Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Slate, Fox Sports weigh in on 'bizarre' Masonic-NASCAR partnership

The online magazine Slate just published an article about the Scottish Rite's venture into NASCAR sponsorship titled "Talladega Rites: The Masons' bizarre NASCAR campaign."

Writer Seth Stevenson lives near the Scottish Rite's House of the Temple in Washington, D.C., and came upon the shiny NASCAR Monte Carlo adorned with Masonic emblems on the day it was being showcased a few weeks ago.

"Why on earth are the Masons advertising on the hood of a stockcar?" he asks.

To find out, he called Stan Dodd, who manages public relations for the Scottish Rite. "Like a lot of other civic groups," he said, "we've seen our membership get a little older, and we've seen some retraction in our numbers. We need some younger members."

The Slate article continues:
Enter NASCAR. Driver Brian Conz (who competes in NASCAR's Busch Series races) is a Mason and helped engineer this deal between his race team and the Scottish Rite. By appearing on the hood of Conz's car, the Rite will reach millions of viewers during ESPN's race coverage. (Up to 30 million "impressions" per race — a figure that calculates the number of people watching, and the number of times a portion of the car appears on screen.) "The NASCAR demographics fit our demographics," says Dodd. When I ask him to be more specific, he just says, "Men."
When asked how much the Scottish Rite was paying to sponsor Conz's car, Dodd said no money had exchanged hands.

Dodd says the Rite's only contribution is "some staff support."

Stevenson then asked Joe Hill, head of public relations for Brian Conz's racing team, to explain what the racing team expected to get from the sponsorship.

"We're aligning ourselves with a dynamic, worldwide organization. We expect access and introduction to their members, who will assist us in meeting executive-level corporate leaders interested in getting involved with racing," said Hill.

Ah, yes. The conspiracy. The cabal. The good ol' boy network. The "brotherhood."

The first question asked of a candidate for Freemasonry is this (emphasis mine): "Do you seriously declare, upon your honor, that, unbiased by the improper solicitation of friends and uninfluenced by mercenary motives, you freely and voluntarily offer yourself as a candidate for the mysteries of Freemasonry?"

A blogger on a MSN-Fox Sports site has written a bizarre story about the Scottish Rite's NASCAR sponsorship, full of strange and occasionally funny comments about the SR's Fred Flintstone Racing Team with John Doe as driver.
"The Scottish Rite sponsors 225 speech and language clinics for children across the country, part of the $2 million a day or $750+ million a year American Masonry spends on philanthropy which is just a little less than the value of the amount of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer that they annually consume."

Image: Scottish Rite executive director William G. Sizemore, NASCAR driver Brian Conz, and team owner Frank Cicci

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