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Pop Culture

What is 'Generation Jones'? The unique qualities of the not-quite-Gen-X-baby-boomers.

This "microgeneration" had a different upbringing than their fellow boomers.

Generation Jones includes Michelle Obama, George Clooney, Kamala Harris, Keanu Reeves and more.

We hear a lot about the major generation categories—boomers, Gen X, millennials, Gen Z and the up-and-coming Gen Alpha. But there are folks who don't quite fit into those boxes. These in-betweeners, sometimes called "cuspers," are members of microgenerations that straddle two of the biggies.

"Xennial" is the nickname for those who fall on the cusp of Gen X and millennial, but there's also a lesser-known microgeneration that straddles Gen X and baby boomers. The folks born from 1954 to 1965 are known as Generation Jones, and they've been thrust into the spotlight as people try to figure out what generation to consider 59-year-old Vice President Kamala Harris.

Like President Obama before her, Harris is a Gen Jonesernot exactly a classic baby boomer but not quite Gen X. Born in October 1964, Harris falls just a few months shy of official Gen X territory. But what exactly differentiates Gen Jones from the boomers and Gen Xers that flank it?


"Generation Jones" was coined by writer, television producer and social commentator Jonathan Pontell to describe the decade of Americans who grew up in the '60s and '70s. As Pontell wrote of Gen Jonesers in Politico:

"We fill the space between Woodstock and Lollapalooza, between the Paris student riots and the anti-globalisation protests, and between Dylan going electric and Nirvana going unplugged. Jonesers have a unique identity separate from Boomers and GenXers. An avalanche of attitudinal and behavioural data corroborates this distinction."

Pontell describes Jonesers as "practical idealists" who were "forged in the fires of social upheaval while too young to play a part." They are the younger siblings of the boomer civil rights and anti-war activists who grew up witnessing and being moved by the passion of those movements but being met with a fatigued culture by the time they themselves came of age. Sometimes, they're described as the cool older siblings of Gen X. Unlike their older boomer counterparts, most Jonesers were not raised by WWII veteran fathers and were too young to be drafted into Vietnam, leaving them in between on military experience.

Gen Jones gets its name from the competitive "keeping up with the Joneses" spirit that spawned during their populous birth years, but also from the term "jonesin'," meaning an intense craving, that they coined—a drug reference but also a reflection of the yearning to make a difference that their "unrequited idealism" left them with. According to Pontell, their competitiveness and identity as a "generation aching to act" may make Jonesers particularly effective leaders:

"What makes us Jonesers also makes us uniquely positioned to bring about a new era in international affairs. Our practical idealism was created by witnessing the often unrealistic idealism of the 1960s. And we weren’t engaged in that era’s ideological battles; we were children playing with toys while boomers argued over issues. Our non-ideological pragmatism allows us to resolve intra-boomer skirmishes and to bridge that volatile Boomer-GenXer divide. We can lead."

Time will tell whether the United States will end up with another Generation Jones leader, but with President Biden withdrawing his candidacy, it has now become a distinct possibility.

Of note in discussions over Kamala Harris's generational status is the fact that generations aren't just calculated by birth year but by a person's cultural reality. Some have made the argument that Harris is culturally more Gen X than boomer, though there doesn't seem to be any record of her claiming any particular generation as her own. However, a swath of Gen Z has staked their own claim on her as "brat"—a term singer Charli XCX thrust into the political arena with a post on X that read "kamala IS brat." That may be nonsensical to most older folks, but for Gen Z, it's a glowing endorsement from one of the top Gen Z musicians of the moment.

Humor

Real estate agent asks his Gen Z employee to edit a work video and the result is pure comedy

"This 100% caught my attention far more than whatever you were going to say."

@pridemoreproperties/Instagram

“Gen Z in the workforce is my favorite thing about life."

Gotta hand it to Gen Z—their tech savviness and sarcastic humor is a potent combination for comedy. Add to that a blatant disregard for workplace decorum, and you’ve got a recipe for some grade A viral entertainment.

