February 23, 2023

“Disco, not hippies: Generation Jones says it has little in common with Baby Boomers…Generation Jones is a term social commentators affix to younger, tail-end Boomers — people who came of age in the disco-, punk-, and Watergate-obsessed 1970s, not the hippie-spawning; Vietnam War-protesting; sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll 1960s. Jonsers resent being lumped in with flower-power Boomers. They believe they share few traits and cultural touchstones with a noisy cohort that overshadowed them…The Generation Jones folks arrived between 1954 and 1964 (some say 1965), and are around 59 to 69 years old. The group includes Madonna, Magic Johnson, Bill Gates, Princess Diana, and Barack Obama, who once declared himself “the first Generation Jones president.”

While many Jonesers have achieved financial success, analysts say, a large proportion has been harmed by an economy that changed dramatically as they came of age, eventually bypassing them altogether. Feeling forsaken, some stew in a culture of grievance that’s helped splinter America into warring tribes. Beyond that, as Jonesers begin to retire, many face financial uncertainty their older brethren never did… As it aged, Generation Jones changed Boomer politics along with the music. They proved to be more Republican and conservative than older Boomers, and are said to have helped elect George W. Bush and Donald Trump. Despite that, political analysts say, many Jonesers are swing voters vigorously courted by both parties…When Generation Jones members came of age in the 1970s, said Temple University professor Bryant Simon, “the political urgency of the 1960s, and the sense of unity, were gone.” The era’s galvanizing cause — the Vietnam War — was over, and the later Boomers, who had neither fought nor protested it, began a new age dubbed the “Me Decade.” It was marked by narcissism and lack of social concern, according to writer Tom Wolfe. This was, of course, the generation that spawned yuppies in the 1980s… Generation Jones graduated high school and college into the 1970s-’80s economy marked by high unemployment, wage stagnation, weakening unions, and a changeover from manufacturing to a service economy….A “white fragility” has developed among them that’s fostered anger about being left behind. Indeed, a few of the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, were Jonesers fueled by 40 years of resentment, analysts say. “You could argue,” Simon concluded, “that, in the end, this generation created the fracture we have in America today.”

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