Boomers, Gen-Y, Gen-Xers and Now, Cuspers

I've always wondered about the genesis of popular but relatively meaningless demographic terms.

When did I go from being a member of Generation Y to being a "millennial?" Who turned my mother into a "soccer mom?"

Now I know who's to blame for all this foolishness: Marian Salzman.

In a piece on today, Salzman, who "has been credited with popularizing the term "metrosexuality," invents a new sub-generation: "Cuspers" — basically people too young to be baby-boomers, and too old to be gen-Xers. The article, titled "Baby boomers out, 'cuspers' in" claims that the authority and credibility of the baby boom generation has been ripped to shreds, and these so-called 'cuspers' are now in charge.

Salzman says that baby boomers are being blamed for the current financial crisis:

"After strutting and tub-thumping and preening their way across the high ground of politics, media, culture and finance for 30 years, baby boomers have gone from top dogs to scapegoats in barely a year. As baby boomers lose their authority and appeal, generational power is shifting one notch down: to cuspers (born roughly 1954-1965), who arrived in style in 2008 with their first truly major figure, Barack Obama (born 1961)."

It's funny, I haven't heard anybody blame the greed of the baby boom generation for the mess we're in.

The idea that boomers have now been supplanted by... younger boomers because Obama won the election doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Would the baby boomers have stopped being the "top dogs" and ceded that position back to their parents if John McCain had won the election?

I'd never heard the term 'cusper' before reading this article. I think it's relatively inane. But, in our desire to categorize and capture the zeitgeist of the current era, I bet the term will be in widespread use within the next six-months. Not because it means anything, but because we're desperate to discover new trends, whether they happen to be real or imaginary.

Being a baby boomer hasn't been in style for decades. My generation grabbed the mantle of coolness years ago, and we took it from generation X. That doesn't mean the 78 million boomers are ready to roll over and admit their time has come and gone.

Here's to the 'cuspers' then, let's just hope that term is as short- lived as 'metrosexual.'

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