Gen Y: Yuccies, Not Hipsters, Oh, My!

Forgive me, but a recent spate of features about the decline of the hipster and rise of the yuccie (yes) since David Infante popularised the term on Mashable this week makes me chuckle and recall Dorothy’s reaction to the fascinating creatures she’d begun to encounter once she realised she wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

Here’s what we’re talking about: Infante, a mid-twenties writer who lives in a Brooklyn neighbourhood he and others like him are gentrifying,  says that a yuccie is a Young Urban Creative. One who may also have a touch of cynicism, hence the second “c”.

Infante possesses both a liberal arts degree and a sense of humour; he describes his peers as holding down a “corner of the despicable millenn-intelligensia”. He suggests that, if you’re inclined to critique the privileged (his term) members of his “so-called creative class”, you should at least do so accurately and call them yuccies, rather than hipsters.

Wonder if you know any yuccies?

Here are my takeaways. They want to both pursue and profit from their dreams, rather than follow someone else’s (dreams, that is). They like and want money, but validation is at least as significant as cash. They love Seinfeld. They don’t love tattoos, at least not visible ones. Oh, and if that young person you know starts looking in to travel to Austen any time soon, that’s another dead giveaway.

Given Infante’s acknowledgement of his peers’ need for recognition of their ideas, I’d suspect that he is waking up one very happy man today. Heck, so must be Jim Roberts and the rest of the leadership team at Mashable – well, except for the one woman in that particular C-Suite, whom I’m sure is also pretty pleased. To be fair, Mashable was already doing pretty well with more than seven million shares a month, 23 million social media followers and … well, you get the drift. Still, Infante’s article has been shared more than 180,000 times in the five days since it was published.

Have a look at Infante’s article, and you’ll see how he accurately posits that yuccies are privileged and young, and that they aspire to creative careers. They’re unlikely to be heavily tattooed (at least not visibly so), and they have good credit.  What’s not to like?, I asked one young relative. A recent university grad who, ahem, is in his early twenties, enjoys a good Seinfeld episode and lives in an up-and-coming (all right, it’s already pretty much gentrified) Vancouver neighbourhood where he’s been known to purchase pre-cooked chicken or another ready-made dinner or two. I asked another young relative what she thought of the yuccie tag, but she’s not yet responded; I made the mistake of emailing rather than texting her on this one. Or it could just be that she’s just not interested in labels.

Does any of this mean I’m going to begin treating the young, creative types in my office any differently?

Nope. And I promise not to treat the older creative types any differently, either.

Now that this yuccie term is out there, the acronym bandwagon is filling up. Over at the New York Daily News, writers Meredith Engel and Gersh Kuntzman have come up with a list of 10 additional acronyms that they suggest are the truly new trends. They say that yuccies who don’t make it big run the danger of turning into LUFTS. You know, those who “Leave Us For The Suburbs”.

Hmm. We did that 30 years ago, and were simply called lucky.

Flash forward to 2015, and we’re still delighted that we returned a few years ago to the big city. We are  a bit older now, though, so does that mean we “Returning Urbanites Still Tempted by Sushi” (or your choice of any big city “s” word) are a bunch of RUSTS?

I did appreciate Engel and Kuntzman’s OWANTTO acronym, even though it sounds like someone is about to tell you what it is they want to do. Nope; OWANTTOS are those “Over Worked And Never Take Time Off” people among us. You know. The kind of person who concludes each December with five or more unused vacation days. Maybe it’s the (tail end) Baby Boomer in me, wanting to feel special, or perhaps it’s the 10 days of unused vacation time I had last December 31, but perhaps Engel and Kuntzman may also know a thing or two, after all.

A little note, now, to any 20-something yuccies out there who aren’t enamoured of the handle. It could be worse. Born not too many years earlier,  you’d likely at some point find yourself being one half of a couple who, before procreating (if you chose that route), pulled in a nice pair of incomes. Dual incomes. No kids. Then you’d have to put up with all those yuppies you thought were friends calling you a pair of DINKS.


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