Few things make Takoma Park resident Marty Kramer, 52, write a letter to the editor of The Washington Post. One was in response to an article about Metro fares. The other, of course, was to defend Fred Flintstone’s character after sports columnist Sally Jenkins compared him to Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens running back who the NFL recently suspended for two games after he allegedly knocked his wife unconscious in an Atlantic City casino.
Kramer’s second letter went viral, thanks to this tweet.
WaPo Letter to the Editor of the day pic.twitter.com/L3NnApPKc3
— Kevin Reiss (@kevin_reiss) July 31, 2014
“It just shows you how many people were really affected by this show,” Kramer says. “[Fred's] just an every-man. He’s just a guy trying to make his way in the world,” Kramer adds. He remembers watching the cartoon almost daily while growing up in the Bronx. It wasn’t just funny, he remembers, but also a testament to family values.
“[Fred] goes to work and is just trying to spend time with his wife and his dinosaur,” Kramer says. As a communications director for an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, Kramer relates to Flintstone’s view of family.
“I always appreciate and love my wife [like Flintstone],” Kramer explains. He admits that at times Flintstone is capable of “blowing his top” when it came to dealings with Wilma’s mother, but it never resulted in anything violent. “I should add, I don’t have any problems with my mother-in-law,” says Kramer.
But what about Barney? Is he a better comparison to Rice?
“No,” Kramer answers resolutely. “Barney and Betty were friends and good neighbors. They represented what a neighborhood should be.”
But what about Bamm-Bamm? After all, he got his name for his penchant toward violence.
“He’s always clubbing things, but he’s never actually clubbing anybody,” Kramer points out. “I don’t think it had anything to do with domestic violence.”
In fact, when pressed to think of a cartoon character that would be a better comparison to Rice, Kramer couldn’t think of one, either in the Flintstones (Kramer even defended Mr. Slate!) or any other popular cartoon. Instead, he suggested the best comparison Jenkins could’ve made was to a generic caveman.
Kramer then recalled one of his favorite Flintstones episodes. The family vacations at the Grand Canyon, which the show hilariously depicts in prehistoric times as a tiny trickle of water in a small crevice in the prehistoric ages. No one was knocked unconscious on that vacation.
UPDATE: Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins responds:
Apologies. I cast aspersions on Fred Flintstone, slab-haired champ of the working man, hero of Bedrock.
— Sally Jenkins (@sallyjenx) July 31, 2014