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The Class of 2011

Thanks to Carla Beard, The Web English Teacher for drawing my attention to this list of things we need to remember about the mindset of students entering college with year.

The majority of our first year students were born in 1989 (and if that doesn't make you feel old...). For them, the world has certain realities. I was particularly struck by a few:

  • What Berlin Wall?

  • They have never "rolled down" a car window

  • Nelson Mandela has always been free

  • Fava beans have always been a pop culture reference

  • U2 has always been more than a spy plane. (shows you how long they've been going!

  • Tiananmen Square is associated with an Olympics venue, not the scene of a massacre

  • Check out the whole list - it provides quite a bit of food for thought, and reminds us teachers to be careful about our cultural references. They might not be as "obvious" as we thought!

    Crossposted at RealToads (yes, yet another blog)


    ( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
    Sep. 4th, 2007 10:06 am (UTC)
    I don't know a pop culture reference for fava beans, but on the other hand, I didn't know U2 was a spy plane. (I know other meanings for it than the band, though.)
    Sep. 4th, 2007 10:21 am (UTC)
    "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti" Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs

    And I didn't know U2 had other meanings besides the spy plane and the band!
    Sep. 4th, 2007 10:23 am (UTC)
    "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti"

    As parodied by The Two Ronnies, "Porno and Bribeasy of the Yard" - something along the lines of -

    "Ugh, that's disgusting, Sarge. you don't want to drink Chianti with liver, you want something much lighter."
    Sep. 4th, 2007 10:27 am (UTC)
    Not only have I not seen any of the Hannibal Lecter movies, nor read the books, I've managed to miss all references to fava beans in that context as well. (Or rather, if I saw them, was not tuned in enough to enquire further.)

    U-bahn 2 (abbreviated U2) is a subway line in Berlin (and various other German-speaking places).
    Sep. 4th, 2007 10:21 am (UTC)
    The U2 was a high-altitude American spy plane of the early Cold War (okay, and the late Cold War - it was a very resilient design). Gary Powers was shot down in one by the Soviet Union.

    The fava beans come from "Silence of the Lambs" - Hannibal Lecter ate them.
    Sep. 4th, 2007 10:25 am (UTC)
    Thank you!
    Sep. 4th, 2007 10:44 am (UTC)
    Can anyone explain some of these to an ignorant Brit?
    Sep. 4th, 2007 11:07 am (UTC)
    Most of those are too American for me, too, but here's the ones I know

    10: Pete Rose was a very famous baseball player (I think he played for the Dodgers) who got struck off for gambling (I think)

    38: Lisa Bonet was a well known television personality in the 80's. The others were/are also celebrities, perhaps better known in the past than now, whose kids are now old enough to got to school.

    41: obviously the Blue Man Group are not "everywhere" :) They are a somewhat surreal group of musicians/performance artist (?) known probably better for appearing in tv commercials than their "real" act. They always appear covered in blue paint.

    58: Jon Stewart does "The Daily Show" (I think) - late night TV

    Sep. 4th, 2007 11:12 am (UTC)
    Thanks for that. I had heard of a couple of the celebs in 38, but not got the point that they now had kids of school age.

    There were a few others that I hadn't really heard of (eg Illinois banning smoking), but could get from context.
    Sep. 4th, 2007 11:57 am (UTC)
    3 - Rush Limbaugh is one of the iconic lambasters of liberals in the US and has been for years. Radio show host.

    21 - There used to be an airline called Eastern Airlines. There isn't any more. In fact, when it went under or was bought out, it did it when I was too young to really be paying attention to the news, and I'm a good 13 or so years older than the students being described.

    26 - Katie Couric is a t.v. show host or news presenter. T.V. person anyways.
    Sep. 4th, 2007 12:03 pm (UTC)
    Thanks for those.
    Sep. 4th, 2007 02:37 pm (UTC)
    Rush Limbaugh also abuses prescription pain medication but says things like "all druggies should be shot", and comments unfavorably on the military career or lack of it in liberal officeholders and candidates, while he himself avoided military service in Vietnam by claiming that he had an anal cyst.

    18. The NBA is the basketball pro association and they have extended the season by quite a lot. It used to be shorter.

    25. Wolf Blitzer is an annoying CNN liar who used to work for the Jerusalem Post.

    28. MagiCans were these cans filled with distilled water that had a mechanism in them that popped a prize notification up when you popped the top of the can. Sometimes the mechanism failed and people drank the distilled water instead and were very angry.

    I believe that 64 is talking about the difference between Cesar Chavez, who worked for immigrant worker rights in America (I live a few miles from Avenida Cesar Chavez), and Hugo Chavez.
    Sep. 4th, 2007 05:33 pm (UTC)
    Thanks for those.
    Sep. 4th, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
    Rush Limbaugh -- conservative talk-radio host who coined the word feminazi and claims that torture in Abu Ghraib was equivalent to fraternity hazing.

    Keating Five -- bribe-takers in a Congressional scandal.

    Pete Rose played for the Phillies and the Reds. And the Expos for a little while.Then he was a manager but was thrown out ofbaseball for betting on the game.

    NBA = basketball.

    Eastern Airlines went out of business in 1991.

    Wolf Blitzer and Katie Couric are American reporters; she's an anchorwoman.

    The MagiCan was a Coke promotion.

    They have no idea who Rusty Jones was or why he said “goodbye to rusty cars.” My guess is that it was a TV af campaign.

    The late Cesar Chavez organized the migrant farmworkers in a long and bitter strike, during which many of us didn't eat grapes or lettuce. He is a labor hero, so his work is not often taught in schools. The other Chavez is president of Venezuela.
    Sep. 4th, 2007 05:34 pm (UTC)
    Thanks for those.
    Sep. 4th, 2007 02:41 pm (UTC)
    I have a hard time imagining that there are very many people who have never rolled down a car window! Why, I rolled down a car window just this past weekend, driving in my in-laws' car, which is by no means especially old. I was mildly surprised by having to do it, but nevertheless I did! None of my dad's cars until his most recent (bought maybe 3-4 years ago) have had power windows either - he tends to be, er, frugal in such matters ;)
    ( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


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