Beloit College seems like a fine enough place. It looks like the same sort of tiny, possibly pretentious, liberal arts place I went to undergrad, and even shows up in the same bok that duped all of our non-Pittsburgh area students into living in Meadville for four years. There's probably even some weird Wisconsinite version of the Penny Bar, though probably with fewer national monument replicas made of pennies and more, I don't know. Packers, I guess.
Every year, Beloit publishes The Mindset List, which ostensibly exists to help faculty realize how dated the references are using are, but which has the side effect of making me feel like a bitter old man who hates everything.
Some excerpts, all with the obvious implication that you get the hell off my lawn.
1. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.
This is something I am absolutely fine with. I can't remember the last time I wrote in proper cursive. My printing is just this side of legible, and adding flourishes and connecting everything isn't helping.
2. Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.
That's fine, and all, and I'll grant that waiting for them to check their email isn't as quick as texting them, but I just felt like I should get on the record that the phrase "snail mail" needs to die. Paper mail is trying as hard as it can, damn it. Plus, there's the problem of having to constantly escalate, if the problem is that email is now too slow.
7. “Caramel macchiato” and “venti half-caf vanilla latte” have always been street corner lingo.
I still have no idea what I'm doing in regards to non-diner coffee, but that's my failing, not the Class of 2014's. I don't think it's even a refusal to learn new things. I think it's just my social neuroses that make me prefer ordering a coffee by flipping over a mug.
9. Had it remained operational, the villainous computer HAL could be their college classmate this fall, but they have a better chance of running into Miley Cyrus’s folks on Parents’ Weekend.
Would they really? Is Miley Cyrus going to Beloit? Are the Cyruses from rural Wisconsin? Why would HAL 9000 be attending a small liberal arts college anyway? What would his presence do to the college's life support systems? Who would HAL 9000 have brought to Parents' Weekend? There are so many questions.
10. A quarter of the class has at least one immigrant parent, and the immigration debate is not a big priority…unless it involves “real” aliens from another planet.
I was with you up until here, Mindset List. I'm a supporter of successive generations getting more progressive, but I think it's a bit presumptuous to assume that the class of 2014 reserves debate for extraterrestrials. I'll concede that they're young, and that I'm old, but that's it. They're from 1992, not the goddamn future.
38. Bud Selig has always been the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.
I sort of want this to be literally true. An immortal Bud Selig has been adopting new personae for centuries until he wound up as Kennesaw Mountain Landis, and he's just been staying in the same job for decades by changing his appearance every once in a while. Commissioner Who.
If Christopher Eccleston somehow manages to become the Commisioner, I shall be vindicated.
46. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.
Now hold on one goddamn minute. This is nonsense. This is... what the hell is this? The hell they are. If I flew back to Pittsburgh and put on 3WS, entirely because I don't know the Chicago classic rock station and refuse to learn, I will not hear "Polly". I will hear Rod Stewart and that is the way things should be. I accepted Roseanne and Fresh Prince on Nick-at-Nite, but this "Nirvana on the Oldies" station bullshit will not stand.
59. By the time their folks might have noticed Coca Cola’s new Tab Clear, it was gone.
Is this youth-dependent? I didn't notice Tab Clear. I have a vague recollection of Crystal Pepsi, but only because they were handing it out outside of Three Rivers one day, but I was nine, so they didn't give me any.
70. The artist formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg has always been rapping.
I'm not sure that's specific to the class of 2014. Snoop has always been rapping. He exists outside of the conventional timestream of we mere mortals.
74. They've always been able to blast off with the Sci-Fi (SYFY) Channel.
This isn't Beloit's fault, but no one will ever "blast off" with the SyFy channel. People will stay planted firmly in reality and will take up sensible hobbies until the spelling is made less ridiculous. I'll call it the Willis Tower before I accept that there's a "SyFy" channel.