#39 in a Series Examining Every Item on the Beloit Mindset List

During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center. (Class of 2018, #1)

I’ve assumed that Messrs. McBride and Nief read Beloit Mindlessness because how could you not read a web site devoted to the destruction of your most famous creation, but item #1 on the Class of 2018 Mindset List clinches it.

The item appears to be a direct response to one of the most pointed criticisms we’ve made against the Mindset List (see here and here), the 9-11 Problem:

The Beloit Mindset List has never made a direct reference to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Or the subsequent wars in Afghanistan or Iraq. Or the rise in security procedures or any other policy changes that took place after the attacks.

But how could it? These events happened in the past 12 years and the central premise of the Mindset List is that the mindset of a birth cohort—its set of “cultural touchstones”—is concocted from events that took place the year its members were born.…

9-11 and its aftermath must be more significant for understanding the “mindset” of American young people than roughly 99% of the trivia on the Mindset lists, but the Mindset Method dictates that they can’t be directly referenced.

Indirect references are okay as long as they are connected to something that happened roughly 18 years earlier.

So, perhaps thanks to our critique, the latest Mindset List opens with a reference to 9-11— even though it took place while the Class of 2018 was in kindergarten! Thirteen years after coordinated terrorist attacks on American soil killed 2,977 people, resulting in two wars and countless other consequences, Messrs. McBride and Nief have come to the realization that the attacks actually affected people who were older than infants when they occurred. So hooray for that, I guess.

Of course, the item misses what was most significant about the attacks for the Class of 2018—it wasn’t being upset by watching the attacks on TV. Also, the rest of the list is the same brand of pointless trivia we’re come to expect from it. We’ll be digging into that in the days to come.

One thought on “#39 in a Series Examining Every Item on the Beloit Mindset List

  1. Newly-Minted Kindergarten Teacher (during the second week of class): “My students have mastered shapes pretty quickly, but I had that lesson stretching into next week. What should I do?”

    Grizzled Veteran Teacher: “Why not wheel in a TV and show them the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon? You could tie the shapes of the buildings into last week’s lesson!”

    Newly-Minted Kindergarten Teacher: “That’s a great idea! How many times should I show the attacks?”

    Grizzled Veteran Teacher: “Endlessly.”

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