This year’s college class was born when Bill Clinton was President of the United States and now Hillary Clinton is running for President! Donald Trump was around back then too! You have to imagine that the Beloit Mindset List is going to go nuts about that.
Judging by stuff the BML gang posts on their Facebook page and the table of contents of their new book, we should also expect lecturing on topics like “Millennials face a growing isolation of ideas and opinions” and “for Millennials the rise of women in positions of leadership has always been ‘normal.’” The blue dress and the death of Florence Griffith Joyner should be there. Maybe Tom McBride’s new roman à clef—about two professors at “Veloit College”—will somehow make an appearance.
Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List and, sadly, we expect another one soon. Our Beloit Mindlessness List is created using the same method: Without any assistance from or knowledge about anyone in the Class of 2020, we wrote a list about a bunch of things that happened roughly 18 years ago with some additional items based on lazy stereotypes and trivia of interest to us. Nobody checked it for accuracy or comprehensibility.
The Beloit Mindlessness List for the Class of 2020
For this generation of entering college students, born in 1998, Henny Youngman, Frank Sinatra and Seinfeld have never existed. In fact, the universe might as well have gotten underway in 1997. These freshman are unable to conceive of anything occurring before they were born.
1. They should look around their freshman orientation for the McCaughey septuplets, the Chukwu octuplets and Prince Constantine Alexios of Greece and Denmark.
2. They’ve never used a mouldboard plough.
3. Bill Clinton has always not been having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky.
4. Their crib ran on Windows 98.
5. In high school they divided themselves into hipsters, goths, and bronies, not hippies, flappers, and homesteaders.
6. Their parents read them the board book version of The Starr Report.
7. Home run record asterisk has always referred to steroids, not “162 game season.”
8. Sonny Bono is the namesake of the Copyright Term Extension Act. Cher is a singer whose voice needs auto-tuning. What is “I Got You Babe”?
9. They’ve grown up with SpongeBob SquarePants, not Fibber McGee and Molly.
10. Michael Jordon has always been a Washington Wizard. Who are the Chicago Bulls?
11. The 1998 Klang Valley water crisis, the Malaysia–Singapore Second Link, and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport have always been things (Malaysian students only; these things don’t exist for American students).
12. Remember that crazy thing that happened to you when you were in high school back in the 1980s? If you use that as a classroom example, be sure to provide some context for the class of 1998, none of whom were there when it went down.
13. They’ve been catching Pokémon their whole life, but they’ve never had photosensitive epileptic seizures (or ポケモンショック) doing it.
14. They’ve always been thinking “different” and “outside the bun.”
15. Razors have always had three blades, never two or one.
16. They’ve always been listening to mp3s, never phonograph cylinders.
17. They’ve never spoken Mlaḥsô or Bijil Neo-Aramaic.
18. They have completely different memories than you do.
19. The Baltimore Ravens have always played in Ravens Stadium at Camden Yards/PSINet Stadium/M&T Bank Stadium. What’s Memorial Stadium?
20. They’ve never had to worry about whether to have Jack Kevorkian help end their lives.
21. Tinder is an online dating app, not flammable material used for lighting a fire.
— Aug. 14, 2016