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Huffington Post is Optimistically Off by Several Years in Naming its Baby Boomer Section 'Huff/Post 40'

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Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 4:40 PM
click to enlarge Wilson!
  • Wilson!

While some news organizations are known for inventing a generation every time Apple introduces a new product (the iPad generation!), there are limits.

Historians William Strauss and Neil Howe have come up with perhaps the most cited and widely trusted framework: A generation is a cohort of people born in the same 20-or-so-year wave that has often experienced the same cultural markers.

For baby boomers, Strauss and Howe put the birth years at 1945 and sometime into the early 1960s. Generation Xers are from the early-to-mid '60s until the early 1980s. Then come the "millennials," who span the early '80s to the early '00s. So why then ...

... is the Huffington Post's new section aimed at baby boomers called "Huff/Post 40," as if 40 is some flattering marker for a baby boom generation whose eldest members are almost 70 now?

This kind of lie buys into the idea that "middle age" and "midlife crisis" apply to people like Bill Clinton (age 65) when, in fact, the middle of life expectancy, which is 80 for American women and 73 for men, is decades before retirement

(That would mean, at least mathematically, midlife for women is 40 and 36 or so for men. So get that Porsche now while you still have time, kids).

Anyway, given the common boomer end year of 1964 (some argue even earlier given the cultural shift represented by the '60s), the youngest boomers would be about 47.

Tom Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson (born in 1956), is the editor-at-large and supposed representative of this demo.

So .. WTF, Huffington Post? Get your generations straight. For all intents and purposes, you should really call this thing "Huff/Post 50."

Site founder Arianna Huffington (the doyenne of L.A.'s limousine liberal crowd) passed the buck to Wilson in announcing the new section, set to debut in August:

"Calling the site 'Huff/Post 40' was her idea."

[@dennisjromero/djromero@laweekly.com]

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