Baby Boomer Word Game

Posted on May 6th, 2013 in 1960s,1970s,1980s,Me Generation,New Left,Politics,Pop Culture by Terry Hamburg


 Yuppie, Yumpie, Yippie. This can get confusing.

Question: Was Jerry Rubin, the notorious baby boomer hippie-radical of the late 1960s who later became a stockbroker, a yippie or a yuppie?

Answer: Both.

On New Years Day 1968, Jerry Rubin and Abbie Hoffman, author of Steal This Book (who probably relinquished the royalties by his choice of title), formed the the Youth International Party or Yippies—an unlikely concoction of new left politics and hippie anarchy. Its first act was “guerrilla street theatre” at the 1968  Democratic Convention.

It was no coincidence Yippie rhymed with “hippie.” The flag displayed a green cannabis leaf over the red star symbol of Communism. Could it fly? Unlikely, and that was the point. The group had no official members and the platform consisted of a blank piece of paper. It was more a state of mind. The old left was unimpressed. One newspaper dubbed them “Groucho Marxists.”

Yuppies stood in stark contrast to Yippies. In a 1984 radio debate entitled “Yuppie vs. Yippe,” a reconstructed Jerry Rubin commented: “If IRA makes you think of the Irish Republican Army, you’re a yippie. But if you think it stands for Individual Retirement Account, you’re a yuppie.” Announcing he had “joined America rather than fighting it,” activists were exhorted to work from within the system. Hoffman scoffed that Rubin’s “world is as narrow as his tie.”

Newsweek declared 1984 “The Year of the Yuppie.” It was an acronym for “young urban professionals,” defined and populated by baby boomers. Such characters were briefly called “yumpies,” short for “young upwardly mobile professionals.” “Yumpie” is clunky and soon dropped.

Initially, “yuppie” was not negative, but quickly morphed into an image of selfish, superficial, materialistic, even amoral behavior—a psychographic more than a demographic, sometimes labeled the “me-generation.” A yuppie would slip on Ferragamo loafers, cruise to a high-rise office in a Beamer to check his bloated stock portfolio, sup on a quiche and chardonnay lunch at an obscenely pricey restaurant, then rush home to attend his precocious five-year-old daughter’s piano recital while oblivious to the army of homeless along the route.

This stereotype was featured in a 1987 hit movie.


Buppie: an upwardly mobile black
Chuppie: a Chinese yuppie
Fruppie: Middle-aged frustrated urban professional
Guppie: gay urban professional.
Huppie: Hispanic urban professional.
Luppie: successful lesbian
Nuppie: nomadic professional
Scuppie: upwardly-mobile but socially conscious
Wuppie: immature web nerd making 6 figures
Yuppie flu: chronic fatigue syndrome

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