Friday, November 27, 2015

Apocalypse France: La France Maçonnique

La France maçonnique is the first episode in a series of documentaries entitled Apocalypse France.  It's currently only available in French, but will eventually be subtitled for the wider world.

The film takes a dim view of French Masonry, especially the Grand Orient, which is described as a lobby with strong ties to the Socialist Party and a historically strong influence in French politics, from the Revolution to today.  It claims, for example, that Masonic nepotism resulted in a disproportionate number of Masonic generals in the French Army at the beginning of the First World War, chosen regardless of competence, with disastrous results.  The documentary also proposes that Masonry is essentially the religion of the Republic!  There are certainly links in the expressed values of the Republic and the Craft, attested to by its language and symbols.  How this translates into concrete policy actions is another story.

Does the film exaggerate Masonic influence in France?  This is a good question, and I'm not sure the film makes a tight case; the interviewees generally have a negative view of the Craft, and with one or two exceptions, positive views are not well represented.  I think the film has some valid points to make, but it suffers from a lack of historical background, context and examples of if and how specific Masonic initiatives have been implemented as official state policy.

Still, it's interesting viewing and the questions it raises are worthy of consideration.  It's strange for me to have participated in what is essentially a negative view of Masonry, but I think it's better to be open and acknowledge opposing points of view than pretend these points of view don't exist.  Masons have usually deigned not to answer its critics and in this silence, critics have had free reign to present their case without rebuttal, thus controlling the narrative.  As I said in my last post, there's a lot of BS floating around out there about Masonry; if there are valid criticisms of Masonry to be made, the currency of the BS can only cloud the issue, functioning as a kind of disinformation where there is so much to be disbelieved that even true information is tainted with suspicion.  People are lazy or simply not that interested to sift through and distinguish wheat from chaff; it ends up where a person simply believes whatever scurrilous invention comes down the Pike, or on the contrary scoffs away everything which hints of secret dealings and unseen hands in action.  I had that experience when I wrote about the links between Scouting and Masonry; people are so used to dodging BS that they wrote it off as "conspiracy theory".  Those that had actually read the work and examined the facts presented still seemed reluctant to recommend my writings without the disclaimer that the author didn't seem to be a nut job....

If Masons acknowledge their critics, it will certainly be much more useful than simply letting them go unanswered.  One also has to bear in mind that this is not a documentary about Masonry as a whole, but in France; a lot of Anglo-Saxon Masons will be surprised, shocked even, at the level of political involvement by Masonry in France, something officially forbidden by Masonic bodies in the UK and the US.  The Grand Orient certainly has friends in high places and is clearly operating to influence the political life of the Republic.  How successful it has been is another issue, and I'm not sure the film gives us enough "history" and concrete examples to justify its claim that it has been extremely successful in its efforts.  Which isn't to say that is hasn't.  If you're looking for answers, this film might be a good starting point, but there are no smoking guns or jaw-droppers here.  It will probably be more interesting to someone already familiar with Masonic history and its rivalries; for a newcomer, not enough is done to explain what Masonry is, what different Grand Lodges and Orients currently operate in France, and how they relate the other Lodges in the world.  There are some killer shots inside various Lodges as well as extensive historical illustrations (again, without much context), as well as some thoughtful commentary by the interviewees.  French-speaking Masons should definitely check it out.  We'll keep you posted if a sub-titled version is made available.

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Pack of Lips Now

Update 11/11:  I won't be appearing in this documentary after all.  Not enough time to fit everything in, apparently.  In the end, they decided to focus on France and the bits of U.S. Masonic history I discussed were too far away from the central theme.  Oh well, it was an interesting and useful experience.  Helped me appreciate how hard giving an interview can be.  I'll probably be a lot more understanding when I see interviewees that don't come across very well.  Still looking forward to seeing this....

A few weeks ago I sat in my armchair in front of a cozy little fire and was interviewed for a documentary about Freemasonry.  I spoke primarily about the differences between "Anglo-Saxon" and "Continental" Masonry, racism and the Craft, and a few other related topics.  

The documentary will actually be the first episode in a 7-part series entitled Apocalypse France; each episode will have a different focus and this one, obviously, trains its lens on the political activities of France's various Masonic Orients and Lodges.

I don't know how much of my interview will be in the documentary. We shot over an hour of footage but the episode will only run to 45 minutes, so it may only be a few seconds. In the second trailer (below), you can see my hand for all of a second, holding a Masonic coin.

I hope I don't come to regret my participation. The documentary could be qualified as "anti-Masonic", or, more precisely, it takes issue with the lobbying activities and political ties of the different Grand Lodges and Orients. But I trust the filmmakers in the sense I don't think they'll manipulate the footage to make me look a fool (I do that all by myself!) or appear to have said something I haven't. Best to be forthright and honest. I could have refused their request for an interview, but then I'd have let the filmmakers have their say without at least being able to inject my perspective into the conversation.

Right move or not, what's done is done. Hopefully, a subtitled version will appear one day; this episode would be of great interest to the English-speaking Masonic community, where generally speaking, the Masonic landscape is a little less crowded.  LoS readers will also see some nice video footage of places I've written about, such as Toulouse's Egyptian Revival Terre Cabade Cemetery or Blagnac's Temple du Sagesse Suprême (a.k.a. the "Illuminati Pyramid").

BTW, in case you're wondering, there is as much BS floating around in France about Freemasonry/Satanism/the Illuminati (aren't they all the same?!) as there is in the U.S. and U.K.  The subject must sell a lot of magazines because at least one national monthly will publish an exposé or "the whole, unvarnished truth"-type features on the subject every year or so.  They of course tend towards sensationalism and do a lot to nourish the manure pile.  

Hopefully this project doesn't simply pile it on even higher!

Thursday, September 10, 2015


Dear Laws of Silence:

First a bit of background on ectoplasm:

DefinitionA substance said to be excreted by mediums during trances; a slime-like substance said to be associated with hauntings.
SignatureSaid to be white/gray/transparent or any other colour, viscous; resembling mucus. Said to ooze from solid objects or from mediums' bodies involving mucous membranes (nose, eyes, mouth), and to take form as a misty substance.

Source:  Wikipedia

The text above (minus "Source:  Wikipedia") was electronically cut-up four times, re-formatted, the punctuation eliminated, and given an aleatory title (on the ectoplasm page, the words "with the" were typed into "find" and, when found, the next two words were selected).  I wish I could say that this geste had no particular purpose and wish even more I didn't have to say that the result has no particular value.  The cut-up tool has merely repeated only a few of the words several times and eliminated several others.  The secrets liberated from inside this prison of words thus do not shed any light on my question (forthcoming).  Cybernetic bibliomancy has led nowhere, so fate has forced you upon me.

"Le Miro"

with be
nose, from said
any said be
take said viscous
nose, said to nose
trances, be to trances
by said said
other said take to said
take any be said associated
nose, other said take
to nose
to said trances
said to to be white/gray/transparent
by trances
take nose, associated to be

So the point, the question, is this.  You fellows obviously think of yourselves as what Tzara's vulgar herd would consider clever men; whereas this opinion is debatable, it is undeniable fact that you both have noses.  Tell us, then, prayIs Caspar indeed the ghost of Richie Rich?

Kind regards,

Théophile Prades
Beaupuy, France