An example of cross-generational yuppie fantasy – “Summer of ’69”


The “yuppies” were a powerful demographic of the USA’s Baby Boom.

Victor Davis Hanson has written:

Yuppism… is not definable entirely by income or class. Rather, it is a late-20th century cultural phenomenon of self-absorbed young professionals, earning good pay, enjoying the cultural attractions of sophisticated urban life and thought, and generally out of touch with, indeed antithetical to, most of the challenges and concerns of a far less well-off and more parochial Middle America.

Yuppies were “professionals” – i.e. doctors, lawyers, and similarly prestigious wage-earners.

It takes a lot of education to be “professional” – college plus at least three years of grad school, usually more. So a “YUP” has to be at least 25 years old, and is probably closer to 32 years old. However, a competent student on a yuppie track will present himself as a yuppie long before he is licensed to practice – otherwise he won’t pass the interviews and oral exams!

The Baby Boom generation produced many YUPs, born from 1946 to 1964. The youngest possible “YUP” in 1971 would have been born in 1946.

Let’s assume that the callous greed of the Baby Boomer yuppies was manifesting as early as 1971. The 1970s were called the “Me” Generation. By 1978, the boomers who had been born in 1946 had already finished school and started raking in the greatest possible take.

The word “yuppie” was noted in print in 1980. The youngest possible “YUP” in 1989 would have been born in 1964.

These YUPs must have had subgenerational factions. A YUP born in 1964 probably regarded a YUP born in 1946 as an unfashionable, geriatric loser.

In 1984, Bryan Adams overcame his crippling facial acne and managed to publish “Summer of `69.”

The lyrics ran:

I got my first real six-string
Bought it at the five-and-dime
Played it till my fingers bled
It was the summer of ’69

Me and some guys from school
Had a band and we tried real hard
Jimmy quit and Jody got married
I shoulda known we’d never get far

Ain’t no use in complainin’
When you got a job to do
Spent my evenin’s down at the drive-in
And that’s when I met you

Standin’ on your mama’s porch
You told me it would last forever
Oh the way you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life

Adams had been born in 1959 – maybe he was holding hands with girls in 1969, but his friends were not getting married, and he was not working at a drive-in. According to Wikipedia, Adams was inspired by his friends in the music industry:

When writing the lyrics, “Jimmy quit and Jody got married” Vallance suggested using, “Woody quit and Gordy got married”, referring to members of his high school band, but Adams wanted people he related to, as it was his song. Adams chose “Jimmy” as a reference to one of his early drummers, and “Jody” is a reference to Adams’ sound-manager, Jody Perpick, who got married during the album’s recording season.

So Adams was creating an idealized, fictionalized coming-of-age story very loosely inspired by real events. Adams was a Baby Boomer, but the kind of Baby Boomer who could really have a job at the drive-in during the Summer of 1969 would have to be at least 16, and probably more like 18. Many of the Baby Boomers in Adams’ audience were older than Adams and had their first jobs in 1969 – which probably played some part in the song’s popular appeal.

The song was well-liked by the Baby Boomer recording executives who wanted to portray the Baby Boomers as specially blessed, and 1969 as a special year to be treasured in eternal nostalgia. Perhaps Baby Boomers are not more deceptive than average, but they propagandize in favor of their generation, and most propaganda involves some deception.

The Baby Boomer yuppies glorified their place in history with songs such as “Summer of `69.” They persuaded themselves that they were more important than less fortunate people. And they are still in power in the USA. Ben Shalom Bernanke was born in 1953. Janet Yellen was born in 1946. These are the Baby Boomers who pull the strings of the USA. Given modern medicine, they may live long past 90 years of age – earning good pay, absorbed in self-glorification, and antithetical to the needs of the less-fortunate.

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