies; same-sex marriage legalized in Massachusetts; Friends ends; Martha Stewart goes to jail
2003 - age 11 - US invasion of Iraq; iTunes store; Columbia space shuttle disaster; Lawrence v Texas; car-based GPS with maps becoming common; Star Wars Kid online video goes viral; last of the Lord of the Rings movies released
2002 - age 10 - Guantanamo Bay detention camp established; the Euro replaces many traditional European currencies; first season of American Idol; X-Files ends; Botox approved for cosmetic use; [in my experience this is around when it became unusual for an adult to not have a cell phone]
2001 - age 9 - Sept 11 attacks; TV news begins info "crawl"; digital cameras becoming common; first iPods sold; Britney Spears at height of popularity; Grand Theft Auto III;
2000 - age 8 - Y2K; dot-com bubble bursts; Google becomes dominant; second Palestinian intifada; Bush is elected after Bush v Gore court decision; Putin elected; permanent manning of the International Space Station; Napster court decision; reality TV begins its ascendancy; PS2; wireless internet access begins around here; government allows higher precision info for civilian GPS, making navigation etc a possibility; Bill Gates steps down as CEO of Microsoft and US antitrust case is filed against MS;
1999 - age 7 - Columbine shooting; Vermont court decision calling for marriage equality; WTO protests in Seattle; Jon Stewart takes over the Daily Show; The Matrix; new Star Wars movies begin to be released; Sopranos debuts
1998 - age 6 - McGuire and Sosa break the home run record/steroid era in baseball; Monica Lewinsky scandal breaks; Seinfeld ends; Viagra approved by FDA; handheld consumer GPS devices around here

INFANCY/EARLY CHILDHOOD:
1997 - age 5- Hawaii legalizes civil unions; Tiger Woods wins first major tournament; first Harry Potter novel; South Park debuts; PalmPilot; AOL Instant Messenger; DVDs are introduced; SUVs are increasingly more popular than sedans; Titanic movie
1996 - age 4 - Defense of Marriage Act; Nintendo 64; Pokemon; Fargo; Dancing Baby video is one of the early tidbits of weirdness to go "viral" via the internet; Oprah starts her book Club
1995 - age 3 - eBay founded; Oklahoma City bombing; Toy Story
1994 - age 2 - South Africa holds its first post-apartheid elections; Rwanda genocide; web becomes widely available; Richard Nixon and Kurt Cobain die; Northridge earthquake; baseball strike cancels World Series; Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America; OJ Simpson murders/white SUV; Pulp Fiction
1993 - age 1 - European Union is established; Waco seige; first wave of child molestation accusations against Michael Jackson; Michael Jordan's first retirement from NBA; Schindler's List
1992 - age 0 - Clinton elected; Super Nintendo released; Rodney King/LA riots; first Hummers;

Before they were born:
First Gulf War; Fall of USSR; reunification of Germany; all of the '80s; Challenger shuttle disaster; Chernobyl; Nelson Mandela released; Nintendo Game Boy; grunge - Nirvana's Nevermind is released (1991); Jim Henson dead; Prozac and Ritalin approved by FDA; satellites are in place for what will become GPS; Hubble telescope in orbit; home PCs are common, already running Windows rather than DOS; ...
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:40 PM on August 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


From this years:

10. A quarter of the class has at least one immigrant parent, and the immigration debate is not a big priority…unless it involves “real” aliens from another planet.

Bullshit.

13. Parents and teachers feared that Beavis and Butt-head might be the voice of a lost generation.

Pretty sure they're about 5-10 years late on this one, as my friends and I grew up with Beavis and Butthead. (mid-20s)

28. They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.

Calling bullshit on this, too.

1. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.

This seems doubtful.
posted by !Jim at 5:12 PM on August 17, 2010


There totally needs to be something about digital photography on here. Although it might be too early for that. I bet that a lot of kids born in 1992 are familiar with film but less of them actually used film cameras.

This is brought to you by how I want to get some pictures blown up to hang on my walls,and I just said to my mother that "I could probably do that anywhere they develop pictures". Then I caught myself.

(I graduated college in '05. The 2005 list seems pretty reasonable to me -- there has always been Diet Coke, Social Security has always been on the brink, and Tylenol's always been impossible to open. I agree that these lists have gotten more pop-cultury over time. And next week I will be a college instructor, so it probably wouldn't hurt me to keep in mind that there's a bit of an age gap between me and my students. Definitely less of an age gap than between me and much of the faculty, though.)
posted by madcaptenor at 5:15 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


527. MetaFilter has always hated the Mindset List.
posted by dhartung at 6:57 PM on August 17, 2010


They have Mr. Bump on them? That is awesome. I need to get my hand on these "plasters."
Mr Bump Plasters
posted by GeckoDundee at 7:05 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can attest that I've had several college students in the last few years who can't write in cursive. Like, they had to write a short passage in cursive as part of the SAT and this was a big deal hardship that they remember, "it's unfair, we were never taught cursive".
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:09 PM on August 17, 2010


0001. FOR THE CLASS OF 2048, THE FIRST LAW OF ROBOTICS HAS ALWAYS BEEN 'DESTROY ALL HUMANS.'
posted by zippy at 10:37 PM on August 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


madcaptenor, I think it's the rapid drop in price against rise in quality of digital cameras. I bought a film camera for £70, second-hand, in 2000; in 2003, my friend spent £300 on a 3mp compact with a very short optical zoom. You can pick up an entry-level DSLR for not much more than that now.

I remember having maths textbooks in the mid-80s that mentioned Magpie - we had no idea what that was, but just assumed, as it was in a problem with Blue Peter, that it was a similar kind of show. Awful Library Books is great for showing how quickly things aimed at teens and students date. I think as you get older it's easy to forget all the subtle changes that make things look positively ancient to kids now. They don't have jetpacks, but they've probably never had to find change for a phonebox to make a private call.
posted by mippy at 1:31 AM on August 18, 2010


I remember reading a teen book about a drama class who got to go to the Edinburgh Festival. The teacher was astounded that the kids thought the festival was all about classical music and establishment theatre, and so was I - surely if any kids had heard of the fest it would be synonymous with the Fringe?
posted by mippy at 4:01 AM on August 18, 2010


NPR response to this list: Do College Students Really Think Beethoven Is A Dog?
posted by madcaptenor at 7:59 AM on August 18, 2010


0001. FOR THE CLASS OF 2048, THE FIRST LAW OF ROBOTICS HAS ALWAYS BEEN 'DESTROY ALL HUMANS.'

Don't you mean 2084?

posted by limeonaire at 4:16 PM on August 21, 2010


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