As I was driving home after last week’s class, I spent a lot of the drive (2 hours) thinking about our discussion of the Beloit Mindset List. (I also spent a few brief moments of semi-terror dodging deer, ‘possums, and skunks, but that’s another story.) One of my main conclusions was a point that was made in class, which was that the List Keepers could cut out a lot of the trivia – pop culture – and have a better list. According to the Beloit College Mindset website: “The Mindset List was created at BeloitCollege in 1998 to reflect the world view of entering first year students.” So, an obvious question is: Do the colors of M&M’s reflect this world view?
Another thought that I had concerned truly earth-shaking events that can shape a generation’s mindset. And here I have to warn you – I happen to be a time traveler from a world that is way in the past and long gone. I can barely remember, as a pre-schooler, President Harry Truman!
And, therefore, I can certainly remember JFK. The point I want to make ties into another comment made in class. Yes, you can study history and learn about some of the events that have shaped generations; but reading about these events can’t convey the emotions that the individuals experienced that lived through the events. And those experienced emotions shape a person in a way that reading can’t. Everybody over the age of 4 in 1963 remembers exactly where they were when they heard the news that JFK was dead because it was THAT incomprehensible, shocking, scary, etc. Raw emotions. A generation later, who remembers where they were when they read about it? For me, the same thing applies to the assassination of President McKinley in, I’ve read, 1901. I’ve read that people of that era were similarly shocked, but it doesn’t shock me.
Think of the people of the next generation reading about 9/11. 9/11 what?