Monday, March 22, 2010

Hippies and Jonesers

Cruising the internet, I ran across a USA Today article by Jonathan Pontell. He divides the baby boom generation into two distinct cultural groups, those like myself, born from 1946 to 1954 and younger boomers born from 1954 to 1965. He proposes that each group has different values and interests. He’s even given the younger group a name, Generation Jones or Jonesers. The parents of the Jonesers are of the silent generation, those who came of age after World War II but before the 60’s.
The Jonesers are currently between the ages of 42-53 and make up more than a quarter of our population. Early boomers, people ages 54-65, make up only about 15%. Most Jonesers would have been too young to be part of the original Hippie movement and also too young to worry about the draft, which ended in 1973. It was opposition to the Vietnam War that shaped the counter culture movement of the 60’s, but the majority of Jonesers were too young to be involved.
Being identified as a different group has struck a chord in these younger baby boomers. Pontell states that he has been overwhelmed by emails from them in support of his classification. Evidently they have felt left out, not being a part of the “60’s” or “Woodstock” generation and not identifying with Generation X either. Woodstock happened in 1969 which means the Jonesers were between the ages of 5 and 14. Generation Xers born from 1965-1980 have their own unique identity problems and reasons not to be associated with "Boomers". So for a long time this population of young baby boomers have been "Jonesin'" for their own identity and now someone has given it to them.
I saw on the news that Fess Parker died the other day. He was a phenomenon in the 50’s and 60’s. He played Davy Crockett on the “Disneyland” TV program which ran from 1954-1955 and had a later series playing Daniel Boone from 1964-1970. His Davey Crockett character was hugely popular with early baby boomers. Kids had coon skin caps, Davey Crockett BB rifles and Davey Crockett lunch boxes. I cherished my Davey Crockett doll. This distinction actually could be one in a series of litmus tests to see if a person is an early boomer or a Joneser: Do you remember Fess as Davey Crockett or Daniel Boone? Jonesers were too young or not born yet when he played Davey Crockett and when he was Daniel Boone, early boomers were out saving the world or fighting the war.
Other litmus test questions (besides the obvious one, When were you born?) could be:
Is Elvis the King of Rock and Roll or just a fat entertainer in a flashy jump suit who played Vegas?
When you were a young boy did you have a thing for Annette Funicello or Marsha Brady? (This one can be a little tricky. Younger boomers could have seen Annette in her later beach blanket bingo movies with Frankie Avalon, and older boomers who have seen recent pictures of Maureen McCormic may be developing a thing for her at a later age.)
Is the song about Mr. Jones from a Dylan album after he went electric or by the group Counting Crows? (The 1972 song about Mrs. Jones by Billie Paul should be recognized by both groups).
Anyway, I’m sure we will be hearing a lot more about Generation Jones, especially from advertisers who are trying to sell them merchandise and politicians who want their vote.


  1. Guess I'm a joneser, going with Counting Crows and Marsha. But also remember watergate interupting everything on TV and Jimmy Carter and the SALT talks.
    But I'm sure I'm not the only Joneser out here that sees the distinguishing thing about us is the struggles faced just trying to achieve the status quo, as prices for homes cars and pretty much everything else were rising as we came into the market.Common also is gen.joneser being the youngest siblings of the post war family, and as such family resources stretched to the limit.One of the more common effects of this on jonesers was college or the lack thereof.While many companies are developing their generation jones marketing strategies they previously overshot us in order to get younger cohorts.Generation Jones is finally here though and OUR time has finally come,time to rescue our dreams.

  2. is there such a thing as being on the cusp. I feel I have a little of both in me. born is 53, and the last of 4 children.

  3. Born in 1955, and age 56 today, I watched the Hippie generation from afar.. never being part of it. However, here I am, in retirement, and the past year -- tie-dyed t shirts are stuck in my brain.

    I own ONE. Just ONE. Believe it or not, I got it from a public sector (government) retirement conference... grin!

    In high school, early 70s, we tie-dyed our own t shirts, wrapping them tight with rubber bands to keep white oddly shaped stripes at certain points. We dipped different pieces of the shirts into different colors too! Too much fun!

    Wendy, just having fun!