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.”

19 Comments

Filed under humor, Life, Media, Television

19 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.

  12. Are people really this dumb? The usage of “gay” in the Flintstones song means happy. The actual meaning of the word. It was bastardized to mean homosexual AFTER. This article is gay, and I don’t mean happy. PS, fck off.

  13. Mike Mussard

    I agree we must live in a tolerant world. But that tolerance should apply to everybody. Please look up the definition of the word gay and think to when the Flintstones song was written. The song was written not to slam gay people but use the original definition of the word gay meaning happy.

  14. When the flint stones first aired I was 6 years old and that to me meant have a happy time

  15. A conscientious ejector, to the political spin on good old fashioned American cartoons

    Why is it okay, or, “politically correct,” now days to attack any ideology that challenges, “old school.” values? The premise of The Flintstones cartoon was based on morals and values that are timeless. I don’t see why anyone would see any benefit in twisting and perverting, our grandparents values Can’t anything ever simply just be what it seems…A dream from once upon a time when people had way bigger issues to face and just needed a thirty minute escape. Honestly, it seems as if society has gotten so caught up in saving, “certain political groups,” we’ve forgotten about the average people who are also alone and hurting,yet are too ordinary to qualify for special treatment or political notice, America as a whole is suffering and hurting, so now is not the time to reinforce more divide. We have a responsibility to our elders to respect their ways and shouldn’t dishonor their beliefs. After all, we have them to thank for our progress. Yet we must remember,progress has a way of leading to our own demise if we’re not careful.
    While we can all benefit from being more tolerant we must never forget, America was founded upon freedom for all. Even those whose of us who see our grandparents and their values in a beloved childhood cartoon. Blessings and Love to all.

  16. Are you completely Ignorant to the original meaning of the word Gay?! When The Flintstones was made, originally Aired in 1960’s. Homosexuals were refered to as exactly that or ‘queer’. ‘Gay’ in polite society still meant it’s original meaning, to feel ‘happy’. So go away and grow up.

  17. riley leanord yarbray

    are you kidding me? IDIOTS. gay meant happy back then, only in the 20th century it was changed to mean homosexual. were talking about a 1960’s show, they used gay back then. you retards. i hope you read this and see how freaking stupid you are. how dare you change what once used to be a light hearted kids show into a pointless rant over how it says gay. i hope you guys read this and just know how much of a retard you are

  18. Mike

    Christmas song from 1877: Deck The Halls.
    “Don we now our gay apparel”
    Come on guys, do we have to rewrite this one too?

  19. This is obviously a spoof or a joke story like they have on the Onion. Come on people, lighten up!

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