NUMBERS OF `SCUPPIES’ MAY GROW, BUT TREND WON’T REPLACE YUPPIES

Remember “Yumpie?” – Young Upwardly Mobile Professional? It was the short-lived precursor to “Yuppie” – Young Urban Professional, the dreaded “Y” word that became a symbol of the ’80s’ “Greed is Good” generation.

I first heard “Yumpie” in the early ’80s from the lips of a Ford Motor Co. executive who was in town as part of a national sortie to convince American motorists that Japanese cars were just a fad.I didn’t believe him about the cars, but I thought “Yumpie” was kind of clever. Barely days later, I heard, for the first time, someone referred to as a “Yuppie” and I knew it would catch on. I never heard anyone talk about “Yumpies” after that.

Now it’s the ’90s and “Yuppie” has been banned from the lexicon of all right-thinking people. But maybe it needs a replacement. Are you ready for . . . Scuppie? – Socially Conscious Upwardly Mobile Person?

Scuppie is the brainchild of Chuck Failla, a fundraiser for a New York cultural arts center. On the weekends he heads for Connecticut to spend some time in the country. In other words, he’s a Yuppie.

But Failla says he prefers to think of himself as part of a growing clan that disdains the materialism of Yuppies in favor of saving the environment and other admirable social goals.

In other words, a Scuppie is a Yuppie with a conscience.

Failla contends that Scuppies can be thought of as the next logical stage of an evolutionary process that began 30 years ago with the Hippies. Hippies supposedly were idealistic and had little interest in acquiring material things (except, perhaps, tie-dyed T shirts, sandals, Volkswagen micro-buses and marijuanna). A few years later, the flower-child culture metamorphosed into the BMWs and Gucci loafers culture.

Thus the pendulum is swinging back to the center in which a balance will be made of the two extremes. No longer will the nation’s best and brightest focus entirely on getting rich at the expense of the environment and social concerns.

But will it catch on? Has Failla given birth to the next big fadword? I predict he has not. Like Yumpie, Scuppie seems a bit contrived. It doesn’t quite hit the mark the way Yuppie did. Scuppies will undoubtedly exist and in large numbers, but they won’t take to the label as their forebears did to Yuppie.

But if it does, Failla wants the credit – and the cash. Like a true Yuppie, socially conscious or otherwise, he has announced in a national press release he plans to distribute posters and T-shirts (what else?) to promote the idea. And he’s not trying to pass it off as a boost for the environment or society.

“From an upwardly mobile point of view, I hope to make enough money with this idea to buy some really neat toys,” he said.

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