The hipster is dead; long live the “yuccie.”
Yuccies are “young urban creatives,” says Mashable writer David Infante, a self-described 26-year-old straight white male liberal arts major writer with a mustache, living in gentrifying Brooklyn.
You may know some if you live in an expensive city like San Francisco, New York or London, where young, upwardly mobile people go to make their dreams come true. And write about their journeys a lot, sometimes for websites that pay.
They are “social consultants coordinating #sponsored Instagram campaigns for lifestyle brands; they’re brogrammers hawking Uber for weed and Tinder for dogs; they’re boutique entrepreneurs shilling sustainably harvested bamboo sunglasses.”
They may flirt with working for The Man, but they really want to rule the world by developing and selling their own creative ideas and products.
Infante’s yuccie checklist includes “Doesn’t like gentrification in theory; loves artisanal donuts in practice,” “Takes boozy painting classes” and “Loves Seinfeld even though it went off the air when they were 16.”
Some Twitterati have admitted the truth of his popular critique, which has been shared more than 77,000 times since Monday.
“So we’re #yuccies now? Almost as lame as #muppies http://bit.ly/1B1GV6z but quite accurate,” tweeted ?@ACocito.
Says @_shilpikumar: “Awfully accurate. Refreshingly self aware. #Yuccies are the cultural offspring of yuppies and hipsters.”
But they are not hipsters, Infante says. Hipsters are so 10 years ago. After leaving the city to reclaim barns upstate or in the country, they go to yoga retreats or perhaps detox.
Never mind that hipsters have been declared dead before. Each generation needs to invent their term, and yuccie may work for white millennials.
We can guess who yuccies are not: the people being pushed out of those now-hip (sorry, “yuccie”) neighborhoods by higher prices.
No, the yuccie doesn’t do damage control as his ability to pay higher rents pushes out existing communities in longstanding, often majority minority neighborhoods like San Francisco’s Mission District and Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant. Their influx causes rents to rise and inspires the creation of artisanal wine and doughnut shops serving a market willing to pay high prices for nonessential items.
Infante cops to that privilege. “Being a yuccie is synonymous with the sort of self-centered cynicism that can only exist in the absence of hardship. It’s the convenience of being unburdened by conviction; it’s the luxury of getting to pick your battles.”
It remains to be seen whether the yuccies are anything more than this generation’s “creative class,” academic Richard Florida’s term for the people who help fuel any big city’s economy in modern times.
As industrialization was key to human development in the 19th and 20th centuries, so is creative capital in the 20th and 21st centuries, Florida argues. Cities interested in growing will want to attract the creatives who innovate, launch businesses and eventually move their cities forward.
And what about the roles played by race and inequality in gentrification? “The key is not to limit or reverse the gains that the creative class has made,” Florida argues in the 2012 edition of “The Rise of the Creative Class,” “but to extend them across the board, to build a more open, more diverse, more inclusive Creative Society that can more fully harness its members’ — all of its members’ — capacities.”