Once again, friends, it's time for the latest guidance from Beloit College. (See last year's list here.)

The drill is the same as it is each year:

If you are unfamiliar, each August, starting in 1998, Beloit College in Beloit, WI presents The Mindset List, "providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall." It initially was meant to be a guide to the faculty to help them understand the incoming freshman class, by pointing out the things that "everybody" knows are different for the teachers as they are for those students, because times have changed. Accordingly, it's a warning to those teachers to "watch their references."

Without further ado, here is the Beloit College Mindset List for 2020. And check out the nifty slideshow!

THE BELOIT COLLEGE MINDSET LIST FOR THE CLASS OF 2020

Students heading into their first year of college this year are mostly 18 and were born in 1998.

Among those who have never been alive in their lifetime are Frank Sinatra, Phil Hartman, Matthew Shepard, Sonny Bono, and Flo-Jo.

Since they arrived on this planet….

  1. There has always been a digital swap meet called eBay.
  2. Grandpa has always been able to reach for the Celebrex.
  3. They never heard Harry Caray try to sing during the seventh inning at Wrigley Field.
  4. There have always been Cadillac Escalades, but they just don't seem to be all that into cars. 
  5. West Nile has always been a virus found in the U.S.
  6. Vladimir Putin has always been calling the shots at the Kremlin.
  7. The Sandy Hook tragedy is their Columbine.
  8. Cloning has always been a mundane laboratory procedure.
  9. Elian Gonzalez, who would like to visit the U.S. again someday, has always been back in Cuba.
  10. The United States has always been at war.
  11. Euros have always been the coin of the realm...well, at least part of the realm.
  12. Serena Williams has always been winning Grand Slam singles titles.
  13. SpongeBob SquarePants has always lived at Bikini Bottom.
  14. The Ali/Frazier boxing match for their generation was between the daughters of Muhammad and Joe.
  15. They have never had to watch or listen to programs at a scheduled time. 
  16. James P. Hoffa has always been president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
  17. Surprise: There has always been sex in the city.
  18. John Hinckley has always been able to get out of the hospital to go for a walk.
  19. Each year they've been alive the U.S. population has grown by more than one million Latinos. 
  20. TV ads for casinos have always been permitted to mention that there is actually gambling going on in there. 
  21. Vaccines have always been erroneously linked to autism.
  22. Laws against on-the-job harassment have always applied to parties of the same sex. 
  23. Even as the national mood gets glummer, there has always been an annual prize for the most humorous American.
  24. Catholics and Lutherans have always been in agreement on how to get to heaven.
  25. To greet them with some cheery news, when they were born, India and Pakistan became nuclear powers.
  26. If you want to reach them, you’d better send a text—emails are oft ignored.
  27. They disagree with their parents as to which was the “first” Star Wars episode.
  28. “Nanny cams” have always been available to check up on the babysitter.
  29. NFL coaches have always had the opportunity to throw a red flag and question the ref.
  30. Bada Bing – Tony and Carmela Soprano and the gang have always been part of American culture.
  31. They have no memory of Bob Dole promoting Viagra.
  32. Books have always been read to you on audible.com.
  33. Citizens have always been able to register to vote when they get their driver’s license.
  34. Bluetooth has always been keeping us wireless and synchronized.
  35. X-rays have always been digital allowing them to be read immediately.
  36. Exxon and Mobil have been one company—and it doesn’t own any gas stations.
  37. They have always eaten irradiated food.
  38. A Bush and a Clinton have always been campaigning for something big.
  39. Physicians have always had unions.
  40. Some have always questioned the sexual orientation of certain Teletubbies.
  41. Snowboarding has always been an Olympic sport.
  42. Students have always questioned where and by whom their sweatshirts are made.
  43. While chads were hanging in Florida, they were potty training in all 50 states. 
  44. Presidents have always been denied line item veto power.
  45. Nigeria has always been a constitutional republic with a civilian government.
  46. The once-feared Thalidomide has always been recognized as a cancer fighting drug. 
  47. DreamWorks has always been making animated creatures heroic and loveable.
  48. Deceased men have always been able to procreate.
  49. John Elway and Wayne Gretzky have always been retired.
  50. They have never seen billboard ads for cigarettes.
  51. The New York Stock Exchange has never reported its ups and downs in fractions.
  52. Airline tickets have always been purchased online.
  53. There have always been iMacs on desks.
  54. Instant, tray-less ice cubes have never been a novelty.
  55. Robots have always been surgical partners in the O.R.
  56. Peregrine falcons have never been on the endangered species list.
  57. Outstanding women basketball players have always had their own Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn.
  58. Newt who?
  59. War films have always shown horrific battle scenes inspired by Saving Private Ryan.
  60. Michael J. Fox has always spoken publicly about having Parkinson's disease.

Copyright© 2016 Beloit College

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Some of these things seem a stretch to make a point. I mean how many incoming freshman are into boxing enough to know about the daughters of Ali and Frazier having a bout? I think it far more likely that they have vaguely heard of Muhammad Ali. A few of them, anyway.

