Beloit College’s annual list of Cultural References for 18-Year-Olds isn’t nearly as amusing as it used to be, for some reason. Partly, I think, the list itself is rather dated, with many of the things referenced seeming outdated even from my more-than-twice-18 perspective. Or, just stupid:

1. Ricky Nelson, Richard Burton, Samantha Smith, Laura Ashley, Orson Welles, Karen Ann Quinlan, Benigno Aquino, and the U.S. Football League have always been dead.

With the exception of the USFL, they have always been irrelevant even to me.

7. Bert and Ernie are old enough to be their parents.

Except that they’re PUPPETS.

14. The United States has always had a poet laureate.

We have a poet laureate?

22. They have never gotten excited over a telegram, a long distance call or a fax.

Me neither.

47. Rock ‘n’ roll has always been a force for social good.

How so?

Scott Ott’s list is better:

— The childhood tackling game “smear the queer” is a hate crime.
— The Second World War was directed by Steven Spielberg and starred Tom Hanks.
— The great political minds of this generation include Sean Penn, Johnny Depp, Barbra Streisand, George Clooney and Janeane Garafalo.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steven says:

    Scott’s list is clearly better.

  2. John Lemon says:

    Bert and Ernie are puppets? Who knew?!

  3. John Lemon says:

    And as for rock ‘n roll being a consistent force for social good, I must concur. Just look at Sid Viscious.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Of course Scott wouldn’t mention Ahnuld, now would he?