Saturday, August 22, 2009

Peacocks and Pomposity

You know 'em.

What is it about our fraternity that leads a man to the very un-masonic act of pomposity?....Well duh!

Let me rephrase the question.

What can we as a brotherhood do to limit those who treat every medallion attached to the rear of their automobile as a P.H.D., from tainting the perception of the craft?

Boorish behavior is the net result of someone taking their membership of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons to that umpteenth degree of ridiculousness and making sure everyone around them knows about it. They never give anyone a chance to share and care more about "the Brotherhood" than brotherhood. They permeate our society and due to their unmitigated devotion to the craft, regularly end up in some form of leadership position.
Unfortunately for us, the nature of a volunteer organization rewards men of such constitution and there is not much we can do about it. When I was in the Navy (another volunteer organization) I encountered many of these types and they are always a sour note to my old sea stories. Arms full of stripes and a chest full of ribbons did not always make a great sailor and the same notion holds true to Freemasonry. You can be called a "Knight" or "Monarch" or whatever but if you treat a Brother Master Mason like an inferior you are not a true Brother.
I treat every one the same as I would liked to be treated. Be he a candidate in search of light or a fifty year Past Grand Master, and that should be our conduct to everyone! Non Masons included.
I will admit that many of these "peacocks" have devoted tremendous amounts of time and energy to Freemasonry and their ardor is not unappreciated, but sometimes I cringe when those guys get a hold of a new candidate and hold court for a while.

It is not what we are about.

Or is it????


Paul Chapin said...

Ah yes the title seekers, interesting bunch, the big man on campus syndrome. Usually easily spotted by the fifty pounds of bling on their coats.

Unfortunately even in our fraternity some men lose sight of what we are all about. While us purest go about actually trying to build something, they are building their ego.

The peacocks thrive because there are few willing to take on leadership roles and we as an organization have not right sized for the number of members we have. We still think we have the man power to support all the blue lodges and appendent bodies.

Tom Accuosti said...

Here's another take: We barely have enough volunteers to do the things that need to be done. If all it takes is for a handful of peacocks, er, motivated brothers to take the reins and to reward them with a few pins and ribbons, then what's the problem?

Years ago I complained that a certain group (not this one) was handing out what I thought were rather pricey award plaques, and said something to somebody. That person explained that it cost a few hundred dollars to have the plaques made up, plus a few hundred dollars more for the dinner. On the other hand, the handful of recipients did more for the organization for free than the group would have accomplished by paying people ten times the worth of the awards.

Recognition and public appreciation is a powerful motivator. Until everybody is willing to step up and shoulder the burdens equally, let's keep that in perspective.

M.M.M. From the North Eastern Corner said...

I certainly recognize what certain plutarchs of the royal plume do, I sometimes think their boorish behavior results in many who would contribute, staying away from leadership roles because of them.

Tom Accuosti said...

Ah, well, that's one of the downsides.

Fortunately, I don't let all the power I have go to my head. The GL of Southern New England takes a dim view of that kind of thing...

MP said...

I get the point of this post, but let me hit another aspect of the "medallion on the car bupmer" thing that really ticks me off.

Swearing, yelling, hassling, and verbally abusing OTHER drivers, while displaying Masonic medallions on your car.

I saw someone do that in Massachusetts, once.

I pulled up next to him at the light, honked once to get his attention, we rolled our windows down, and I asked him, point blank:

"Are you keeping your passions in due bounds, Brother?"

"WTF are you talking about, a-hole?"

"You have Masonic medallions on your car, are you a Mason?"

"Yes, so what?"


Tom Accuosti said...

MP - you said this was in Massachusetts, right? 'cos, you know, if this was between the Conn River and Cape Cod, you really should give him the benefit of a doubt.

Paul Chapin said...

Tom - I certainly agree that those who do so much for the fraternity because of their love for the organization certainly need to and should be recognized.

I think MM's point which I have seen as well is some of these peacocks like to critize newer members/officers over trivial items and thus discourage them from even trying. One should never lose site of the fact that we are a volunteer organization.

MP said...

Tom it WAS in the greater Boston area, yes.

I'm a Boston driver.
I have been ever since I moved here from DC 12 years ago.

My point isn't about his driving style.

Nothing will change Boston drivers.

get the fricking medallions off your car if you're going to drive like that.

I know I drive like an a-hole.

I choose to not have Masonic medallions on my car for that very reason - I do not want to give bad advertising about Masonry.