Has The Pace of Change Slowed?

The new annual Beloit College Mindset list is out. You know, the list that indicates that this crop of college students is so young that they never drove a rear wheel car or never dialed a phone but always punched numbers, that sort of thing.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the things on this year’s list are kind of trivial changes, aren’t they?

66. Galileo is forgiven and welcome back into the Roman Catholic Church.

67. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has always sat on the Supreme Court.

68. They have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.

69. The Post Office has always been going broke.

70. The artist formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg has always been rapping.

And so on.

Maybe it’s that Beloit College is now compelled by the list’s notoriety to put something out every year, but the kids don’t know how to write in cursive? Lands’ sakes (a saying kids these days don’t use), but I was taught cursive in elementary school, but one could argue that I don’t know how to write in cursive.

I think it says something about the flattening of our culture in the last couple of decades and perhaps how technology changes in since the middle of the 1990s haven’t been so revolutionary. We’ve had the Internet popularly and the Web mostly through that span, and no matter how fanboys spin it, the iPod is really just a souped up Walkman. A change in degree, but not a revolution.

Do you think in fifteen years these lists will be meaningful, or just silly? Or, worse, do you think these things will be in poor taste if most of the changes are bad (This year’s freshmen have never eaten ice cream since the FDA added it to the banned foods list.).

4 thoughts on “Has The Pace of Change Slowed?

  1. Also, it’s kind of mundane. But let’s face it, the revolutions have stopped for the time being. Everything is just an incremental or trivial change once you get past the rise of the Web.

    You get the rise of blogs and social networks, but really that’s evolutionary. Smart phones and iPhones and whatnot are really just amalgams of cell phones and the Web.

    Driverless cars might be something. Sometime.

  2. I wouldn’t go that far. The iPhone and similar devices mean that the Internet is with you everywhere. You no longer have to be hooked up to a desk to watch pirated episodes of Cleopatra 2525. The future is one in which people are connected from the moment they wake up until they go asleep. That’s not as revolutionary a change as the Internet, but it’s a major change in lifestyle.

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