Wilma, played by Elizabeth Perkins, whornis too attractive and sexy for the role. Arnfight ensues when Wilma confronts Fredrnover the disappearance of their savings.rnFred, hostile at first, wilts under a littlernpressure from Wilma and reveals thatrnhe has given their savings to the Rubblesrnso they can adopt a child. Wilma forgivesrnFred because of his sacrifice forrntheir friends. Barney vows to repay Fredrnfor his kindness.rnThere is no need to rehash a plot inrnwhich Barney engineers Fred’s promotionrnto the corporate headquarters,rnwhere he is made the pawn of an embezzlementrnscheme that requires himrnto fire Barney. The friendship betweenrnthe Flintstones and the Rubbles deteriorates.rnMoney and status turn the headsrnof Fred and Wilma, while the Rubblesrnlanguish without job and home.rnSensitive Wilma in the end saves Fredrnfrom his ego and from a lynch mob. Atrnthe finale, Fred awakens to his real treasure,rnhis family. “I was always the richestrnman in the world. I just never knew it.”rnAll the corporate types in the film arernpresented in populist cliche, as greedyrnand conniving enemies of the workingrnman.rnIn the original Flintstones, and in thernHoneymooners on which the charactersrnof Fred and Wilma were based, therernwas real tension. Fred and Wilma foughtrnhard, Wilma with sarcasm and stoic resolvernand Fred with fits of temper andrnverbal bluster. The moral to their storyrnwas that family members may dischargernthe animus of struggle that fuels frustrationrnand regret without loss of affection.rnIn this new movie, there is no demonicrndimension to Fred the man. Wilma alwaysrncows him after his initial salvo. Fredrnis easily reduced to simpering sentimentality.rnIn one scene, he cries buckets onrnhearing a corny poem written in tributernto him by Barney.rnWhat John Goodman represents isrnnot Fred but his own persona of bovinernaffability that Americans have come tornexpect in his performances. Barney, onrnthe other hand, is simply Mr. Nice Guy.rnThe quality that made Eld Norton in thernHoneymooners and Barney in the Flintstonesrninteresting was the naive complexityrnof authentic fools, alwaysrnbungling but sometimes wise in spite ofrnthemselves. This new version of Barneyrnis a Mr. Rogers clone. What the film impliesrnis that these are the acceptablerntypes of men. Choose between the saccharinernniceness of Mr. Rogers and thernlaughable machismo of Fred Flintstone.rnAmerica wants nothing to fear hom itsrnmen, lest the imperious man rear hisrnhead and regain control of his family,rnhis community, and the reins of government.rnThe women of the new Flintstonesrnare no threat either. Wilma driftsrnalong barely conscious, and Betty, playedrnby Rosie O’Donnell, is hardly noticeablernexcept for her chipmunk laugh.rnJohn Goodman, in an interview withrnPatrick Stoner, said that the Flintstones’rnappeal results from the nostalgia of arn50’s mindset. Actually, the movie is arn90’s attempt to describe a simplicity ofrngender relations that we hnd quaint in arnfunny sort of way, because we are watchingrnfrom the standpoint of the liberatingrnsophistication of the 1960’s. We want tornmake the Flintstones and the Rubbles asrnshallow as possible, for to think of themrnotherwise might lead us to some conclusionsrnabout the sexes that would disturbrnour sleep. There are no real menrnand women in the Flintstones. The lessonrnis that, if we all give our naturalrngoodness a chance to express itself, werncan all become nice human beings.rn—Gary F. VejvodarnAPRIL will be long over when vou readrnthis, but what an amazingly fecund 30rndays it was this year. April was “ChildrnAbuse Prevention Month.” The firstrnweek of April was “Read Aloud Week,”rnthe last week was National Library Week,rnthe 28th was “Take Our Daughters tornWork Day” (which was very hard on us,rnbeing the parents of four boys), andrnthe last day was the beginning of “CleanrnAir Week.” What an embarrassment ofrnriches! I do not want to know whorncomes up with all of these importantrnevents, but it is probably someonernsalaried by the taxpayers.rnBut I can tell you one thing: I absolutelyrnrefused to read aloud to my kidsrnthat week. And another thing: I preventrntheir abuse not just one month of thernyear, but all 12, by keeping them out ofrnthe public school system. I also censorrnwhat they check out at the library. AndrnI think I will smoke a cigarette sometimernduring Clean Air Week, evenrnthough I gave it up 17 years ago.rnWhat kind of stupidity is all this “declared”rnhogwash? Do people really payrnattention to this rot and read aloud torntheir kids simply because the paper reportedrnon this fatuous nonsense? Werernwe supposed to be extra vigilant in Aprilrnand report our neighbors when we sawrnthem swat little Johnnie (or Joannie),rnwhom we consider to be a brat and welldeservingrnof that and more?rnMaybe the “abuse” we were reallyrnmeant to prevent in April was that ofrnour “inner child.” (These are ambiguousrntimes.) Maybe April was the month thatrnwe were supposed to go out and buy ourrn”child” that new dress the evil parentrnpromised she would buy but never did,rnthus scarring us for life (especially if onernwas a male child!).rnAs if all of the above was not enough,rnI discovered that another high holy dayrnfalls in April. No, not Easter. I am talkingrnabout Earth Day. But we here inrnColorado, the State of Hate, don’t justrncelebrate Earth Day. We have EarthrnWeek. Aside from a lot of “acoustic”rnsingers (as opposed to what, the deafrnsigning to “We are the World”?) and thernobligatory tree planting, I think my favoriternwas a “dumpster dive”; peoplernwere asked to rummage through arndumpster “to remove all things that canrnbe recycled.” (Black tie required.)rnIn the Earth Week ’94 supplement tornthe paper, we were also given tips forrnrecycling. A very timely one was “DocumentrnDestruction: for confidentialrndocuments.” So we can see that our esteemedrnPresident and his main squeezernwere just being “green” about all thatrnboring Whitewater stuff. Shredding isrnde rigueur and so very sensitive to ourrnMother. It turns thousands of sheets ofrndamning evidence into millions of innocentrnlittle worms of paper. The ultimaternin recycling would be to dye themrnin lovely earth tones and sell them forrnEaster baskets next year. Who knows,rnyou might be the first on your block tornget a peek at the Vince Foster files,rnburied oh so carefully under carobrnbunnies, free range eggs, and rice syruprncandies. Happy Easter!rnWith summer coming so quickly onrnthe heels of Earth Month, there werernalso important ads about the evils ofrnsending grass clippings to the landfill,rnwhere they supposedly take up 17 percentrnof the space. Not organic enough,rnI guess. No, if you are to be regarded asrnanything other than an insensitive consumerrnof the goddess Gaia, you mustrnnow mulch. Mulching involves spendingrnup to one thousand dollars on a newrnmower. “We are gradually getting betterrnand better at recycling, but we need tornencourage people to use less [sic] of thernrecyclable products in the first place,”rnNOVEMBER 1994/9rnrnrn