At least once during the summer we have Laura’s research group over for dinner and a movie. Since Laura is doing a collaborative project with one of her colleagues, this year the group has doubled. We grilled burgers and let the kids select a movie from our DVD collection.
Each year Beloit College presents it’s Mindset List, which supposedly points out what the incoming Freshman class doesn’t know, or hasn’t been exposed to. I’ve commented on this before. This evening, the Mindset List was really driven home, and by the end of it Laura and I felt really old.
First, there were several references to popular culture over dinner that went right over the kids heads. Granted, we have two foreign students this year, but the rest of them should have had some clue. One of the kids spotted Mystery Science 3000 in our collection, and wanted to see one of the shorts in it. First, he was the only one who knew about MST3K. Secondly, these were made in the mid-90s, and most of its cultural references were from earlier. Most of the kids didn’t get any of the jokes, such as references to Bill Shatner, etc.
The feature attraction for the evening was "Night at the Museum" with Ben Stiller. The most disheartening thing was that many of the kids had no clue who Dick Van Dyke was. I’m afraid it’s only going to get worse each year.