With the promise of summer giving way to the slow death of fall, it’s time for our nation’s students to put away their Pogs and Hacky Sacks and prepare for another grueling school year. And for Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin, it’s time to make everyone else feel horribly, horribly old by releasing its annual “Mindset List,” a collection of 75 frightening fun facts that offer a glimpse into the minds and shared cultural experiences of incoming college freshmen. At the top of this year’s list is the unnerving fact that for the class of 2016 (who were born in—shiver—1994), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon, John Wayne Gacy, and Kurt Cobain have always been dead. Other tidbits are equally eye-opening/depressing:
• Bill Clinton is a senior statesman of whose presidency they have little knowledge.
• There has always been a World Trade Organization.
• They know many established film stars by their voices on computer-animated blockbusters.
• Lou Gehrig’s record for most consecutive baseball games played has never stood in their lifetimes.
Of course, many of the entries are decidedly less serious (“The folks have always been able to grab an Aleve when the kids started giving them a migraine,”) while others contain some bizarre editorializing. “They have lived in an era of instant stardom and self-proclaimed celebrities, famous for being famous,” seems kind of broad, and “Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends,” seems kind of creepy. But maybe the most shocking bit of trivia containted in the list is number 37: “Martin Lawrence has always been banned from hosting Saturday Night Live.” Truly a watershed moment that all past and future generations will be judged against.
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