When I was a boy in the 60’s my two favorite cartoons were the popular Flintstones and Jetsons. While Hanna-Barbera Studios produced both, the Flintstones was “the modern stone-age family” while the Jetsons was the “space-age” family of the future. Ironically though, both families were really tongue in cheek reflections of 1960’s lifestyle and values.
The Flintstones had all of the 60’s lifestyle expectations, with Stone Age veneers. Their stone wheel cars would roll up to the drive-in restaurant so they could order a “bronto-burger.” Their humble abode in the Town of Bedrock resembled the low cost post WWII housing which accompanied the suburban sprawl or the 50’s and 60’s. Even their appliances such as garbage disposals and hairdryers ran on the power of prehistoric looking animals. The Jetsons on the other hand had flying cars, excessive gadgetry and robotic servants to help ease their life in cloud scraping hi-rise apartments. Almost prophetically every time saving convenience had a screen accompanied by robotic voices that sounded like alien invaders in 60’s sci-fi movies.
Just like the Flintstones, the Jetsons sported 60’s style hairdos and reflected the aspirations and mores of the decade. The women did not work and the men did everything possible to avoid work. Though the Flintstones represented the blue-collar family and the Jetsons the white-collar family, their mode of operation and goals were identical. So is there a lesson that can be gleaned by observing the relationship between the Flintstones and the Jetsons? I think there is, and I believe it to be profound. When we speak of what was or what can be, we can only reflect what we have already known and have experienced. We reconstruct the past and reframe the future based upon our experience of the present. Read more »