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Mindset List 2016: The meaning of bra straps, blue M&Ms

August 21, 2012|By Amy Hubbard
  • Yes, her bra straps are exposed. The college freshman of 2012 would say: So what?
Yes, her bra straps are exposed. The college freshman of 2012 would say:… (Emilio Flores / For The Times…)

When Beloit College started its Mindset List in 1998, its creators could not have imagined how it would catch on.

It all started as a "witty way of saying to faculty colleagues 'watch your references,' " as the Mindset website notes. Yes, the list has its own site and the lofty, trademarked title: "The official home of the Mindset Lists of American History."

The site boasts more than a million hits a year, myriad requests and reprints in print and digital publications. There's even a book, by Mindset's Ron Nief and Tom McBride, that rounds up the wisdom of the last decade-plus in Mindset Lists.

GALLERY: Mindset List 2016

Here are some highlights from that first list published in 1998 that caught the public's imagination, addressing children born in 1980. They graduated from college in 2002:

-- They have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan era, and did not know he had ever been shot.

-- Black Monday 1987 is as significant to them as the Great Depression.

--They never had a polio shot, and likely, do not know what it is.

Now, take a look at a gallery from the list published today, highlighting the top 10 from Mindset List 2016. And, below, here are a few more from the 2016 roundup to make you think:

-- Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends.

-- Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles.

-- There have always been blue M&Ms, but no tan ones.

--They were too young to enjoy the 1994 World Series, but then no one else got to enjoy it either.

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