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The world view of today’s freshmen — cursive is out, Clint is cuddly and cable is boring

August 18, 2010

Write in cursive? Not this freshman class, according to Beloit's annual Mindset List.

Every August, Beloit College in Beloit, Wis., delights in reminding us that we’re getting older every minute by releasing its annual Mindset List — that roster of cultural references that probably won’t resonate with the class of incoming freshmen due to arrive on college campuses across the nation this month.

The good news is they don’t fear a Russian missile attack. The odd news is that they can’t write cursive. And the goofy news is that they think Beethoven has always been a dog.

Or so say the creators of the popular list, which originated in 1998 – when most of today’s freshmen were watching a purple dinosaur prance about on public television. Beloit humanities professor Tom McBride and former public affairs director Ron Nief crafted the list as a means of reminding professors that cultural references become dated and can go over like a lead balloon (Yes, we know, but we’re rather fond of our outdated cultural references).

What was Czechoslovakia? Today's freshman will only read about it.

Listed here are a few of our faves from the list for the class of 2014:

  • E-mail is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.
  • 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.
  • Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry.
  • DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.
  • Computers have never lacked a CD-Rom disk drive.
  • American companies have always done business in Vietnam.
  • Rock bands have always played at presidential inaugural parties.
  • Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine.

We’re sure Happenings readers could add even more. Post your comments! Chapman freshmen today have never …? See, we need you to fill us in!

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