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Who’s LBJ? Depends on your generation

by AirTalk®

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(L-R) Pope Paul VI and US President Lyndon B Johnson during a visit to New York, October 8th 1965. Newer generations now associate "LBJ" with LeBron James. Keystone/Getty Images

The class of 2021 begins its first semester of college this year. Feeling old yet? No?  

Those students may have chosen to submit a listicle in lieu of an admissions essay. They’ve never known a world without emojis. To them, Bill Clinton has always been Hillary Clinton’s supportive husband.

How about now?

In short, each generation’s perception of cultural norms is remarkably different from those who came before them.

To solve the problem of the awkward age gap, a decades-long project out of Beloit College in Wisconsin aims to build a bridge between young and *cough cough* older generations. The list breaks down the cultural realities today’s 18-year-olds are facing and facilitates conversations between generations. For one generation, the initials LBJ obviously stands for Lyndon B Johnson. But for someone else, it could very mean LeBron James.

On the show today, we ask: Do you feel like you have a responsibility to be conversant on cultural matters that are not of your generation? How much responsibility do you feel you have toward knowing about the past (or present)? And what are the benefits of understanding the differences?

Call 866-893-5722 and share your thoughts.


Tom McBride, a professor of English at Beloit College in Wisconsin and coauthor of “The Mindset List,” an annual list published by Beloit College aimed to improve cultural literacy between generations.

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