Mike Hege, a realtor at Pridemore Properties in North Carolina, recently learned this after asking the company's 27-year-old video marketing manager to make a video for his Instagram and TikTok pages.

The employee did as asked, but took on some, shall we say…creative touches that Hege certainly didn’t expect.

As the phrase “Asked my Gen Z employee to edit a video for me, and this is what I got!” appears on screen, viewers witness a compilation video made entirely of Hege taking various inhales, presumably before going into whatever spiel he had intended to be recorded.

Essentially, this employee showcased the infamous “millennial pause” in action. Over and over again. She even threw in some awkward hair zhuzhing for good measure.

Watch:

Clearly this employee was onto something, because the video has already racked up a little over 4 million likes on Instagram. Several viewers suggested a raise was called for.

“Give her a raise because this 100% caught my attention far more then whatever you were going to say,” one person wrote.

Another added, ““Her audacity is so respectable tho.”

Of course, just type in “Letting Gen Z Edit My Videos” on TikTok, and you’ll see that Hege isn’t the only one giving his videos the Gen Z treatment.

Check out this one from the Goodwill of North Georgia. Poor fella giving the presentation made the mistake of saying “it’s okay, he’ll edit that out” after making a flub. It was, of course, not edited out.

@goodwill_ng

We've definitely got things😊

♬ original sound - Goodwill of North Georgia

“Gen Z is so unserious I love us,” one person commented.

There’s also this delightfully quirky one from the Poe Museum, home of “a wide variety of chairs”…where you’ll learn that “you can never have too many flat Edgars.”

@poemuseum We’ve got chairs at the Poe Museum! #edgarallanpoe #Richmond #poe #PoeMuseum ♬ original sound - The Poe Museum

“Gen Z in the workforce is my favorite thing about life,” a viewer wrote.

As for Hege and his employee, he told TODAY that his company wanted their social media presence to reflect “authenticity” and “humanity,” and that the Gen Z employee completely succeeded in her task.

“This was the editor’s way of showcasing that we’re real people and that we can have fun and be on the lighter side,” he said, adding that she’s been “crushing it” since her employment began in February. So maybe that raise isn’t so far off after all.

Joy

Comedian's viral video perfectly nails how each generation arrives at someone's house

"Millennials will arrive late, but they will text you to let you know they're on their way, just as they're about to get into the shower."

Boomers knock. Millennials and Gen Z text "here."

Playing with the contrasts between generations has become a modern pastime, as baby boomers, Gen X, millennials and Gen Z see and experience the world quite differently. Generation gaps have always existed, of course, but the tech age has widened those gaps in big ways, sometimes creating challenges, but often resulting in hilarity.

For instance, watching a Gen Zer try to figure out how to use a rotary phone is pure entertainment. The way emojis are used and interpreted varies vastly by age, making for some chuckle-worthy communication mishaps. Slang terms can be hard to keep up with the older you get, but they can also be manipulated by savvy elders to great comedic effect.

And now, comedian Jake Lambert has compared how the different generations arrive at someone's house in a viral video that's been viewed more than 12 million times.


"You've basically got boomers who will turn up completely unannounced any time from about 7:00 in the morning and they will knock on your door just slightly louder than the police using a battering ram carrying out a house raid," Lambert begins.

"And then you've got Gen X. They would have made the plans well in advance, and they would've also checked in a couple of days before just to make sure the plans are definitely still happening," he went on. "You see, Gen X is the forgotten generation and they're so scarred by this title they would've assumed that you'd forgotten not only about the plans but about their very existence."

"Millennials will have hoped that the plans would've been canceled. There's no reason that a millennial will ever actually want to come to your house," he continued. "They will arrive late, but they will text you to let you know they're on their way, just as they're about to get into the shower. And a millennial will never knock on your door. You'll just get a text either saying 'here' or 'outside,' and that's your cue to go and let them in."

