Freemasonry in Pop Culture
Being the world's oldest and most prestigious fraternity, Freemasonry is not without its references and satire in pop culture. Since the creation of film and television, there has been no shortage of calling to Freemasonry, either direct or indirect.
In television, two of the more famous examples of this are "The Architect Sketch"
by Monty Python, and The Simpsons episode titled "Homer the Great"
. In each of these shows, the Freemasons are represented as a secret club with bizarre handshakes and rituals, and sometimes absurd tendencies. While almost none of it is true, they do poke fun at the fraternity successfully. Ask a Mason about the Simpsons episode and he will surely break out into the "Stonecutters" song "We Do" that was featured in the episode. It is all taken very light-heartedly.
The episode as well as "The Architect Sketch" imply a number of different benefits and rituals exist in Freemasonry. Homer's plumbing problems went from something he had to live with to being fixed within seconds, and while he was sitting in traffic a boulder opened up a secret highway for him to take to work. He was also initiated into the Stonecutters by a series of rituals involving paddles. "The Architect Sketch" implied bizarre handshakes as well as Masons jumping down the street with their pants around their ankles as a matter of course. All of these things are of course, untrue - save for the fact that there are many benefits to being a Freemasoon, including the fact that you get to know so many people with different occupations and skillsets.
Film has seen its fair share of Masonic refences and sometimes outright fantasies. Although many times these films aren't the truth, they're often a fun and fantastic look into the history of the world. We're talking about of course, the "National Treasure"
movies. The movies told a tale of the greatest treasure anyone could imagine - too big in fact for any one man to own - and as a way of assuring no one man would, the Freemasons made sure to hide it forever, and make it a secret known only to its most savvy brothers. Although it is indeed fantasy, these movies are really very entertaining and from a Masonic standpoint - they do promote history in general, and for that it should be commended.
For a more accurate depiction of Freemasonry, you might want to watch "The Man Who Would Be King"
. Much of the dialogue and mentions of the fraternity are accurate, or close to accurate, and it happens to be a great film. It stars Michael Caine and Sean Connery.
Lastly, worth mentioning is "The Lost Symbol"
and other books by Dan Brown. They have become extremely popular and are very well written books. There is a plethora of both truth and ficion in Dan Brown's books. Too much to cover here. If you're wondering about a fact you read in one of his books, check out the Fact or Fiction?