You never know who you might meet when your out and about. One of the cool factors of Freemasonry is that pretty much anyone you meet who has the square and compass somewhere on their person is a person you can trust and that that you have an undercurrent of social commonality with one another.
As a quick example, I can’t keep count anymore of how many brothers I’ve met on my commute who fly our emblematic device on their bumper. And its a good feeling to be the company, even if sitting in traffic. Its an even better feeling when its in person and the brother that you meet is sporting a ring, lapel pin, or t-shirt. You know almost instantly that the person with wearing it is an instant friend.
But, that seems to be shifting, especially as the fraternity is mushrooming into the broader material culture and the symbolism is being appropriated for more and more non-Masoninc commercial endeavors and ending up as logos or devices for particular brands. This was evident a few weeks ago with the Angel and Airwaves logo for their new album.
Br. Hodapp posted up not to long ago a shirt lifted by Old Navy that used a wings up double headed eagle on one of its new shirts. But yesterday I had the first hand experience of encountering one of these T’s in the field and a startling realization came over me.
What I realized was the question of whether I could trust the person wearing the device or not as a brother. The reason the thought rolled through my head was because the mark wasn’t a subtle to headed eagle or a scimitar or star… No, what I saw was a new shirt out from Van’s Shoes apparel line under Anthony Van Engelen who is one of their Pro Skaters. A quick search on the web and I couldn’t turn up anything to suggest that Van Engelen is a Mason, more likely some off shore designer was building an apparel line and thought the design was cool and skater worthy and the picked it up for his “style” (to many years in the apparel/branding industry has jaded me).
So, the broader question I’m left with is that as the emblems that we use to know a brother in the “regular” world become more common as a design device, can we so easily trust the wearer as a brother, or does it erode the fraternities logos to be just another brand device to sell into pop culture? The easy answer is that you can still approach someone and ask if they’re a traveler, but does it signify on a deeper level a break down of Masonry’s control of its own means to unite men outside of lodge?
Maybe it just means that Freemasonry will be cooler in the skateboarder world.
What do you think?