We’ve seen lists like this before. Beloit College in Beloit Wisconsin releases their “Mindeset List” for their incoming class every year around now. The point is to remind us how cultural touchstones change over time. It does that, but it also give us (me, anyway) a good chuckle.
It’s worth reading all the way down to number 49, at least, where libraries get a good mention.
Here’s the full list:
Most students entering college this fall were born in 1987.
1. Andy Warhol, Liberace, Jackie Gleason, and Lee Marvin have always been dead.
2. They don’t remember when “cut and paste” involved scissors.
3. Heart-lung transplants have always been possible.
4. Wayne Gretzky never played for Edmonton.
5. Boston has been working on “The Big Dig” all their lives.
6. With little need to practice, most of them do not know how to tie a tie.
7. Pay-Per-View television has always been an option.
8. They never had the fun of being thrown into the back of a station wagon with six others.
9. Iran and Iraq have never been at war with each other.
10. They are more familiar with Greg Gumbel than with Bryant Gumbel.
11. Philip Morris has always owned Kraft Foods.
12. Al-Qaida has always existed with Osama bin Laden at its head.
13. They learned to count with Lotus 1-2-3.
14. Car stereos have always rivaled home component systems.
15. Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker have never preached on television.
16. Voice mail has always been available.
17. “Whatever” is not part of a question but an expression of sullen rebuke.
18. The federal budget has always been more than a trillion dollars.
19. Condoms have always been advertised on television.
20. They may have fallen asleep playing with their Gameboys in the crib.
21. They have always had the right to burn the flag.
22. For daily caffeine emergencies, Starbucks has always been around the corner.
23. Ferdinand Marcos has never been in charge of the Philippines.
24. Money put in their savings account the year they were born earned almost 7% interest.
25. Bill Gates has always been worth at least a billion dollars.
26. Dirty dancing has always been acceptable.
27. Southern fried chicken, prepared with a blend of 11 herbs and spices, has always been available in China.
28. Michael Jackson has always been bad, and greed has always been good.
29. The Starship Enterprise has always looked dated.
30. Pixar has always existed.
31. There has never been a “fairness doctrine” at the FCC.
32. Judicial appointments routinely have been “Borked.”
33. Aretha Franklin has always been in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
34. There have always been zebra mussels in the Great Lakes.
35. Police have always been able to search garbage without a search warrant.
36. It has always been possible to walk from England to mainland Europe on dry land.
37. They have grown up in a single superpower world.
38. They missed the oat bran diet craze.
39. American Motors has never existed.
40. Scientists have always been able to see supernovas.
41. Les Miserables has always been on stage.
42. Halogen lights have always been available at home, with a warning.
43. “Baby M” may be a classmate, and contracts with surrogate mothers have always been legal.
44. RU486, the “morning after pill,” has always been on the market.
45. There has always been a pyramid in front of the Louvre in Paris.
46. British Airways has always been privately owned.
47. Irradiated food has always been available but controversial.
48. Snowboarding has always been a popular winter pastime.
49. Libraries have always been the best centers for computer technology and access to good software.
50. Biosphere 2 has always been trying to create a revolution in the life sciences.
51. The Hubble Telescope has always been focused on new frontiers.
52. Researchers have always been looking for stem cells.
53. They do not remember “a kinder and gentler nation.”
54. They never saw the shuttle Challenger fly.
55. The TV networks have always had cable partners.
56. Airports have always had upscale shops and restaurants.
57. Black Americans have always been known as African-Americans.
58. They never saw Pat Sajak or Arsenio Hall host a late night television show.
59. Matt Groening has always had a Life in Hell.
60. Salman Rushdie has always been watching over his shoulder.
61. Digital cameras have always existed.
62. Tom Landry never coached the Cowboys.
63. Time Life and Warner Communications have always been joined.
64. CNBC has always been on the air.
65. The Field of Dreams has always been drawing people to Iowa.
66. They never saw a Howard Johnson’s with 28 ice cream flavors.
67. Reindeer at Christmas have always distinguished between secular and religious decorations.
68. Entertainment Weekly has always been on the newsstand.
69. Lyme Disease has always been a ticking concern in the woods.
70. Jimmy Carter has always been an elder statesman.
71. Miss Piggy and Kermit have always dwelt in Disneyland.
72. America’s Funniest Home Videos has always been on television.
73. Their nervous new parents heard C. Everett Koop proclaim nicotine as addictive as heroin.
74. Lever has always been looking for 2000 parts to clean.
75. They have always been challenged to distinguish between news and entertainment on cable TV.