On Super Bowl Sunday, Mercedes-Benz released a new ad featuring Willem Dafoe as Satan trying to tempt a man to sell his soul for a new car (an offer the young man finally rejects). Apparently, there were a lot of Freemasons that noticed part of Dafoe's costume was a Freemason ring, and a few of them are pretty upset about it.
|Freemason ring without question...|
Is this the first time Freemasonry has been unfairly attacked? Of course not--that's been going on for as long as our Fraternity has existed. We should be used to it, and we should think a little more about how we respond to it. It seems to me we used to be smarter about this by refraining from responding to stupidity. We knew the truth, and traditionally, we don't waste a lot of time and energy trying defend ourselves against the attacks of detractors. There are always going to be critics, but there's much more important work for us to focus on.
And can this even be considered an attack? Let's be completely honest here--it wasn't a serious attack, because it wasn't a serious forum. It was a humorous television ad. It wasn't as if we were attacked by a major newspaper, or libeled in a 60 Minutes expose. Personally, I wasn't any more offended by that ad than I was when we were parodied by Homer Simpson when he became a Stonecutter, or when we were poked fun at again when Squidward Tentacles joined the Cephalopod Lodge.
I'm sure that Mercedes-Benz isn't at all unhappy that a huge controversy erupted over their ad, and lots and lots of people are watching it over and over again (over 5 million have viewed this YouTube version since Sunday). Thanks to a few of us pointing it out, many more had their attention drawn to one tiny detail that lasted all of maybe three seconds, in one ad, during a blizzard of ads on a Super Bowl Sunday. And I'm sorry, but I don't agree with those that believe Mercedes-Benz did it intentionally. If it were intentional it would have been more obvious--I saw the ad during the Super Bowl and didn't catch it. Later, when the controversy erupted, I watched it again. Do you know how many times I had to watch this ad before I was sure it was a Freemason ring? Did you catch it the first time? Would you have caught it if somebody hadn't pointed it out?
It's a natural reaction to push back against criticism, but all it does is draw more criticism--a lesson I've learned the hard way in my dealings with "Masonic conspiracy theorists" going back to when I published my first book. In the world we live in today, you can hardly say anything, or do anything without offending somebody. Everyone these days is hypersensitive to everything--age, race, religion, politics, cultural differences, sexual preference, etc. Perhaps Freemasons should set the example by employing one of those tenets that we so admire--toleration.