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A Mug and a Mason
11.7.2003 by Sarah.

[Author's note: a reader of this column has voiced his suspicion that the heroine and myself are one and the same. The confusion arises from a failure to explain myself properly. The heroine of Cocktail Conspiracies and myself may seem to share similar idiosyncrasies of speech because I am relaying to you, partially in my own words, her theories. Since I cannot remember all of her peculiar idioms, I may pass off some of my own. I have also attempted to recreate neither the slight quiver in her voice (probably due to being locked in the closet too often in her childhood) nor her habit of pausing mid-sentence to take a sip of her drink or stare at the ceiling while humming snippets from Bartok.

Furthermore, those who know me would be similarly appalled at the suggestion that these theories are my own. I have naught but the deepest respect for proper historical methods. I do not, in my own work, play fast and loose with source material. I also have a much better grasp of reality than she. And were I to hum anything to the ceiling, it would most likely be Wagner. Please bear this in mind as you read the following brief conspiracy that our heroine slurred to yours truly at the Halloween party held last week at the residence of my editor. I went as a California Wildfire. She went as the Book of Ruth. I drank root beer. She drank something unidentifiable from a flask.]

Between you, me, and the jellybeans here, I'll tell you this much about root beer: the first world war was fought because of the Masons. Ludendorff hated them. In fact, he wrote a pamphlet called "The Annihilation of Freemasonry Through Revelation of its Secrets" and later blamed American involvement in the war, and the subsequent defeat of Germany, on the meddling of the Masons and other fraternal societies. I wouldn't totally discount the tensions in the Balkan states as playing some sort of role in the conflict, but I would seriously question the drastic revisionism that has seemingly erased the Masonic connection from the history books.

Luckily, I've discovered the clue. It's Snoopy, the creation of "Peanuts"author Charles Schultz. This innocent cultural icon may actually serve as our only link to the truth about the First World War. You may protest; Schultz never admitted to Masonic ties, you'd say. Nonsense. Consider, for example, the Snoopy subplot wherein the plucky beagle dons aviator glasses and imagines that he fights the Red Baron in French skies. His plane is shot down, or perhaps he has completed his mission, and he retires to a pub deep within the countryside where he woos the lonely French peasant girl while sipping at a frothy mug of...root beer.

Why root beer, Charles Schultz? Why not ginger beer, or cream soda? Could you be making a covert reference to Joseph Cullen Root, known by many as the giant of American fraternalism? No, you think. That is too obvious. Yet this reading of the Snoopy comics--as an allegory of the fight between German fascism and the brotherhood that connects man to man in these United States of America--has been entirely overlooked until now.

And wait until I tell you about Lucy van Pelt.

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