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Today's college freshmen were born in 1996, and you are old

Today's college freshmen don't remember cameras or videocameras that looked like this, or Bill Clinton's reelection campaign.
Today's college freshmen don't remember cameras or videocameras that looked like this, or Bill Clinton's reelection campaign.
Shutterstock

Many college freshmen this year were born in 1996. Yes, that should make you feel very old — and Beloit College has a long list to prove it:

  • During their initial weeks of kindergarten, they were upset by endlessly repeated images of planes blasting into the World Trade Center.
  • FOX News and MSNBC have always been duking it out for the hearts and minds of American viewers.
  • Hello Dolly...cloning has always been a fact, not science fiction.
  • Two-term presidents are routine, but none of them ever won in a landslide.

The list more or less boils down to "they don't remember the 1990s." It's a mashup of historically significant events ("Hong Kong has always been a part of China"), cultural references ("Joe Camel has never introduced one of them to smoking"), random trivia ("The family has always been able to buy insurance at local banks" — what?), and facts that will make you feel geriatric (" 'Salon' has always been an online magazine" — yes, there are websites the same age as adults who can vote).

The listmakers, as always, assume 18-year-olds are unaware of the concept of history, and are incapable of grasping the idea that things happened before they were born and life hasn't always been exactly the way it is today. They also seem to believe in remarkable cultural awareness from today's adults, who are all presumably spared the fate of having "no memory of George Stephanopoulos as a senior White House advisor."

Here are some other facts the list could have included, but sadly did not:

  • Today's college freshmen were born while everyone was doing the Macarena.
  • They were born while Bill Clinton was running for re-election.
  • They don't know what a Tamagotchi is.
  • They were actual babies when people were collecting Beanie Babies.

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