Tag Archives: Dino Flintstone

Completing My Goofy Election Trilogy: ‘Dinosaur Primary’ Joins Prequels About Babies and Superheroes

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was one of many 2016 presidential candidates to participate in the "Dinosaur Primary," my ambitious quest to photograph the next President of the United States with my favorite childhood cartoon. Sadly, Sen. Rubio did not recognize Dino Flintstone.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) was one of many 2016 presidential candidates to participate in the “Dinosaur Primary,” my ambitious quest to photograph the next President of the United States with my favorite childhood cartoon. Sadly, Sen. Rubio did not recognize Dino Flintstone.

After reading today’s “Dinosaur Primary” photo essay in The Atlantic, longtime friends will immediately recognize a pattern.

During the 2012 New Hampshire Primary, I chronicled my then 9-year-old son’s “Superhero Primary.” He asked all the candidates if they could be any superhero in the world, which one would they be and why.

During the 2012 Superhero Primary, Ari Garnick discussed the perils of kryptonite and the 9-9-9 economic plan with Republican Herman Cain.

During the 2012 Superhero Primary, Ari Garnick discussed the perils of kryptonite and the 9-9-9 economic plan with Republican Herman Cain.

During the 2008 New Hampshire Primary, I photographed my then 5-month-old daughter with candidates for the “Baby Primary.” Many people commented that they could tell a lot about each White House hopeful’s personality by how they held a baby.

Hillary Clinton participates in Dahlia Garnick's 2008 "Baby Primary."

Hillary Clinton participates in Dahlia Garnick’s 2008 “Baby Primary.”

So why have I abandoned my kids in favor of a lifeless stuffed animal this time around? Simple. I still try to broaden my kids’ horizons with new experiences – but Dino is far more patient when it comes to listening to speeches about social security reform.

And as you can see from the above mix of pics (remember Herman Cain?!), these photo projects are all bipartisan and apolitical.



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Filed under Election 2008, Election 2012, Election 2016, New Hampshire Primary, politics

Hedging My Bets: Newt Gingrich and Dino Flintstone

Newt and Callista Gingrich cuddle with Dino Flintstone on the 2012 presidential campaign trail.

Now that Newt Gingrich has romped in the South Carolina Primary, I’m grateful that I hedged my bets this political season in my quest to get the 2012 Republican nominee for President to pose with Dino Flintstone.

As faithful “Culture Schlock” readers know, GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney had waxed nostalgic about Dino while he was basking in the endorsement glow of New Hampshire’s junior U.S. Senator, Kelly Ayotte.

With the international media scrum outnumbering actual voters by 6:1, I boldly cornered Newt on New Hampshire Primary Day during his visit to the polls outside a Merrimack elementary school.  Here’s how the conversation went down:

Me: Mr. Gingrich, it’s a proud New Hampshire tradition that whoever poses with Dino Flintstone, wins the Primary!

Newt: (smirks and poses) You just made that tradition up, didn’t you?

Me: Absolutely!

Mrs. Gingrich had no comment on Dino, despite her husband’s well-known fascination with dinosaurs (he used to have a T-Rex skull in his office) and wild animals.

New Hampshire Primary third place finisher Jon Huntsman takes a moment on the most important day of his life to bond with Dino.

I gave the same pitch to Jon Huntsman as he was rushing away from a series of radio interviews late in the afternoon on Primary Day. He humored me by posing, saying “Well, then, I guess I should be part of the tradition,” but I got the sense that he thought it was quicker to pose and move past me than to just say no. He was in a huge rush.

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Filed under Dino Flintstone, Election 2012, politics

Mitt Flintstone: Does the next Commander-in-Chief need to know about cartoons?

With the world watching, Mitt Romney makes eye contact with Dino.

Mitt Romney holds Dino like he's doing a laundry detergent commercial.

Mitt Romney boldly looks off into the distance, giving Dino hope about the future.

Mitt Romney can’t catch a break.

New York Magazine mocks him for never having a hair out of place, recently kicking it up a notch with “The Many Hair Styles of Mitt Romney” slideshow (they all look the same to me, no Hillary Clinton headbands in the mix).

TIME Magazine just came out with its future Mitt Romney Presidential Library contribution: the WHY DON’T THEY LIKE ME? cover.

And “Cheerleader Mitt,” an innocuous YouTube clip I just posted of Mitt leading a cheer about himself, has attracted some hostile commentary only seconds after going live.

I’m not ready to bestow the coveted “Culture Schlock” endorsement on any candidates yet, but I don’t understand the intensity of the “Anyone But Mitt” movement.  He is one of the few Republicans running in the New Hampshire Primary who is NOT a nutcake. And at a recent campaign stop outside a local diner, I found Romney to be extremely likeable.

