Ed Driscoll

Meet "Generation Jones"

Orrin Judd links to an interesting article in the Denver Post about “Generation Jones“:

For the uninitiated, Generation Jones is the large, heretofore lost, generation between the baby boomers and Generation X. Born in the years 1954 to 1965, Jonesers are not a small cusp generation that slipped through the cracks but rather the largest generation in American history, constituting 26 percent of all U.S. adults today. Mistakenly, they were originally lumped in with boomers for one reason only: their parents and boomers’ parents happened to have a lot of kids.

But generational personalities come from shared formative experiences, not head counts. This original flawed definition of the baby-boom generation has become widely discredited among experts, which is partly what’s given rise to the emergence of Generation Jones, a cohort with significantly different attitudes and values than those held by its surrounding generations.

Why the name Generation Jones? Among its many connotations is that of a large anonymous generation, like a Generation Smith or Doe. But the connotation that’s perhaps most relevant for politics arises from the slang term “jones'”: a craving for someone or something. As children in the 1960s, Jonesers were given huge expectations, during, arguably, the peak of post-World War II American confidence and affluence, and then confronted, as they came of age during the mid-to-late 1970s and early 1980s with a very different reality, leaving them with a certain pending, unrequited, “jonesin”‘ quality.

As Orrin notes, this generation (which he and I are both part of), “looks to start around the earliest point where kids would not have had to decide about going to Vietnam”:

We watched the older kids make complete asses of themselves in the 60s and experienced the wreckage they’d made of the country in the 70s, then had Ronald Reagan ride in as a near savior in the 80s and enjoyed the Peace Dividend of the 90s. It hardly seems surprising that this cohort would be so attracted to the Reaganesque leadership of George W. Bush and repelled by the 60s throwback John Kerry.

Not sure if I’m crazy about the “Gen Jones” name, but I agree with the analogy.