"Similarly, Gen Z will never actually knock," he concluded. "But the chances are they won't have to, as they would have been documenting the entire journey from their house to yours, maybe even on Facetime using this angle [camera facing directly up at the chin] as they go along for some reason. Either that or they'll just send a picture of your front door or a selfie of them outside it. And again, just like the millennial, that's your cue to go and rescue them from the outside world."

People felt alternately seen, attacked and validated by Lambert's assessments, with the most common response being "accurate."

"I‘m a millennial, my husband GenX. Scarily accurate! 😂"

"Described this millennial to a T."

"This is surprisingly accurate 😂 I laughed slightly louder than the police using a battering ram…"

"Sooo accurate…guilty of the lateness and ‘here’ text 🙃"

"I must admit I'm a millennial. But knocking on the door feels so aggressive, uknow? 😅😇"

"Millennial texting to say almost there but just started getting dressed to go out. Why do we do this? It's not intentional, at least not for me."

"Honestly your observations are just brilliant! GenX-er here!"

"The Gen Z angle omg 😂😂"

Some people didn't resonate with their generation's description, but there are exceptions to every rule and some people will never fit a stereotype. However, judging by the wave of affirmative responses, Lambert nailed the generational generalities across the board—and did so in a way that allows us all to laugh at ourselves.

You can follow Jake Lambert on Instagram.

Gen Z and Millennials are fighting over wearing ankle socks

It would seem that there's no way for Millennials to win when it comes to Gen Z's fashion rules. First they made fun of their older counterparts for wearing skinny jeans, then it was side parts, now it's ankle and no show socks. Those are out, while the tube socks that Millennials' boomer parents used to try to make them wear are in.

Surely they have to know that they are simply recycling late 90s-early 2000s fashion? But with how confidently they taunt Millennials for their supposed fashion faux pas, maybe they don't. One brave Gen Zer decided to ask the question on every Millennials' mind–why are ankle socks out?

Eva Gutowski took to TikTok to ask her fellow young people why they decided that they were switching to tube and crew socks, even though she's already made the switch. So what's the deal, Gen Z?


"I don't know when or why it happened but there was a shift in our generation where we are all about the tube socks now. I don't think I will ever go back to a no-show sock. I will die wearing tube socks," Gutowski shares.

Fellow Gen Zers were quick to explain why they made the shift to tube socks over no-show socks and it's actually pretty practical.

@mylifeaseva

Gen z socks vs millennial socks 🧦 what happened there? 🤨

♬ original sound - Eva Gutowski

"No show socks roll off my heel and feels uncomfortable in my shoe :/," someone writes.

"Stopped wearing them after years of not finding a pair that didn’t slide right off + don’t find myself wearing shoes that “require” wearing some," another says.

"I used to HATE when my socks showed, and loved when vans had their no show socks but nowwww socks showing really pulls the fit together," one person claims.

Millennials on the other hand is over Gen Z's shenanigans and complaints about things that were beyond cool kid vibes when they were younger. Matt Bellassai jumped on his own TikTok account to set the record straight as a representative of the Millennial generation.

"I just want to say, you will pry these ankle socks off my cold dead feet before I put on a sock even approaching my shins. I don't think you understand. When I was in high school if I wore a crew sock they would've bullied me within an inch of my life," Bellassai exclaims passionately.

Many fellow Millennials concur with his passionate rebuttal to Gen Z's fashion critiques. They will be keeping their no-show socks thankyouverymuch.

@mattbellassai

you will pry my ankle socks from my cold dead feet

♬ original sound - matt bellassai

"We worked too damn hard to get no-show socks," one person exclaims.

"I can't wait until summertime and they're all walking around with crew sock tan lines," another laughs.

"Not to mention that if I had worn crew shocks that showed... I would have been walking around looking like MY FATHER," someone guffaws.

"Anything higher than an ankle sock is unacceptable. I can FEEL it on parts of my shin that doesn’t need to be touched," a commenter gasps.

Since everything is coming back around again for Gen Z, should Millennials warn them to stay away from the business casual club wear? Maybe just leave them to their own devices and see what recycled fashion trends pop out of the wash next.