Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Hey, wanna feel old? No? Chances are if you read this blog, you're no spring chicken! Wanna understand why whippersnappers these days look at you as if you're speaking a foreign language when you're only talking about things every one should know?

Well, check the following out. Each year at Beloit College, a list is prepared for the staff and faculty alerting them to the life experiences of the in-coming class. This list is a sort of Rosetta Stone enabling geezers to understand the pups. Armed with that knowledge the old-timers can gently and effectively ease topics into discussions allowing the students to catch up.

I've printed this list out for study at work. Today I used the word "hip" to describe something and was greeted with chuckles from my youthful staff. The word is "hot" I was informed. I kept my mouth shut. I didn't want to be corrected any more.

The interesting thing is I'm embarassed by my ignorance, but they never are. I had one staffer – now gone – who would look at me and say "whatever" in response to being informed or corrected on something.

They better watch out – one day they'll be the geezer!


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.

What Berlin wall?

Humvees, minus the artillery, have always been available to the public.

Rush Limbaugh and the “Dittoheads” have always been lambasting liberals.

They never “rolled down” a car window.

Michael Moore has always been angry and funny.

They may confuse the Keating Five with a rock group.

They have grown up with bottled water.

General Motors has always been working on an electric car.

Nelson Mandela has always been free and a force in South Africa.

Pete Rose has never played baseball.

Rap music has always been mainstream.

Religious leaders have always been telling politicians what to do, or else!

“Off the hook” has never had anything to do with a telephone.

Music has always been “unplugged.”

Russia has always had a multi-party political system.

Women have always been police chiefs in major cities.

They were born the year Harvard Law Review Editor Barack Obama announced he might run for office some day.

The NBA season has always gone on and on and on and on.

Classmates could include Michelle Wie, Jordin Sparks, and Bart Simpson.

Half of them may have been members of the Baby-sitters Club.

Eastern Airlines has never “earned their wings” in their lifetime.

No one has ever been able to sit down comfortably to a meal of “liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”

Wal-Mart has always been a larger retailer than Sears and has always employed more workers than GM.

Being “lame” has to do with being dumb or inarticulate, not disabled.

Wolf Blitzer has always been serving up the news on CNN.

Katie Couric has always had screen cred.

Al Gore has always been running for president or thinking about it.

They never found a prize in a Coca-Cola “MagiCan.”

They were too young to understand Judas Priest’s subliminal messages.

When all else fails, the Prozac defense has always been a possibility.

Multigrain chips have always provided healthful junk food.

They grew up in Wayne’s World.

U2 has always been more than a spy plane.

They were introduced to Jack Nicholson as “The Joker.”

Stadiums, rock tours and sporting events have always had corporate names.

American rock groups have always appeared in Moscow.

Commercial product placements have been the norm in films and on TV.

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.

Fox has always been a major network.

They drove their parents crazy with the Beavis and Butt-Head laugh.

The “Blue Man Group” has always been everywhere.

Women’s studies majors have always been offered on campus.

Being a latchkey kid has never been a big deal.

Thanks to MySpace and Facebook, autobiography can happen in real time.

They learned about JFK from Oliver Stone and Malcolm X from Spike Lee.

Most phone calls have never been private.

High definition television has always been available.

Microbreweries have always been ubiquitous.

Virtual reality has always been available when the real thing failed.

Smoking has never been allowed in public spaces in France.

China has always been more interested in making money than in reeducation.

Time has always worked with Warner.

Tiananmen Square is a 2008 Olympics venue, not the scene of a massacre.

The purchase of ivory has always been banned.

MTV has never featured music videos.

The space program has never really caught their attention except in disasters.

Jerry Springer has always been lowering the level of discourse on TV.

They get much more information from Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert than from the newspaper.

They’re always texting 1 n other.

They will encounter roughly equal numbers of female and male professors in the classroom.

They never saw Johnny Carson live on television.

They have no idea who Rusty Jones was or why he said “goodbye to rusty cars.”

Avatars have nothing to do with Hindu deities.

Chavez has nothing to do with iceberg lettuce and everything to do with oil.

Illinois has been trying to ban smoking since the year they were born.

The World Wide Web has been an online tool since they were born.

Chronic fatigue syndrome has always been debilitating and controversial.

Burma has always been Myanmar.

Dilbert has always been ridiculing cubicle culture.

Food packaging has always included nutritional labeling.


Mark Martin said...

Wow! Some of the "facts" in that thing... Planet Academia!

Mike Dobbs said...

They are in college, Mark.

Mark Martin said...

I understand that. I'm talking about facts like "Michael Moore has always been angry and funny."

Geez, if I hafta splain it!

Mike Dobbs said...

Well we do have this communication problem.

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