Friday, September 12, 2008

Pop Culture and Freemasonry: National Treasure

National Treasure. Prod. Jerry Bruckheimer, Dir. Jon Turteltaub, Perf. Nicolas Cage, Diane Kruger, Justin Bartha. DVD. Walt Disney Pictures, 2004.

I have decided to bring up the movie that, in conjunction with the book, "The Da Vinci Code", has seemingly brought Freemasonry back from obscurity. National Treasure is a movie that combines the Masonic Fraternity with the theories of the Knights Templar and the Ancient Egyptians.

As I am sure that every person that is reading this blog has seen this movie at least once, I will take the analysis of this movie in a different direction. The movie concerns a lost treasure (similar to Oak Island) and the subsequent quest to recover it. How has the movie impacted Masonic discourse? I believe it has changed the way in which our Fraternity looks at itself. Before, Freemasonry was concerned primarily with the first two tenets, Brotherly Love and Relief. What had been missing was Truth. Young men coming to the Craft today are seeking the Truth in the form of symbolism, and secrecy that had once been equal to the other two beliefs but has lately been ignored or shelved in the interest of charity and fraternity.

When this movie came out, there was a dramatic shift, or to put it more correctly, a realignment of our Craft. Thankfully, Masonic education is now on the lips of brothers throughout the world. We are all seeking what has been lost. With this new focus on learning that has been encouraged, indirectly, through movies such as "National Treasure", we, as Lodges, must be willing to take a "softball" and knock it outta the park.

One of the best methods is to present a short presentation about Masonic history at every meeting, stated meeting or otherwise. These presentations need not be long. In fact, fifteen minutes is all you really need to get the brothers excited.

Even presenting this movie in Lodge can give brothers a reinvigorated sense of why they are Freemasons. For it is worth, this movie has helped present Freemasonry in a positive light and has encouraged brothers to reassess what Freemasonry is to them.


Tom Accuosti said...

I was WM when "The DaVinci Code" came out, so I organized a movie night. We met at a local pizza place, and took our wives/partners to dinner, then went to see the movie afterward. It was a nice evening, and those who hadn't read the book seemed to enjoy it.

I had read the book and wasn't impressed, but what the hell. They should make a movie out of "Foucault's Pendulum" but it's a long book and would end up being a 2-parter. And nobody would understand it, anyway.

Greg Stewart said...

Hey, this is part of the topic for this weeks pod-cast :D

I do think the film woke alot of people up to the fraternity, including brothers who saw it in a new light. A fictional light, but new all the same.

burntloafer said...

Nick - I really don't know where to post this, but I am going to leave it here. It deals with truth and perceptions among the world...

...My Sister and Brother-in-law were visiting us, but I was called to the SE area conference. We were all disappointed, because we enjoy each other's company. There was a lot of talk about 'secret societies' and costumes and old men behaving strangely. They could not understand why someone like me, who has been a notorious NON-joiner, would be taking a day off to go to anything Masonic. But, I took the good natured ribbing with a smile, and promised to be home by evening.

While I was away, they went to the Gopher game. During the halftime show, there were some announcements about people helping out the U of MN; My sister said that most people in the crowd were not too interested in the lists of thousand dollar gifts from so-and-so...

...but then, the announcer changed tone a bit and said that the Masons had just made the largest single donation in U of MN history - $65 MILLION to the Masonic Cancer Clinic! They said that the auditorium went a little crazy! Needless to say, they looked at Masonry a little differently by the time that I got home.

I am in no way claiming any bragging rights about the donation, but it was sure a different attitude around the supper table that night. Now my sister and her family have heard one more 'truth' about the Craft!