Friday, August 10, 2012

What Americans Will Forget In The Future

Every fall teachers file into a school theater for the first faculty meeting of the year. Every year some administrator will have surfed the web and found the Beloit List, a compilation that documents what incoming college freshmen haven't experienced. For example last year's list provided the following reminders:
Andre the Giant, River Phoenix, Frank Zappa, Arthur Ashe and the Commodore 64 have always been dead.
Their classmates could include Taylor Momsen, Angus Jones, Howard Stern's daughter Ashley, and the Dilley Sextuplets.
  1. There has always been an Internet ramp onto the information highway.
  2. Ferris Bueller and Sloane Peterson could be their parents.
  3. States and Velcro parents have always been requiring that they wear their bike helmets.
  4. The only significant labor disputes in their lifetimes have been in major league sports.
  5. There have nearly always been at least two women on the Supreme Court, and women have always commanded U.S. Navy ships.
  6. They “swipe” cards, not merchandise.
  7. As they’ve grown up on websites and cell phones, adult experts have constantly fretted about their alleged deficits of empathy and concentration.
  8. Their school’s “blackboards” have always been getting smarter.
  9. “Don’t touch that dial!”….what dial?
  10. American tax forms have always been available in Spanish.
At first, the lists were interesting. After 13 years, the list's major function seems to be documenting the fact that we're only 5 years away from an announcement that the incoming freshmen class will be the last class to have been born without a Beloit List.

There's more to life than college and we all get old. Instead of focusing on the recent past, this XKCD cartoon projects what half the country will be experientially ignorant of if the future.

I can't wait for 2043.

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