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References to Freemasonry in popular culture range from the vitriolic to the innocuous. Far more often they are merely misinformed allusions from which Freemasonry faces a far more insidious threat; that of being marginalized, trivialized, and fictionalized. Most of the references noted on this site are harmless, simply pointing out that Freemasonry has played a role in our society; some are humorous, yet some are disturbing in their associations.
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Masonic references in the writings of Thomas Pynchon
Like James Joyce, non-mason Thomas Pynchon has incorporated numerous masonic references into his disjointed flow-of-consciousness narratives. Often perpetuating erroneous stereotypes, his references are visual and symbolic, with little or no significance to the story.
Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)
The main references to Freemasonry are found on pages 587 and 588 where Freemasonry is identified with the Illuminati and anarchism. "In return for his good deed, Lyle Bland, who couldn't care less, is made a Mason." [p. 587]
"Lovers of global conspiracy, not all of them Catholic, can count on the Masons for a few good shivers and voids when all else fails. One of the best of the classic Weird Mason Stories has Doctor Livingstone (living stone? oh, yes) comes wandering into a native village in, not even the heart, but the subconscious of Darkest Africa, a place, a tribe he's never seen before: fires in the silence, unfathomable stares, Livingstone ambles up to the village chief and flashes him a Masonic high sign - the chief recognises it, returns it, all smiles, and orders every fraternal hospitality laid on for the white stranger. But recall that Doctor Livingstone, like Wernher von Braun, was born close to the Spring Equinox, and so had to confront the world from that most singular of the Zodiac's singular points.... Well, and keep in mind where those Masonic Mysteries came from in the first place. (Check out Ishmael Reed. He knows more about it than you will ever find here.)" [p. 587-58]
Describing the Congregational churchyard in Mingeborough, Massachusetts: "...the stones showing round-faced angels with long noses of dogs, toothy and deep-socketed death's heads, Masonic emblems, flowery urns, feathery willows upright and broken, exhausted hourglasses...." [p. 27]. Further references include : "fine-packed masonry" [p. 66]; "The Eye at the top of the pyramid" [p. 484], "Third eye up on that py-ra-mid" [p. 585]; "freemasons night to night" [p. 572]; "If Lyle Bland hadn't joined the Masons he'd still probably be up to those nefrarious tricks of his." "The Masons, in the dance of things, turned out to be one of those where Bland was concerned." [p. 580]; "the elaboarate theatrical foofooraw of Mob 'n' Masons" 586; "Benjamin Franklin was also a Mason" [p. 663-64].

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon. London : Penguin Books, 1995. tpb 760pp. ISBN : 0 14 01.8859 2.
The Crying of Lot 49 (1966)
Reference to a secret "Trystero" society.

The Crying of Lot 49, Thomas Pynchon. Philadelphia : J.B. Lippincott, 1966. pb. 183pp. ISBN : 0-397-00418-4.
Mason & Dixon (1997)
A fistional account of astronomer, Charles Mason, and surveyor, Jeremiah Dixon, sent by the Royal Society in London to establish the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania. There are schemes involving Freemasons, Sweden, France, the Dutch East India Company, calendar reform as well as a Jesuit maneuver to take over China. New York : Henry Holt, 1997. pb 773pp. ; 25 cm. ISBN: 0805037586.

Mason & Dixon. Thomas Pynchon. New York : Henry Holt, 1997. pb 773pp. ; 25 cm. ISBN : 0805037586.
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