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PRINT May 1989

Believe It or Not

American Myths

NO ONE HAS EVER identified him- or herself as a “yuppie”–– at least not recently. Like the tourist or the ideal viewer of network TV, the yuppie is always another. But the yuppie is also a historical construct: after a generation of “young urban professionals” were defined as a designated voting bloc, Newsweek declared 1984 the Year of the Yuppie (thus bearing out the prediction made by the authors of The Yuppie Handbook in the January 9 issue of People magazine).

Affirmation built into the very term, “yuppie” was conceived in the afterglow of the military action that made Grenada safe for American medical students (identified in the Handbook as “muppies”) and grew to maturity in the delirium of Reaganmania—a mass craze for which yuppie would eventually take the heat. Three-and-a-half years of media vilification later, USA Today (among other publications) used the October ’87 stock-market

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