Outrage Over The Flintstones “Gay Old Time”

This week, public outcry reached deafening levels as the classic ABC animated sitcom The Flintstones was lambasted for its perceived intolerance and insensitivity towards homosexuals and their lifestyles. The uproar was largely unexpected, considering how long any Flintstones treatment of the issue would have already been on record.

“For over a half century now, The Flintstones theme song has cavalierly touted that when you’re with them you will have a ‘gay old time,’” CNN anchor Anderson Cooper said on the air Tuesday.  “This sort of flip treatment of the homosexual lifestyle, and that it could possibly apply to a family in the stone age, is offensive and outrageous.  What are they trying to say about the homosexual community?  That it is for neanderthals?  For cavemen?  How can any reasonable person not be mortified when they hear this song?”

The piling on Fred, Wilma, Barney and the gang got worse when Cooper appeared on “The View” Thursday morning.  When co-host Whoopi Goldberg asked Cooper if he felt the beloved cartoon show was damaging to young people struggling with their sexuality, he responded, “Almost without question.  With the recent surge of suicides among gay teenagers, where might they turn for guidance and understanding, for sympathy and information?  To television, naturally, which has long been a beacon for learning and knowledge and truth.  And then imagine what they find in the town of Bedrock – in itself a pretty lewd reference for a children’s program, no? – but rampant mockery at their expense!  It’s indefensible and shocking.  We should all be striving for more acceptance and sensitivity, and instead The Flintstones are spitting in the collective homosexual face.”

Some have questioned whether this reaction by Cooper, and subsequently a large number of other pundits and advocates, may have been a bit too extreme. A spokesman for Warner Brothers animation (which controls the rights to original Flintstones production company Hanna-Barbera’s catalog of programs) defended The Flintstones, saying it is merely a reference to the harmless fun the audience will have watching the characters antics.  This led to biting commentary across the media spectrum, with responses ranging from “What?  ‘You’ll have a swell old time’ didn’t occur to anyone?” to “Intolerance is intolerance no matter how sparkly and fun the outer shell appears” to “They might as well have called Fred and Barney faggots, their meaning is crystal clear.”

Anti-Flintstones, anti-Hanna-Barbera rhetoric began to crowd the blogosphere, adding more vitriol to the chorus of disgust.  Character design and voicework were called into question, with everyone from Mr. Slade to the Great Gazoo falling under the microscope.  The flamboyant Snagglepuss was criticized for being “the worst sort of of gay pink mountain lion stereotype,” while The Flintstones sister show The Jetsons also came under scrutiny primarily for what was deemed “a sad and disturbing portrayal of a 24th Century butch robot maid.”

Wildly inappropriate Googling

These posts led to a brief uptick in searches for sapphic anime porn involving Betty Rubble, Judy Jetson, and even the more fringe character Penelope Pitstop, before dying down to normal levels by week’s end.

Cooper went on the offensive again to round out the week, expanding his criticism of the modern stone age family on WZLZ radio in Tulsa Friday morning.

“This sort of bigotry cannot just be ignored, whether it was produced fifty years ago or a thousand years ago.  This is why we now cover the reports of gay suicide every chance we get, instead of just ignoring and burying news reports of it as we have for time immemorial.  The issue is now, is of the moment, is hot news, if you will.  And I for one will not let this instance just slide into that massive pile of gay intolerance that has been allowed to build in Hollywood.  The Flintstones are culpable for their actions, whether they are backward, ignorant cave dwellers or not.”

Intolerant homophobes?

Finally caving (no pun intended)  in response to the growing media frenzy, Warner Brothers Animation announced this morning it would be removing the line from the legendary theme song, and replacing it with a further series of nonsense sounding words – including variations of “Yabba,” “Dabba,” and more than likely but not exclusively “Doo.”

11 Comments

Filed under humor, Life, Media, Television

11 responses to “Outrage Over The Flintstones “Gay Old Time”

  1. Munch

    Anderson Cooper has clearly gone too far!!

  2. Anderson Pooper

    Uh, dumbass… the word GAY has roots before it was a reference to homosexuals. It means, to be happy. Idiot.

  3. Jeff Fleming

    That’s so gay.

  4. Heh. Cooper is speaking tongue in cheek…obviously, to those with an IQ above that of a cocoanut.

    There’s an apocryphal story that “gay” was removed from the lyrics of “The Flintstones” them for one of the later animated movies due to the evolution of the word in mainstream culture, but I can’t find any credible source that verifies this. Fact is, this isn’t really a liberal issue at all – “gay” in this meaning has been with us in the mainstream for the better part of the 20th century – but it’s a major bone to pick for social conservatives. For example, they’ve gone out their way to change phrases such as “don we now our gay apparel” in the familiar Christmas carol to avoid “tainting” young ears.

  5. I did not hear him make those comments so I can’t judge whether it was said in jest or not but quite honestly after reading this I feel like I have somehow stepped into the Twilight Zone.

    To be honest I would not be surprised if he were serious. Why? Because far too many times in the recent past I have seen people who are obviously intelligent say things like Mr.Cooper did and they were not joking. They judge old TV shows from a modern day perspective. You see this all the time on the IMDB discussion boards when you search for old movies or TV shows.SOME of them have legit complaints, but others do things like accuse the 3 Stooges of being gay because there are many scenes where you see all three of them sleeping in the same bed. That was normal for that era. Many people back then could not afford to buy a bed for everyone in the family so everyone slept in one bed. Houses were heated by wood or coal stoves that the fire would die out in overnight and you’d wake up to a freezing house. Having many people in the same bed with you kept the bed warm in the winter but was miserable in the summer.

    I was a kid when the Flintstones first came on TV. The word ‘Gay’ back then meant happy and feeling good.

  6. Ayelet

    Mr. Cooper… Stop that SILLY!

  7. alkh3myst

    What about Hank Williams, when he wrote “Jambalaya”? This outrageous homophobia has to be stopped! (irony alert)

  8. Hi. I just wanted you to know that I linked back to your story from my blog here: http://myyourhusbandisgay.tumblr.com/letsbegayaboutgay.
    I love your site and your writing. thanks for what you do.

    – The Digital Dorkette

  9. Big Cheese

    I stopped reading at “television… has long been a beacon for learning and knowledge and truth.”

  10. I don’t remember the last time I was so effectively trolled. Thank God I verified before running to Facebook :p

  11. Homosexuals have hijacked theword gay. Homosexuals are not gay they are sad.

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