BELOIT COLLEGE RELEASES TENTH ANNUAL MINDSET LIST FOR
THE ENTERING POST-COLD WAR CLASS OF 2011
Beloit, Wis. -When they welcome the class of 2011 in the coming weeks,
American colleges and universities will be saying hello to the generation
born as the Cold War was ending. For them, a Russia with multiple
political parties and a China with multiple business enterprises seems
quite normal. They’ve grown up in a time of triumphant capitalism, where
it’s common for stadiums to be named after corporations and where product
placements have always been yet another clever way for companies to sell
Each August for the past decade, as faculty prepare for the academic
year, Beloit College in Wisconsin has released the Beloit College
Mindset List. Its 70 items provide a look at the cultural touchstones
that have shaped the lives of today’s first-year students, most of them
born in 1989. It is the creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the
Humanities Tom McBride and Public Affairs Director Ron Nief.
Latchkey kids for most of their lives, students entering college this
fall think nothing of arriving home with parents still at work, then
e-mailing or texting their friends, instantly updating their
autobiographies on “Facebook” or “MySpace,” and listening to their iPods
while doing their research on Wikipedia. They’ve grown up with Rush
Limbaugh urging his fellow Dittoheads to excoriate liberals, with having
been taught by an equal number of women and men in the classroom, and
with women having been hired as police chiefs of major cities.
Food has always been a health concern. Consumer awareness about
ingredients and fats has always been energized. They’ve never “rolled
down” a car window, and to them Jack Nicholson is mainly known as the
guy who played “The Joker.”
As usual, they remind their elders how quickly time has passed. For them
Pete Rose has never been in baseball. Abbie Hoffman’s always been dead.
Johnny Carson has never been live on TV, and Nelson Mandela has always
As for the Berlin Wall, what’s that?
THE BELOIT COLLEGE MINDSET LIST FOR THE CLASS OF 2011
Most of the students entering College this fall, members of the Class of
2011, were born in 1989. For them, Alvin Ailey, Andrei Sakharov,
Huey Newton, Emperor Hirohito, Ted Bundy, Abbie Hoffman, and Don the
Beachcomber have always been dead.
1. What Berlin wall?
2. Humvees, minus the artillery, have always been available to the
3. Rush Limbaugh and the “Dittoheads” have always been lambasting
4. They never “rolled down” a car window.
5. Michael Moore has always been angry and funny.
6. They may confuse the Keating Five with a rock group.
7. They have grown up with bottled water.
8. General Motors has always been working on an electric car.
9. Nelson Mandela has always been free and a force in South Africa.
10. Pete Rose has never played baseball.
11. Rap music has always been mainstream.
12. Religious leaders have always been telling politicians what to do,
13. “Off the hook” has never had anything to do with a telephone.
14. Music has always been “unplugged.”
15. Russia has always had a multi-party political system.
16. Women have always been police chiefs in major cities.
17. They were born the year Harvard Law Review Editor Barack Obama
announced he might run for office some day.
18. The NBA season has always gone on and on and on and on.
19. Classmates could include Michelle Wie, Jordin Sparks, and Bart
20. Half of them may have been members of the Baby-sitters Club.
21. Eastern Airlines has never “earned their wings” in their lifetime.
22. No one has ever been able to sit down comfortably to a meal of
“liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
23. Wal-Mart has always been a larger retailer than Sears and has always
employed more workers than GM.
24. Being “lame” has to do with being dumb or inarticulate, not disabled.
25. Wolf Blitzer has always been serving up the news on CNN.
26. Katie Couric has always had screen cred.
27. Al Gore has always been running for president or thinking about it.
28. They never found a prize in a Coca-Cola “MagiCan.”
29. They were too young to understand Judas Priest’s subliminal messages.
30. When all else fails, the Prozac defense has always been a
31. Multigrain chips have always provided healthful junk food.
32. They grew up in Wayne’s World.
33. U2 has always been more than a spy plane.
34. They were introduced to Jack Nicholson as “The Joker.”
35. Stadiums, rock tours and sporting events have always had corporate
36. American rock groups have always appeared in Moscow.
37. Commercial product placements have been the norm in films and on TV.
38. On Parents’ Day on campus, their folks could be mixing it up with
Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz with daughter Zöe, or Kathie Lee and
Frank Gifford with son Cody.
39. Fox has always been a major network.
40. They drove their parents crazy with the Beavis and Butt-head laugh.
41. The “Blue Man Group” has always been everywhere.
42. Women’s studies majors have always been offered on campus.
43. Being a latchkey kid has never been a big deal.
44. Thanks to MySpace and Facebook, autobiography can happen in real
45. They learned about JFK from Oliver Stone and Malcolm X from Spike
46. Most phone calls have never been private.
47. High definition television has always been available.
48. Microbreweries have always been ubiquitous.
49. Virtual reality has always been available when the real thing failed.
50. Smoking has never been allowed in public spaces in France.
51. China has always been more interested in making money than in
52. Time has always worked with Warner.
53. Tiananmen Square is a 2008 Olympics venue, not the scene of a
54. The purchase of ivory has always been banned.
55. MTV has never featured music videos.
56. The space program has never really caught their attention except in
57. Jerry Springer has always been lowering the level of discourse on TV.
58. They get much more information from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert
than from the newspaper.
59. They’re always texting 1 n other.
60. They will encounter roughly equal numbers of female and male
professors in the classroom.
61. They never saw Johnny Carson live on television.
62. They have no idea who Rusty Jones was or why he said “goodbye to
63. Avatars have nothing to do with Hindu deities.
64. Chavez has nothing to do with iceberg lettuce and everything to do
65. Illinois has been trying to ban smoking since the year they were
66. The World Wide Web has been an online tool since they were born.
67. Chronic fatigue syndrome has always been debilitating and
68. Burma has always been Myanmar.
69. Dilbert has always been ridiculing cubicle culture.
70. Food packaging has always included nutritional labeling.
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