- About TFT
Friday Thing Archive
- Politics
- Media
- Culture and Society
- War On Terror
- People
- Places
- World
- Popped Clogs
- Music
- Books
- Film
- Etc
Help And Info
- Contact Details
- Advertising
- Jobs
- Privacy Policy
- XML Feed

Home > Culture and Society

Generation Jones: a trend too far?

26 November 2004

Aargh! The trendspotters have been at work again this week, inventing the 'Joneses', another bogus social group that's about as convincing as 'Shrinkies' (40-somethings who are in a state of perpetual psychological crisis because you don't get Shrinky Dinks based on Disney's The Black Hole in breakfast cereal any more.)

The Joneses' name derives not from 'keeping up with the Joneses' or the Bridget Jones phenomenon, but from an American slang term for 'yearning' which we've patently failed to hear of. Needless to say, this didn't stop every fuckwitted UK newspaper illustrating the Joneses story with a picture of Renee Zellweger and Hugh Grant, an act so breathtakingly simple-minded it's akin to illustrating a story about Britney Spears with a picture of Zulu warriors.

Anyway, the Joneses, as invented by 'media group' Carat, are the generation that's aged between 39 and 50 (at least they're specific) and which has made an art of conspicuous consumption. Ah yes, unlike all those people who are younger than 39 or older than 50 and who NEVER use credit cards or spend money on luxuries like holidays.

The more you learn about Carat's definition of the Joneses, the more you want to see these parasitic media 'analyst' whores put against a wall and shot. Joneses, we are reliably informed, 'are influenced by television, films, music and world events which took place during their formative years'. Good god, what sort of bold new socio-psychological theory is being proposed here? It overturns every conventional notion about psychology and the working of the human mind! So they're saying that people may be INFLUENCED IN SOME WAY by what they saw when they were GROWING UP? It's time to rewrite the textbooks!

Needless to say, the bollocks doesn't end here. The Joneses have a genuinely baffling set of cultural reference points, which is probably less due to the confusing postmodern world that they inhabit, and more likely the result of shoddy research by some 25-year-old shit-for-brains at Carat.

Joneses, we are told, became politically aware against a backdrop of the moon landings and the Thatcher years.

What the fuck does this mean? Quite apart from being separated by a decade, the moon landings and Thatcherism are two wholly different things. You might as well say that the Joneses became politically aware against a backdrop of Black September and Smash. Or Cannon and Ball and Jim Callaghan. What does this
actually MEAN?

If one thing distinguishes the Joneses from other creations like Gen-X, it's the sheer randomness of 'their' tastes. They love The Great Gatsby and The Waltons, Carat tells us. They love films like The Godfather and celebrities like Stephen Fry. They like William Hague and they remember the first Sex Pistols gigs.

If you're anything like us, you're probably wondering 'So who the hell ARE the Joneses? I can't visualise them... I don't know anyone like that... who are they?' But the Joneses exist all right, if only as the ill-thought-out fantasy of some bunch of Soho-based trendspotters. Still, it's good to know that a list of largely random qualities enables you to create a cultural phenomenon.

Next week: TFT reveals the Smithses, the 30-34.5-years-old demographic that just LOVED Star Wars but who don't want to settle down just yet!

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

Subscribe to The Friday Thing for free

Bad words ahead The Friday Thing is a weekly email comment sheet. Casting a cynical eye over the week's events, it is rarely fair and never balanced.

A selection of articles from each week's issue appear online, but to enjoy the full Thing, delivered by email every Friday - as well as access to almost five years of back issues - you'll need to subscribe. It's absolutely free.

"Razor-sharp comment and gossip." - The Sunday Times

"Hilariously cynical..To describe it as 'irreverent' is to do the newsletter an injustice." - The Observer

"Sharp, intelligent, opinionated, uncompromising and very, very funny. Just like 'Private Eye' used to be." - Alec McKelland

"Wicked" - Channel 4

"Ace" - Time Out

"'We rise once again in advocacy of The Friday Thing. We realize that some of you may be unwilling to spend [your money] on plain-text comment, but you're only depriving yourself." - The Minor Fall, The Major Lift

"Subscribing to this at the beginning of the year was undoubtedly one of the better decisions I've made. Superlative, and utterly marvellous. I look forward to Fridays now, because I can't wait for the next issue. Fucking fucking brilliant." - Meish.org

"Featuring writers from The Observer, Smack The Pony and The 11 O'Clock Show... will continue to attract new subscribers sight unseen" - NeedToKnow

"The Friday Thing is so good it's stopping me from doing a bunk of a Friday afternoon." - Annie Blinkhorn (The Erotic Review)

"So now" - The Evening Standard

"Damn it, you rule. May you never, ever back down." - Paul Mayze

"Ace" - PopJustice

"Snarky" - Online Journalism Review

"Can you please stop making me laugh out loud... I'm supposed to be working, you know!" - Tamsin Tyrwhitt

"Your coverage of stuff as it spills is right on the money." - Mike Woods

"Popbitch with A-Levels." - Tim Footman

"In an inbox full of trite work-related nonsense, TFT shines from under its subject heading like the sun out of Angus Deayton's arse." - Nikki Hunt

"A first rate email. It's become an integral part of my week, and my life would be empty and meaningless without it (well, *more* empty and meaningless anyway)." - Mark Pugh

"Genius, absolute bit of class. And you can quote me on that." - Lee Neville

"If you're hipper than hell, this is what you read." - MarketingSherpa

"The most entertaining email I've had all week. Great tone." - Matthew Prior

"A massive and engrossing wit injection." - idiotica.co.uk

"I wouldn't know satire if it bit me on the arse. But I did like the Naomi Campbell joke." - Matt Kelly (The Mirror)

"Has had an understandably high profile among people who know about these things." - Guy Clapperton (Guardian Online)

"Satirical sideswipes at the burning issues of the day." - Radio 5 Live

"Puerile and worthless... Truly fabulous... Do read the whole thing." - Stephen Pollard

The Friday Thing 2001-2008 - All Rights Reserved