The Omnivorous Y

The time has come for this column to face, foursquare and without flinching, the question of Yuppie culture. It must be faced because it is not going away. And it is not getting better. It's just getting older. Like that smelly cheese they eat.

Actually the durability of Y-culture has been self-evident for years. At least since the honorable grunts of Hill Street Blues, public servants one and all, faded into rerun land and the pampered, overpaid, paper-pushing, private-sector professionals of LA Law took center stage. And this column has circled around the subject for almost that long, usually with one sentence write-offs like the one above. But this column must now face its natural adversary because this columnist is finally forced to.

For 10 years I successfully dodged and ducked the realm of Y-hegemony. It wasn't that hard actually. Y-people make a lot of noise and consume a lot of airtime and ink, but their geography is pretty limited. It was especially easy in Washington, D.C. I knew the turf. If you stayed east of 16th Street NW and north of Florida Avenue you'd usually miss them. And they never went anywhere in Prince George's County, Maryland.

But a year ago I lost my home-court advantage, and now, through no fault of my own, I promise, this column issues forth from an address painfully near to one of the Y-culture capitals of late-capitalist, post-industrial, post-modern, post-decadent America.

I'm not going to print directions to our apartment in this magazine. But let's just say that we live on a depressingly quiet, astonishingly childless, Saab-lined little street in the shadow of America's most famous university. Being without any organic ties to, or much understanding of, the indigenous "real people" cultures of this city, it is in these semi-Arctic climes that I've finally experienced Y-culture full force.

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