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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hooking Up Means What? Ask a College Kid.

Where were you when Kennedy died? Which one? If you're a boomer, you'll undoubtedly recall precisely where you were and what you were doing that terrible day in November, 1963 when you heard the unbelievable news that President John F. Kennedy had been asassinated. The killing of Robert F. Kennedy on June 6, 1968 will likely instill personal memories for Boomers and members of Generation Jones. But what about the death of young John F. Kennedy Jr. in a plane crash in July, 1999?  Do Boomers have the same deep rooted feelings and sentimental memories of his untimely death as say Generation Xers would?  Now consider the recent passing of Senator Edward Kennedy. Five years from now what generational group will remember exactly where they were when Teddy died?

It's fascinating how different generations conjure up drastically diverse experiences and concepts for the same word or idea. Over time, words and phrases take on totally new meanings. The incoming crop of 2009 college freshmen might  identify JFK as a rap artist or an airport in New York. These kids have no personal reference for JFK, the President of the United States. They may recognize Ted Kennedy, the elder statesman but have they ever heard of Chappaquidick?  When boomers think of text, we generally think of it as a noun defined as words in a textbook. For today's young people, texting is a short-cut means of communication via cell phone. Ever talk about hooking up with pals---your intention being an innocent get-together for lunch? Be forewarned that the younger generation consider the term hooking up to be a casual sexual encounter. We used to call it a date.

For the last 12 years, Beloit College in Wisconsin, has released its annual Mindset List. The list has become an unscientific but popular teaching tool to illustrate the cultural subjectivities of different generations. The list often humorously demonstrates how new freshmen view their world and what experiences have shaped their lives thus far. Today's class of 2013 was born in 1991. They are known as Generation Y or the Millenials. Below is a sampling of the cultural touchstones from the perspective of the Millenial generation compiled by Beloit College's Mindset List: 
1. The Green Giant has always been Shrek; not a big guy in green tights picking vegetables.
2. Millenial kids have never used a card catalog to find books in a library.
3. Salsa has always outsold ketchup.
4. Tats (tatoos) have always been hip, chic and highly visible; not something   sailors used to get on shore leave...among other things.
5. Rap music has always been main stream for them.
6. They've always been able to charge a latte on their cell phone.
7. Bungee jumping has always been socially acceptable.
8. They don't know what R.S.V.P. means.
9. There has always been a Cartoon Network.
10.They never knew life before flat screen TV.
11. They wonder who Bob Dylan is.
12. There has always been a MacDonalds and a Planet Hollywood.
13. There's always been a computer in the Oval Office and in the home office.
14. They've not known life without blue jello.
15. Women have always outnumbered men in college.
16. They have no clue as to the meaning of Heeeeere's Johnny!

The purpose of the list is to remind professors that references familiar to them might not be shared by today's college students. Beloit College insists the Mindset List is not meant to make older folks feel even more ancient. Maybe so, but just keep in mind the next time you're thinking about hooking up with friends for potluck dinner, bring a salad and a condom.

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Sarah said...

LOL! love your last sentence.
#10 really??

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