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August 26, 2004

Slang of the Week: yippie (noun)
A member of the Youth International Party, which was founded in the late sixties and formally named in 1968

My neighbor was a yippie in the sixties, but now he’s on the board of IBM.

Celebrity quote:
“Whether you’re a hippie, yippie, yuppie, buppie, whatever — this war’s wrong,”
Tylon Washington, Co-president, Black Waxx Recordings, on the Iraqi conflict

Yuppie, which first appeared in the early 1980s, is short for “young upwardly-mobile (or urban) professional” and is most often associated with shallow city dwellers interested primarily in making money. Buppie is the African American version (black upwardly-mobile professional). And hippies, who came before these, were people in the sixties who rejected mainstream culture and were often associated with long hair and drugs.

According to Abbie Hoffman, one the original yippies, the difference between his group and hippies was that yippies were political. They were especially famous for theatrical demonstrations, including burning money at the New York Stock Exchange and “raising” the Pentagon building in a pagan ceremony to protest the Viet Nam War. But their most newsworthy event is worth revisiting, given the current political climate regarding organized protest.

In August of 1968, at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, yippies organized a huge demonstration in Lincoln Park. Police used tear gas and many protestors were beaten. Nearly 600 people were arrested. Hoffman and seven other organizers, including Jerry Rubin and Tom Hayden, were arrested for crossing state lines to start a riot, resulting in one of the most circus-like trials of the twentieth century. Hayden went on to become a senator for California and was at the DNC in Boston last month, speaking against the occupation of Iraq.

The group seems to be making a comeback – it has filed for a permit to have an event called “The John Lennon Abbie Hoffman Memorial Camporee” in a New York City park during the Republican National Convention this month. “We know the mayor likes to inhale, so we will have a spliff (marijuana cigarette) waiting for him if he decides to leave his mansion,” says modern-day yippie John Penley.

What’s new at Slang City?
What smells like poo-poo-poo? It must be Roses, from our Standard English translation of the song by Outkast. (Warning: contains some offensive language.)