Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You Must Mean Someone Else

Okay, so I am still writing up stuff, especially now that it’s summer.

I had an interesting thought during my Lodge’s dark period. I was watching a show on TV and decided to “research“ the people on Wikipedia. Funny thing was, as I was going down the lead’s Wikipedia page, I noticed an interesting entry about the lead. He was, in fact, a Freemason. The entry was even sourced with a link to an article in a prominent paper with a named source naming this particular brother.

This leads to my question: are we using their fame for our own gains? We talk about George Washington, Ben Franklin, and FDR, but we also name drop brothers like Ernest Borgnine who are still alive.

I have certain misgivings about name dropping. Certainly I’m proud to know that there are many famous brothers but sometimes I wonder if we should call them out as our brother. In England, our Masonic brothers are distrusted. It’s a sad existence but it just is what it is. In the United States, we don’t have that problem (well, maybe a little). However, is it still wrong to name them?

Is there a way to discuss both the famous members of our Fraternity as well as to protect their privacy? Do we have to wait until the brother has passed away to discuss his and our fraternal bond? Am I being overly cautious? What are your thoughts?


Anonymous said...

I think our rush to identify successful men as brothers is, in some part, indicative of a certain misplaced arrogance we have as an institution about our role in that success. How can we say that it's the inner man that matters when we loudly proclaim members that achieve worldly fame? We beat the Geo. Washington horse to death, but, as S. Brent Morris likes to point out, we conveniently forget that Benedict Arnold was also a Freemason. I believe we should not be so quick to point out a man as a brother. It's cheap PR that goes against our reason for being.

burntloafer said...

Of course, even Benedict Arnold had a good side, and it is quite a story. Chris Hodapp just posted about it over on the For-Dummies website.

However, I drop names all the time.

And hey - I *know* Nick Johnson, so I can do that!

Mark Robbins said...

It depends a lot on who the Mason is. Ill. Borgnine, 33° G.C., is quite proud of his membership and talks about it openly.

We need to be careful though. I would have hated to trumpet the membership of Michael Richards (Seinfeld's Kramer) just before his racist rant was all over YouTube!

Anonymous said...

It depends on the reason we're doing it. I did a post ages ago about Mel Blanc. It wasn't done to brag. It was done because I've enjoyed his work on radio and in cartoons for as long as I can remember and think it's cool he's also a Mason.

And, for some of us, Benedict Arnold was on the correct side.