The annual “Mindset List,” released each year by Beloit College and intended to help professors avoid references their students would fail to understand, seems increasingly to be a guide to how out of touch its creators are with the students whose mindsets they purport to be describing.
This year’s list, for example, refers to All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (a book which had its cultural blip in the sun and then justly disappeared back in the Pleistocene Era, although its corn-likker faux-folksy proud dumbness annoyingly lives on), to Wayne Newton (and his mustache, the presence or absence of which is approximately as interesting to students as that of Kaiser Wilhelm’s), and to Roseanne singing the national anthem. These are sort of meta-clueless references, in that not only would today’s students not get them, most of today’s adults would wonder what’s next, a figure of speech relating to horses and buggies?
And for a document originating from a college, there’s some awfully sloppy copy-editing going on – either that, or (per the second item on the list) it’s a trend in Beloit for karaoke machines to sport diapers.
(Unrelatedly: I tend to collect phrases whose sound I like, but sometimes the meaning or image evoked by the phrase sits awkwardly next to the phrase itself. For example, this one: “Scottish erotica.” “Sloppy copy-editing” – used above – works quite well, however.)