He was handing out free BLT sandwiches and posing for pictures with voters, basking in the afterglow of U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte‘s endorsement.  I don’t eat BLTs and can’t easily be bribed (it takes at least a lamb skewer to get my vote). On a lark, I stuck a stuffed animal in Romney’s face and asked him to pose. In a deep over-the-top newscaster voice, I said: “Governor, how about a picture of you and Dino Flintstone?”

He paused quizzically and then just rolled with it. “Ah, the Flintstones…” he sighed as if he were reminiscing about an old girlfriend. “I remember watching the very first episode!”  As you can see from the photos above (taken on regular shutter speed, not the sports setting), Romney lingered a bit with Dino and seemed to enjoy the moment.  Surely, it was a heckuva lot more preferable than answering another question on ObamaCare or RomneyCare.

My friend Ilya asked him a tough question about Guns N’ Roses.  And to Romney’s credit, he didn’t pull a Hillary Clinton “Number One Yankees Fan” moment. He admitted he wasn’t that familiar with the music and offered Ilya a BLT sandwich as a consolation prize.  Had he picked a random song like “Welcome to the Jungle,” just to have an answer, it would have been pandering and just plain embarrassing.

I learned this the hard way.

In Sixth Grade, I used to doodle the AC/DC and Led Zeppelin logos on my notebooks and grocery bag book covers because I thought it would look cool. If I could go back into time and change one thing in my life, it would be that. My friends would have still respected me if I had scribbled Steely Dan and Foreigner. And if they didn’t, that would have been an invaluable life lesson.

But back to Romney.  Do I think people should vote for him because he’s now trying extra hard to be fun and bantery on the campaign trail?

Of course not. But if I were putting in grueling 14-18 hour days shaking hands with sweaty strangers, I think having a sense of humor about it would keep me sane.

Besides, I kinda want a Commander-in-Chief who has seen every Flintstones episode.


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Filed under Election 2012, Flintstones, Political Satire

Google, I Yabba Dabba Love You!

Google's logo-blending tribute to the Flintstone's 50th Anniversary!

I was once scolded by the boss for having a plastic dinosaur on my desk (a Jurassic Park raptor).

Here’s one of the most powerful companies in the world blending their logo with The Flintstones!

Employers of the world, please take note…

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Oh yeah, I have a son, too!


That’s my 5-year-old boy, Ari, at the polls on New Hampshire Primary voting day.

He had the honor of marking my ballot and feeding it into the machine, although I retained my right to pick my favorite candidate (Clue: Does not rhyme with Shmavel).

With all this global media attention unexpectedly focused on my baby girl, a casual observer might conclude that Ari has been replaced by a younger, more media-savvy sibling. Nothing could be further from the truth.

My 5-year-old boy demonstrates an extraordinary grasp on politics (he recently asked why Tom Tancredo quit his bid for president before the NH results, asking: “That doesn’t make any sense. Aren’t you always supposed to try your best?”).

But he is a 5-year-old boy and is tough to keep still during three hour forums on social security benefits and tax reform.

Here was a precious opportunity to combine a romp in the snow with an “ambush” of New Hampshire Primary winner John McCain. If you’re curious, yes that is a Dino Flintstone doll in the picture with the guys.


The media response to my “Baby Primary” photo essay for Slate Magazine has been overwhelming and astounding. Floating amidst a tidal wave of positive support, have been a few morons who have questioned my parenting skills and have accused me of “exploitation” of the baby. All I can say is that I would have been absolutely thrilled if my parents had thrust me into the arms of a grumpy LBJ or Richard Nixon.


Oh, there is one more ridiculous accusation I would like to address — Wow, this is becoming just like real politics!

I did not “steal” this idea from “some guy in Iowa.” Yes, there are lots of parents who have taken pictures of their children with politicians. I suspect the kissing babies thing goes at least as far as Teddy Roosevelt (can a presidential historian help me out here?)

I started my photography on Labor Day 2007, and really in 2003 if you count my son’s political pictures as part of the project. Mike McNarney and his wife Lauren Roth started photographing Baby William in Iowa in December. And in fact, they managed to wrap up everything (plus a Chelsea Clinton bonus) in just a week!

I’m somewhat jealous they captured the elusive Fred Thompson, the only candidate who I couldn’t nab because of his anti-Granite State attitudes (can we call it anti-Granitism?).


I met Mike and Lauren over the phone and we wholeheartedly support each other’s projects. Aside from gender, the only real difference between my photos and theirs is that mine feature the baby in the arms of the candidates. Baby William is always in the hands of his mother or father, with the notable exception of cuddly Bill Clinton.

Babies are unpredictable and force the candidate to respond outside the usual stiff cardboard pose. Personally, I don’t think it reflects poorly if a guy holds a baby like a football. Because that’s how I was before I became a father!

In any case, neither Mike nor I invented the baby photo-op. Nor did we invent the camera.

I encourage every parent who shares our fun-spirited sensibilities to take your children to a campaign event or two!


Filed under Election 2008, Family, Parenting, politics, The Baby Primary