Instead, what we have is a vast and diverse spectrum of yuppiness: guppies, buppies, alt-yups, schlub-yups, dharma-yups, crypto-yups. Former edge-dwelling slackers might be discreet enough to make their consumption appear casual and offhand, but that doesn’t mean they’re consuming any less than their flashier neighbors. (Especially now, when the stock market finally seems to be yawning awake.) Comedian Mo Rocca recently went out with a bunch of friends, he says, “and somebody was saying that it’s so tacky to have a television in the living room. And a friend of mine went, ‘Fuck that, I’ve got a TV in every single room! I love it. I love TV. I love eating in front of the TV, and the TV’s always on.’ And I thought, Oh, my god, it was so liberating to hear him say that.”
Even back in 1991, novelist Douglas Coupland, the man who introduced the term Generation X into the mainstream, was picking up on a generation’s natural vulnerability to comfort. “When you’re 27 or 28, your body starts emitting the Sheraton enzyme,” he told People. “You can no longer sleep on people’s floors.” By 37, the Sheraton enzyme mutates into the Four Seasons endorphin. People, like neighborhoods, have a tendency to gentrify. On my recent trip to the West Coast, I went back to the section of Pasadena that used to be my beloved slacker drag strip in the eightiesa scrungy wonderland of pawn shops, Bukowski-approved dives, vintage clothing shops, used bookstores, greasy taco trucks. As I poked around in this, the fall of 2006, it came as a shock to see that every last drop of that suburban boho-scape was now gone, replaced by upscale trattorias and tapas bars, boutiques and Pottery Barn and Tiffany’s.
A shock, but only a minor one. While the yuppies were colonizing my favorite neighborhood, apparently they were doing the exact same thing to my brain.