We humans love a good scare, don’t we? Remember Y2K? All the computers in the world were supposed to do horrible things, banks were going to topple, governments who depended on PCs for their defense systems would vaporize, and The Osmands threatened to come back to prime time TV.
Well, as we all know, none of it happened, although there have been a few sightings of Donnie and Marie. It turns out there were more problems with Windows Vista than with Y2K. But that didn’t stop us from a good scare, did it?
Fast forward to now. We’re on the precipice of the end of days: December 21, 2012. That’s when the cognoscenti are saying that the world, as we know it, will end. Right?
Guess again. There’s some good news for a change. It’s not going to happen. But we’re humans… we won’t let a little thing like “not gonna happen” spoil our fun with a good scare now, are we? There’s money to be made!
There are over 200 different books about the end of the world scheduled for 2012 according to David Morrison, Senior Scientist for NASA’s Astrobiology Institute.
Morrison, who also authors an on-line feature called “Ask An Astrobiologist“, is concerned by the fact that he’s received nearly 1,000 e-mails from people who are A) convinced we are near the end of days and B) are asking for advice.
Yep, we humans are “Chicken Little-ing” our way through this. Coupled with the fact that we love to spend tons of money on things to feed our panic and, voila! How hard could it be to convince millions of people that the world ends in about three years? Now all we have to do is come up with some products pertaining to the end of the world and we’ll be rich as kings… at least until 2012.
And we love it when someone provides us with something we can point to as validation that our worry is legitimate.
Now we’re supposed to get all “wee-weed up” about December 21st, 2012… the day life, as we know it, comes to an abrupt end.
In the Washington Post, Joel Achenbach writes:
The world, however, is not coming to an end on Dec. 21, 2012, contrary to the viral Internet rumor propounded by pseudo-scientists, hoaxers, Hollywood movie promoters and assorted void-between-the-ears people who wouldn’t recognize a scientific fact if it tried to abduct them.
The notion that 2012 heralds the End of Time has something to do with a mysterious Planet X that will supposedly hurtle into, or perhaps merely perturb, Earth. Also, there might be geomagnetic storms, a Pole Reversal, and a newfound unsteadiness in the planet’s crustal plates. All of that, or variations thereof, can be studied in depth in scores of books now jostling for eschatological primacy with such titles as “Apocalypse 2012,” “The World Cataclysm in 2012” and “How to Survive 2012.”
Have no fear. It’s not gonna happen, folks. And only Grand Rants can explain exactly WHY as we debunk the scare stories that have been spread world-wide.
Are you paying attention, Snopes.com?
Scare tactic #1: The Mayan Calendar
The Mayans employed something called a “Long Count” calendar which ends on the date December 21st, 2012. This has been interpreted by others since then as meaning that’s when the world will end.
I don’t know if any of you were paying much attention, but the world pretty much came to an end for the Mayans with the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores. So the significance for December 21st 2012 kind of lost its meaning to them. Besides, the only reason they stopped at December 21st 2012 was that marked the end of Batktun 13 (a 384 year cycle). They didn’t bother to make a follow-up calendar for Baktun 14 (which starts December 22nd 2012) because they wanted to see how the Baktun 13 Calendar sold. They didn’t want to commit to a big production run of Baktun 14 only to find out there wasn’t a whole lot of demand for Baktun 13. Besides, they were a little busy with those pesky Spanish Conquistadores.
Scare tactic #2: The Planet Nibiru Will Collide With Earth!
The “Planet X” that Achenbach refers to is actually named Nibiru and it’s supposed to crash into earth. President Obama has been informed of this and he has already placed the blame on the Bush administration.
I also hear Geraldo Rivera is preparing a special on this, so you know it’s going to be a dud. It will not happen for several reasons, but principally one: The planet doesn’t exist. Oh, it existed to ancient Sumerians and, according to them, Nibiru has “a highly elliptical orbit of the sun” and, every 3,600 years, it supposedly enters the inner solar system. It was, allegedly a collision between Nibiru and another planet during one of those earlier times that created both the earth and the asteroid belt. As luck would have it, it’s scheduled to come around again, wiping out Earth in the process and giving new meaning to the expression, “I brought you into this world and I can take you out.”
Fortunately, you may recall, Magician David Copperfield made Nibiru disappear during one of his live Televised Magic Specials a few years before he himself disappeared Polanski-style; and the planet has never been heard from again… except for one big piece that broke off and was headed our way. But Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck took care of that in the movie Armageddon in 1998. So we’re good.
But Sony Pictures, who has adapted Rahm Emanuel’s “Never let a good crisis go to waste” philosophy, has decided to cash in on the paranoia surrounding 12/21/12 with the production of a new blockbuster, mundanely entitled, “2012.”
In the previews, you get to see the world collapsing, then a invitation that says only, “2012: Search for it.”
Well a quick google search has a lot of doomsday sites to choose from, but one of the most interesting links is to the Institute for Human Continuity. It’s a fascinating site where you can enter their survival lottery, vote for the new post-apocalypse leader. There’s only one thing; the web site is a fake, set up by Sony to help plug the movie. Like I said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Apparently even phony crises count.
Bottom line? We’re still gonna be here for after 12.21.12.
Now for the bad news: That means we still have to do Christmas shopping, mail out the Christmas cards, and get together with relatives who make you wish the world did end on the 21st.