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March 16, 2008


Wow, that list was so eye-opening. I agree, how on earth did this happen?

I love this. I'll turn 50 this September (the 11th, of all days). Just discovered the Generation Jones thing recently, to my mixed delight. I have always felt ambivalence towards the Baby Boomers, from the time I was young and watching the hippies on TV to more recently reading annoying self-important reminiscences of aging boomers. On the other hand, the majority of my friends are Baby Boomers, I've dated men who told me stories of driving across the country in a spray painted VW bus, and I have a friend who saw Jimmy Hendrix at Woodstock. Compared to the ironic-as-hell generation just after me, who I discovered would make fun of any sincere remark I might make about anything, my boomer colleagues were always reliably straightforward and kind, and sincerely concerned politically.

And you're right, it's weird to be this old! There's a recent New Yorker cartoon called "Mayfly Midlife Crisis" where this mayfly is looking at himself in the mirror and saying, "I've got a wife, a career--Jesus! I'm twelve hours old! How did this happen to me?"

1961 baby, coming up hard behind you.

My theory on our voicelessness was a size issue. As in, in this country, it matters, so who would bother with differentiating the likes of us?

I've never felt a part of things, but always felt...kind of okay with it. There's a weird, flying-under-the-radar quality about this cohort I've always kind of enjoyed and marveled over.

I, too, didn't hear the term "Generation Jones" until about a year ago: pretty late for being a part of it. But that kind of defines us, right? Loners. Weirdos. Misfits. Outsiders.

I did read a terrific article in a media research publication about the (there unnamed) cohort that I wish to christ I'd copied. All the Lexis Nexis searches since have not turned it up. Ah, well.

Nice piece. I'm happy to self-identify with any whack-job, misfit crew that includes you, Mr. Miller.

Hi Danny,

Thanks for the 50th birthday wishes. My turn is in November. I already went to one of our classmates 50th surprise party a couple of weeks ago! Have a great 49th and say hi to Helena and Shari for me.

Generation Jones? Wow, you learn something new everyday. As a Gen-Xer, I had no idea that generation label even existed.

But then again, I AM cynical, skeptical, and disaffected.

And I always thought that as a '55 baby I was at the top of the boomer bell curve. I can relate though, I bought Woodstock tix for my older sister for a birthday gift though I knew there was no way my parents would have let me go. I was old enough to march and protest and living in NYC, I had the opportunities. Of course I had to be home by supper. I guess I thought that was normal. It never occured to me not to live a politically active life. To this day I'm shocked when I meet someone my own age who is a conservative Republican. I always figure they just aren't paying attention.

I could go on about cultural references, but I'd need my own blog.

I was in born in 1965, so I'm right on the cusp. I don't really remember the 60's at all. I was one of those latch key kids in the 70's, and was in high school in the 80's. I may have some traits of both Jonesers and x'ers.

That reminds me that I am turning fifty this May. Should I really celebrate? Oh and today someone posted an article citing me as a "young woman" living in the US. Should I stand him corrected? I hadn't paid him beforehand though.

Hey congrats of holding off the reading glasses for so long! The optometrist told me that people tend to show up right on their 40th birthday and I was a couple of years behind schedule. Getting used to them now . . .
I have to say that 50th birthday parties are a huge amount of fun and the we "Jones's" know how to have a party!

i have sad news for you. if i'm any indication, you'll still be wondering how this happened when you're 58! but you've made ME feel a bit better: if you young 50-ish folks are finding a look at a photo to be, well, shocking and mystifying, then i don't feel quite as appalled or alone as before. so thank you, danny miller.
oh, p.s.: back in the '50s and '60s i had round, jolly, and un-self-conscious grandmas and grandpas. they didn't worry about this stuff, and i think they had it right.

I've long thought that the Baby Boom should be divided into three groups:

1. You remember Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show;

2. You remember the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show;

3. You remember Ed Sullivan.

Eight years ago, I was planning on starting a 'zine called "Jan, the Magazine for the Middle Boomer." The name was based on Jan Brady, who was, of course, the middle female Brady. I consulted with a bunch of other media-savvy women born in the mid- to late-fifties.

The 'zine never got off the ground, much like the whole "Generation Jones" concept.

Danny: I heard a female author speak about ageing. (Her name escapes me...well, that's one sign.) The author's college (an Ivy League school) friends were in attendance for a reunion, so most women in the audience were the same age: 60 years old. During the discussion a thin woman with well-coiffed white hair spoke about how she knew she looks like a grandmother, but inside felt like she was still in her twenties. She was frustrated that no one could see who she really was. What struck me was here was someone so attractive who felt this way; what hope for those of us ageing less gracefully? What happens is, the women in the audience agreed, older people often become invisible. So the upside is, don't worry about how you look as you age because no one notices you anyway.

