Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mercedes-Benz, The Devil, And Freemasonry


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...
They want the ad pulled.  They want an apology from Mercedes-Benz.  They're writing blogs about it, and signing petitions, and issuing threats that Freemasons aren't going to buy Mercedes-Benz cars (I'm glad they feel as if they can speak for our entire membership--it's not as if we are known as freethinkers or anything).  I don't know how many emails I've gotten asking my opinion about it.  And I'm more than happy to freely share that opinion with you--who cares? 

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.

~TEC

8 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Well said! ...and to quote another author, "...the man doth protest too much!" Criticisms of the Fraternity have been and always will be just that. No amount of protests will make it better, if anything worse. Continuing the goal of good men being the best they can be will win the argument in the end with much longer lasting results.

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    1. Thank you--I've always believed it important to keep your eye on the prize.

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  3. Merceded-Benz has apologized and claims they will modify the ad, so it seems to be a win-win situation; M-B got a viral response, and upset Freemasons got their due.

    Next internet uproar, please.

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    1. Well wouldn't you apologize too if you were faced with being internationally barred from pancake breakfasts? It was only a matter of time before they caved. :-)

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    2. Please show me and other were they apologized? I have look for a Press Release from Mercedes-Benz and the New York ad agency who created "Soul" Merkley and Partners and could not find it.. So there for they have not apologized

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    3. Good point, Terry. I see the story about the apology a few places like:

      http://grailseekers.blogspot.com/2013/02/mercedes-benz-makes-offical-apology-for.html

      But I don't see it sourced in any of those stories, and I don't find anything about it in any legitimate news feeds...

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  4. This is a private msg from Mercedes Benz USA Facebook to me:
    Kary,

    We apologize to anyone offended by the use of the ring worn in our commercial, 'Soul,' that ran during the Super Bowl.

    It was not our intention to make any association with the Freemasons or any organization. In fact, neither we nor our advertising agency were aware that the ring could be associated with the Freemasons. To avoid any confusion going forward, we will be modifying the commercial.

    Due to time constraints associated with editing, you will see an updated version of this commercial appear on YouTube and on television in the coming weeks.

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