How many people of any age would remember at first blush who Elian Gonzalez is/was? James P. Hoffa? John Hinckley? These are not household names even in my generation.

Aside from quibbles, though, this is an interesting exercise.

i figure they get suggestions from the faculty each year. I definitely think the list would be stronger if they would prune about a third of the weakest examples from it. 

About Elian Gonzalez, though, that's the point -- 16 years ago, it was THE story of 2000, but now there's a generation unaware of the fuss over it.

As for Ali and Frazier, I didn't even know Joe had a daughter.

"The United States has always been at war....with Eurasia, The United States has always been at war with Eurasia."

"To greet them with some cheery news, when they were born, India and Pakistan became nuclear powers."

While it's true that Pakistan tested its first nuke in 1998, India's had nuclear weapons since 1974.



The Baron said:

"The United States has always been at war....with Eurasia, The United States has always been at war with Eurasia."


All Orwell got wrong was the date.

Captain Comics said:

Some of these things seem a stretch to make a point. I mean how many incoming freshman are into boxing enough to know about the daughters of Ali and Frazier having a bout? I think it far more likely that they have vaguely heard of Muhammad Ali. A few of them, anyway.

How many people of any age would remember at first blush who Elian Gonzalez is/was? James P. Hoffa? John Hinckley? These are not household names even in my generation.

Aside from quibbles, though, this is an interesting exercise.

I think about the John Hinckley one, it's marveling at the notion that somebody who shot the President of the United States(!)

AND a Secret Service agent(!)

AND a D.C. police officer, leaving him with nerve damage to his arm(!)

AND the White House Press Secretary, leaving him wheelchair-bound for the rest of his life (!), 

gets to leave the hospital for a walk ...instead of going only from his prison cell to the prison cafeteria and the prison exercise yard and back to his cell. 

Apparently, John Hinckley has been spending 50% of his time at home with Mother, and is soon likely to be spending 100% of his time with Mother.

...Just to make a quick add-on , that has been official recently , I noted that at the time . He has been " paroled " , so to speak (barring some unexpected more-recent development) , though his street date may have not happened just yet .

Richard Willis said:

Apparently, John Hinckley has been spending 50% of his time at home with Mother, and is soon likely to be spending 100% of his time with Mother.

...As was said , I think this makes a pretty big deal of minor , or not really , IMHO , points ~ Yes , the younger Ali and Frazier just fought . Spiffy .

  Their father's  fight was (1) (I guess) considered to be by fight aficinados a excellent fight , as " a good fight " (2) that settled a " Who is the champ ? " dispute (back when the boxing biz had its act sufficiently together to agree on one champion at any given time as the norm) and (3) marked an " end of the Sixties/culture wars " moment .

  Newt Gingrich was a Presidential contendor as recently as 2012 (I forget whether he officially announced/ran , but he was mentioned then .) , and he was a close one to be Trump's Veep pick this year , and delivered a major prime-time speech at Cleveland this year !

  Who put this list togerher ~ a counterculture McGovernik or somethin' ? :-)

  To return to something I said last year , this list appears to fall into the assumption that EVERY 17/18-yr. old Beloit frosh ALWAYS had the latest tech in their home situations at all times - Weren't there ever any who , oh , just for something mild , were less well-off for at least a while when their folks went bankrupt or got a divorce or just got deposited  with Gramps or Auntie for a while who either didn't have computers or just had dial-up ? NO Beloit frosh ever was financially below the have-the-latest-cool-stuff level at any time in their pre-college childhoods ? That is why I made that " upper-class bratitorium " joke last year that got misunderstood .

...As I've said , this whole thing appears to be implicitly saying to the prof , or the older generation in general - " Old fogy , don't you DARE mention anything that predates what we say you should mention !!!!!!!!!!! They are the Incredibly Kewell Now Generation and you DASSEN'T , EVER!!!!!!! , mention anything post-dating that ?

  Weren't they smart/well-testing enough to get into college in the first place ? But they don't know anything predating their first awareness of their navel ?

  I suppose it ( may be (here we go) a matter of " creating a safe space " ? Are trigger warnings in line for mentioning anything pre-The Latest , Greatest ?

  I think practically every?? election since 1976 has (especially if you add the name Dole) involved those three names , so...........

  More later...........

I don't think it's a warning to not mention anything before that. It's just a reminder that certain references will need explanation for the current college students that might not have needed explanations in the past.  

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

  To return to something I said last year , this list appears to fall into the assumption that EVERY 17/18-yr. old Beloit frosh ALWAYS had the latest tech in their home situations at all times - Weren't there ever any who , oh , just for something mild , were less well-off for at least a while when their folks went bankrupt or got a divorce or just got deposited  with Gramps or Auntie for a while who either didn't have computers or just had dial-up ? NO Beloit frosh ever was financially below the have-the-latest-cool-stuff level at any time in their pre-college childhoods ? That is why I made that " upper-class bratitorium " joke last year that got misunderstood .


It got misunderstood because it was pointless and not funny. And it hasn't gotten any funnier in the days since.

I think the point is don't be surprised if they never heard of this stuff. In fact, you will probably be surprised if they HAVE heard of this stuff.

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