Here in the South, school’s about to start. Up North, classes won’t begin until after Labor Day, but students in some Southern districts go back as early as Aug. 1, meaning, I suppose, that our students will be about a month smarter than your students, so we’ve got that going for us.
Anyway, if it’s almost time for school to start, it’s almost time for Beloit College to release its annual Mindset List for this year’s incoming freshman class, the Class of 2016.
I love the Mindset List. It’s a pop culture checklist to remind professors who they’re dealing with. Last year’s list, for example, pointed out that as far as the Class of 2015 was concerned, there has always been an Internet and U.S. tax forms have always been available in Spanish. (I think Beloit’s Mindset List also helps remind professors that they’re getting old.)
What got me thinking about all this was a story I read a couple days ago about record sales. It said old albums are outselling new ones, and I wondered if that’s a generational thing, because my 12-year-old never buys albums. She gets songs on iTunes, and that got me thinking about everything else teens and tweens don’t do that my generation did.
So, No. 1 on the list: Buy an album just to get a single. During the CD era, labels didn’t release a lot of singles. If you liked a song, you bought the album. If the rest of the album sucked, you dubbed it onto cassette and traded it in.
No. 2: Trade in their old CDs. I have no data to back this up, so this is purely anecdotal, but back in the ’90s, it was pretty easy to find new CDs at the used record store. When I swing by used record stores now, it’s mostly crappy music from the ’80s and ’90s. Part of the problem, of course, is that you can’t sell old downloads.
No. 3: Sit by the radio to record their favorite songs on cassette.
No. 4: Record anything on cassette.
No. 5: Sound like a broken record. They don’t know records. Sales of vinyl albums, EPs and singles sales hit 6 million in 2011. CD sales, though, topped 242 million, while legal downloads of albums and individual songs topped 1.4 billion.
No. 6: Use a typewriter.
No. 7: Use a film camera.
No. 8. Use any kind of camera. That’s what smartphones are for.
No. 9: Dial up the Internet.
No. 10: Look forward to hearing, “You’ve got mail!” That was an AOL thing. AOL is still around, but only about 1% of people use it for email,which is about 1% more than I would have guessed.
No. 11: Use email, period. They text.
No. 12: Pick out Mayor McCheese from a lineup. Long story (involving a bunch of lawyers and H.R. Pufnstuf), but the mayor of McDonaldland was recalled in the mid-’80s.
No. 13: Play lawn darts.
No. 14. Get a free pizza from Domino’s. It’s been 19 years since Domino’s dropped its 30-minutes-or-it’s-free guarantee because of the “public perception of reckless driving and irresponsibility.”
No. 15: Stay up late to watch some random B-movie on the late show. As far as the Class of 2016 knows, late night isn’t for cheesy movies. It’s for talk shows, news shows, sportscenters, “Seinfeld” reruns and infomercials or streaming shows on Netflix.
No. 16: Stay up late enough to watch a TV station sign off, because TV stations don’t do that anymore.
No. 17: Use an actual “clicker.” Hey, kids, back in the day, remote controls were mechanical devices that clicked! The loud clicking sound is what turned on the TV and changed the channel. If you couldn’t reach the clicker, you could just jiggle your dad’s car keys.
If you think of anything else the Class of 2016 hasn’t done, won’t do or can’t remember, let me know.