I am not a fan of articles like this, which tell us what the incoming freshmen have never known. Not because it makes me feel old; I never feel old. But it’s intended to SHOCK us with the changes that have swept the world since we were in short pants, such as “today’s incoming freshmen have no idea what the phrase ‘since we were in short pants’” means. This list is particularly thin.
They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.
Really? We have a phone with a curly cord, and it’s not because I’m some traditionalist who thinks them wireless phones give you roomytism or upsets the chickens. I just like having a corded phone in case the power goes out. My daughter, who’s ten, will grow up having twisted the wire. Whether with purpose or aimlessly remains to be seen.
They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.
Perhaps; people don’t wear watches as much as they used to. Cellphones have taken the place of watches, which is a step backwards - you have to take it out like a pocket watch, without any of the old-timey satisfaction of looking like a fellow who hears the train whistle, checks his timepiece, and thinks right on schedule.
E-mail is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.
This is probably true; in the future, email will be the exclusive domain of grandparents sending around funny stories and urban myths.
“Caramel macchiato” and “venti half-cafvanilla latte” have always been street corner lingo.
Street corner lingo? Que pasa, man? Sup? What’s crackalackin’ in this gangsta hood? Oh, you know, ain’t nothing going on but the rent and the venti half-cafvanilla latte. I hear that.
John McEnroe has never played professional tennis.
They have no idea who he is, nor do they care, nor do most people.
Had it remained operational, the villainous computer HAL could be their college classmate this fall, but they have a better chance of running into Miley Cyrus’s folks on Parents’ Weekend.
The movie said he was switched on in 1992, which would make him 18, but even if he was still activated - and hadn’t been destroyed in 2010, as per the movie, after Dr. Chandra assured him he would (sniff) indeed dream - it is unlikely he would have been someone’s college classmate, being a computer in space.
They first met Michelangelo when he was just a computer virus.
Doubtful. They saw the picture on the Sistine Chapel ceiling first, if only as a parody of something else.
And so on. Previous lists have been a bit more jarring; this one seems to suggest the paucity of change over the last few years. What really annoys, in a small sense, is the idea that the kids have no idea of what came before them. Ten year olds, perhaps, but by the time you’re 18 you should have an inkling that there was actually a vast and vibrant culture that preceded the anointing of the globe with your generation. Perhaps I was an odd kid, but I was fascinated with the past when I was young - the 20 and the 40s, mostly. If you watched cartoons, you watched Bugs Bunny, which was saturated with contemporary references to 40s culture. If you wanted 50s nostalgia, there was “Happy Days,” which at least acknowledged the existence of civilization in the misty distant past.
So: kids today may have no experience with these things, which is what the list suggests, but that’s different from being unaware of them. Not to say it’s all good: the notion of discrete eras has been eroded by the remix culture, which regards everything as ingredients to be reassembled into something that will be a meme for 11 days. Kids today seem as likely to know what something is a reference to as much as what it means in the first place. In the future I’ll bet the former grows at the expense of the latter.
Take a look at the list, and add your own ideas about what you didn't know when you were coming up. For late-late boomers like me, it can be summed up thus: we didn't know that life used to be really, really hard.