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Opening Arguments

Generations apart

I hate to be a nitpicker, but Politico is getting its generations mixed up:

Obama is the first Gen X Presidential candidate — for better and for worse.

He's the son of a baby boomer — his mother, Anne, was born in 1942 — and although his birth in 1961 puts him slightly ahead of the textbook mid-1960s start date of Gen X, he is the same age as the man who coined the term "Generation X," author Douglas Coupland.

That's a great story of generational torch-passing -- or it would be, if it were true.  The Baby Boom generation is generally described as being composed of those born between 1946 and 1964. Obama is the boomer, although a late one (sometimes called Generation Jones; their early experiences do have more in common with Gen. X than with the boomers). Three years is not "slightly."

Being born in 1942, Anne was a member of the Silent Generation, not the Baby Boom generation. If McCain is elected, the torch will be passed from a Baby Boomer to a member of the Silent Generation. Whoops -- wrong direction, torch-passers!


Tue, 08/26/2008 - 11:39am

You're right on the mark, Leo: Obama is certainly not an Xer, nor a Boomer...He is part of Generation Jones, born 1954-1965, between the Boomers and Xers. Many top media venues have argued that Obama is a Joneser, like Time and Nesweek Magazines, ABC and MSNBC, etc., and a recent poll of americans born in Obama's birth year overwhelmingly felt like GenJones, not Boom nor X. Some very interesting stuff about this exact topic here: http://www.generationjones.com/2008election.html