Two of Hanna-Barbera’s famous leading men sit down for an informal interview to discuss primal vs modern living, utopia vs dystopia, and human relationships in an age of connection and disconnection.
Fred Flintstone: Pleased to make your acquaintance, George!
George Jetson: Awesome to e-meet you, Fred!
Fred: So, we’ve been asked by some pretty talented animators to interview each other.
George: Yep! I’m psyched to see this on my news feed in a few hours…
Fred: Oh, it’ll probably take our stone carver a few months to get this out for distribution.
George: So, Fred. Where to begin this conversation? I think for me, I’m most fascinated by your primal lifestyle, and yet how many modern conveniences you still have at your fingertips. It seems you aren’t lacking any need or want, even though you live completely without our advanced technologies. How does that all work for you?
Fred: It works without a hitch, George. Our concept of “energy supply” is simply different than yours. I guess you could call our lifestyle “pre-industrial,” but we do have our own power and industry – everything is propelled by the strength and movement of animals and humans. We get around easily – our cars are made of stone, wood, and animal skins, and powered by passengers’ feet. We listen to tunes on a bird beak record player. We take showers with the aid of a friendly mastodon. Our city’s traffic grid features monkey lights at key intersections. I even have a new electric razor – compliments of a buzzing honey bee. Wilma takes care of our dishes with an octopus dishwasher, and so on. It’s a fully functioning metropolis.
George: But isn’t this challenging for you – To rely on animals and other humans to get everything done? Wouldn’t it be easier and faster to use robots and automated machines like we do?
Fred: Not at all. It’s really a matter of going back to the land — using what it provides to us organically, instead of making something synthetic and unnatural. Truly getting in touch with our ancestral roots and immersing ourselves in a culture of sustainability. We use every part of the animal and plant, so there’s no waste. It makes us feel good about our consumption, while keeping our economy strong, our unemployment rate low, and our society thriving.
George: Isn’t it a tremendous amount of physical labor? Just take your job as a bronto-crane operator.
Fred: We enjoy the physicality of it. Keeps us in shape and balanced. Cardio and weight-training is so important to keep the body functioning in harmony — helps to stave off disease, and prevent muscle atrophy. Barefoot running is also essential. It keeps us grounded, literally. Have you tried earthing? It’s vital to have a direct connection with the land every day. Plus, my job allows me an amazing workout built into my day, so I can come home and enjoy a hearty steak dinner without any guilt.
George: Oh, excellent. I’m glad you brought that up. I’d love you to talk about your Paleo diet. Are you doing this just because it’s trendy?
Fred: Being Paleo is most definitively not a trend for me or my family. It’s a lifestyle, a philosophy – a way of living, thinking, and interacting with the body, with the world, and with other people. It’s hard to separate “diet” from “life” for us, but in general yes, we do follow a “Paleo diet.” We eat real food that comes from real plants & animals, that we grow, source, and prepare ourselves. Nothing processed, just all natural, locally-sourced ingredients. There’s no “junk food” or “convenience food” — that’s not even in our vocabulary because that’s not how the body is meant to process nutrients. We have more energy and feel better for it.
George: No “convenience food!?” That’s impressive. So, I guess that means no processed sugars, chemical additives or artificial colors?
Fred: That’s correct. There’s no fake sweeteners, refined sugars, trans fats, nor modern oils. We eat plenty of high quality meat without any antibiotics or hormones injected. We also nourish ourselves with organ meats and bone marrow to keep our immune system strong. We really take care to minimize chemicals and toxins, particularly in our food supply, but also in our dwelling space and our environment. We live as pure and organic a lifestyle as possible, to support our individual health, and also the health of the planet.
George: Well, it seems like things are really good is Bedrock. Although I’m not sure how your lifestyle would fly here in Orbit City!
Fred: Yeah. I was thinking the same thing. Maybe this is a good point for me to turn the table and delve into YOUR world.
George: Go for it.
Fred: So, George, on the surface, your society appears to be a sort of futuristic utopia. What are some of the benefits of this smart tech era?
George: Interesting question. So, the upside is that we have a very fast-paced, productive, and entertaining lifestyle due to all our labor-saving technologies — moving sidewalks, smart cars, computerized tools and devices, robotic help at home and in the workplace. It’s definitely a time-saver and ultra convenient. All we need to do is push a couple of buttons, and dinner is on the table, clothes are washed, the car is folded up, the shopping is done, etc.
Fred: But, with all these push-button conveniences, intuitive software, and integrated communication devices, doesn’t something vital get lost in this visionary “tomorrowland?” I can’t help but sense an Orwellian dystopia lurking underneath your illustrious space age promises. I’m really talking about the “tech-ifcation” of your society.Where’s the authenticity? Where’s the connection in a world where digital screens and data-sharing devices stand between each and every human?
George: It’s something we don’t consciously think about, otherwise we’d all desperately want to relocate to Bedrock. But when you shine such a light on our society, I see what you mean. Most of my waking hours are spent video conferencing, or attempting to operate some sort of computer device that inevitably goes awry. My teenage daughter Judy is practically surgically attached to her video phone …. she lives on that thing! I can’t imagine she’s paying attention to anything happening around her. My young son Elroy is really into computerized gaming and drones — he’s never known a sandbox or a jungle gym. Plus, we live so high up, our feet never touch the earth anymore. Talk about disconnection and a lack of grounding!
Fred: I was going to mention that in particular. Your houses are sky-high, and you’re surrounded by digital signals wherever you go — your home, your work, your restaurants, your stores, your transport systems, your sidewalks — you’ve even got wearable technology now! Aren’t you at least moderately concerned about what this unrelenting barrage of wireless signals and radiation is doing to your body? It’s got to take a toll on your nervous system, hormone regulation, brain development, and cell reproduction.
George: Yes, actually, I am concerned about that. Particularly for my kids who are growing up with glowing screens, 3D printed food, and virtual communities. They’ve never known anything other than that. I wonder how this is affecting our ability to think, analyze, concentrate and process information. We certainly have become a fully automated society. And now as technology becomes a literal extension of who we are, how we move, how we function, etc, we can do more things, faster and better. But at what cost to our bodies, our ecosystem, and our human relationships?
Fred: Well, maybe you should consider incorporating some Bedrockian principles into your Orbit City lifestyle?
George: I was just thinking that.
William Hanna: Hey guys, time to wrap up! We’ve got all the info and content we need for our article.
Joseph Barbera: And I think our viewers get the take-away message now.
Fred: Happy to help, guys! George, it was a pleasure.
George: Likewise, Fred. Ok, I am powering down now.