Monday, August 29, 2011


"You used to listen to tapes on this thing?"

Just in case you don't feel old this morning, think about this: the internet as we now know it is older than college freshmen starting this year. Every year Beloit College puts out their list of things incoming freshmen aren't familiar with, and this year's list includes:
  • The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.
  • Major League Baseball has never had fewer than three divisions and never lacked a wild card entry in the playoffs.
  • There have nearly always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded U.S. Navy
  • American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.
  • Women have always been kissing women on television.
  • Video games have always had ratings.
  • Refugees and prisoners have always been housed by the U.S. government at Guantanamo.
  • They’ve always wanted to be like Shaq or Kobe: Michael Who?
  • Sears has never sold anything out of a Big Book that could also serve as a doorstop.
Here's something to consider: the war on terror officially started in 2001; an incoming Freshman was 8 when 9/11 happened. Kurt Cobain died before they were born, a figure like Buddy Holly to them. Desert Storm is a prehistoric event, in the distant past. America has pretty much always been in Iraq to these kids. There have always been cell phones the size of a deck of cards. They think Seinfeld is old and has only ever existed in reruns. To them, TLC is like the Supremes, an old group. Gangsta's Paradise is old school rap to these kids. MTV has never been a music video channel to them. You could always get songs off ITunes.

As I get older, its tougher for me to keep that perspective in mind. But it does help me place things into better perspective. When I was born in 1965, WW2 had ended 20 years earlier. For some kid born today, that's like Desert Storm to them. For a college freshman, that's like the Vietnam War - its ancient history.

And here's the most significant thing in my mind: Music went from Swing to psychadelic by the time I was barely out of diapers. For them it went from... well it really hasn't changed much, other than adding autotune into most songs. And that's really sad.

1 comment:

Rob De Witt said...

Imagine being 20 years older....