Actually, the Generation Jones concept has gotten off the ground, and then some. It's not a household name in the US, like it is in many European countries, but it is frequently discussed in various circles in the States. If you google it, as I just did again, you'll see lots of usage. And I'm noticing that media attention to GenJones has been increasing significantly over the last year or so.

In particular, GenJones has become a key voting group, and has been discussed by many political commentators and publications, especially re. its size and volatility. More recently, GenJones has been receiving quite a bit of attention as the generation of Barack Obama. Quite a few major publications, like the New York Times and Newsweek, have argued that Obama is specifically a part of Generation Jones, not the Boomers nor Xers.

melinda, you forgot one:
0. You remember *hearing about* Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show (too young, parents wouldn't let me watch).
the other two i can claim (and p.s., i saw the beatles at forest hills stadium in nyc in 1964, a highlight of my life).
frances: i love your conclusion! in my forties, younger guys sometimes still honked and waved when i got out of my future husband's car. then suddenly they didn't. one day they did, the next day they didn't. what changed?
the biggest thing that's changed is that i don't have to feel pissed off or embarrassed by guys honking. turns out i like that. very freeing.

p.s. Go Obama!!!

(and p.s., i saw the beatles at forest hills stadium in nyc in 1964, a highlight of my life)

I was too young to see the Beatles in concert, although I did see them on Ed Sullivan.

And I couldn't get a grown-up to go with me to see the Monkees at Forest Hills three years later, even though we lived right nearby. For some reason, the grown-ups didn't want to hear all the screaming, probably because my mother remembered all the screaming just in the movie theater when she took me to see the Beatles' "Hard Day's Night" in July of 1964. Girls were flinging themselves at the movie screen like a bunch of bouffant-haired moths.

I remember contemplating one day how old I'd be when the magical, mystical year 2000 finally got here, and when I figured out that it'd get here just 21 days before my 42nd birthday, I was shocked and amazed. That was like more than 12 years older than my dad. For an 8 year old that was pretty far-fetched.

Also seemed worlds away that that short kid with the really long hair, legendary Halloween parties, and really hot older sister would be wishing me a happy 50th(!) birthday on a blog, via the internet, via a computer small enough to carry around in one hand.

Although, it is comforting to realize that, although I have trouble remembering what I had for lunch yesterday, I found I actually remember every one of those classmates and their last names. The mind is a wonder to ponder.

Thanks for the birthday wishes, Danny, and the great reflections (as always). Of course, since you were nice enough to wish me a happy 50th, it might make it tougher for me to give you grief on your 50th. Or... maybe not.

Well Happy Birthday~

first time visitor to your blog, just wanted to say hi and have a look around. Stop by and say hi sometime

Wanna really feel your age? Get another bachelors degree as I did at age 46.

Attending the orientation was particularly harrowing. Imagine my relief when I saw some students almost as old as me in the auditorium...only to realize that they were parents accompanying their children.

Imagine showing up for the first day of class, walking into the lecture hall and hearing all the chatter come to a standstill because they thought the professor had arrived. He walked in a few minutes later. He was glaringly younger than me.

Imagine being told by a fellow student, unprompted, that I shouldn't worry about getting my degree late "because people live longer these days".

Imagine being in an American History class and making the unrecoverable mistake of recounting your memory of John Kennedy's funeral on every head in the lecture hall turns....and you hear some smart ass in the front row ask what Mary Lincoln wore to the theatre.

Good times.

Happy Birthday.

There's something for all of us in this post. I'm with you, except a decade too late. So, for my 39th birthday present, did you send Wilco my way? Word is they're coming to Fairbanks this summer. You and yours should come, too. Remember, you've got a friend . . .

Danny--Thanks for the birthday wishes.I turned the big 50 in January.At the time it wasn't so good.I was nursing a broken finger from playing basketball.At 40,my eyes went bad and I needed glasses and then at 50 my bones are more brittle,thus the broken finger.Also have been to 5 funerals since November,2007.(parents of friends,cousin,brother-in-law--NOT Scott)I am back playing basketball and I haven't been to a funeral in 3 wks,so things are getting better along with this Chicago weather.Happy 50th to everyone!Hurry up and join me--It's not so bad

You turning 50 doesn't faze me. Carolyn Kennedy being the cover girl on AARP's magazine did it for me.

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