How many jokes/invocations/questionably ironic references/panicked remonstrances will I hear this year about the coming end of the world? When they’re talking about it on The View and the Nightly News with Brian Williams, it’s time to give up counting. How much more mainstream can a nutso newage conspiracy theory get? Consider Y2K. That apocalypse was about Jesus and Revelations; its poor conclusions and minimal research were drawn from the mythology of (one of) the world’s most popular religion(s). This apocalypse is about obscure blood-drinking deities last best personified by Hernán Cortés and a religion legitimately practiced by far less than 0.01% of humanity. Yet already the 2012 hype seems to have far outstripped the 2000 hype. Blame the internet, I guess. It was a far tamer place 12 years ago than it is now, that’s for sure. For the title of last bastion for shamanistic folkloric mythmaking on earth, the competition is hot between the internet and one tiny uncontacted village in the Amazon.
I’ve already done all the debunking of the Mayan apocalypse I’m going to do on this blog, at great length and with much windbaggery, in posts such as Circular Time and No Apocalypse. I also have a little sidebar essay about it (as applied fancifully to the plight of the working writer) in A Working Writer’s Daily Planner 2012, available from Small Beer Press in print-on-demand and ebook form.
Instead I want to talk about how great it would be if there actually was an apocalypse.
The world is f’ed. Global warming is happening and nobody cares because they’re all too worried about how their stock portfolios will look and the declining abstract value of all those shiny things they don’t need and which posturing reactionary a-hole we decide to run against the quiet, uselessly liberal totalitarian we’ve already got in office and who none of them can possibly expect to beat. The only place I can look to for hope are a bunch of petulant teenage hackers with a woeful lack of understanding about how the world really works and another bunch of best-intentioned, beatific idealists who, depending on the government they’ve pitted themselves against, either will achieve nothing because they aren’t rich and don’t represent corporations or will achieve their immediate goals of government overthrow only to have it replaced with something exactly as bad if not worse. We’re bogged down by possessions, infrastructure and fear of change. God forbid we make any real effort to improve anything because what if it has some miniscule, short-term negative effect on our already utterly shitty economy? Let’s spend all our money on campaign ads and vast, faceless organizations entirely devoted to preventing other vast, faceless organizations from accomplishing an iota of meaningful action. I don’t have statistics on this (and I’m glad I don’t because they would just depress me further), but the state of everything I look at leaves me with the strong impression that the majority of humanity’s collective intellectual, economic and energetic capacity is focused on preventing anything from getting any better.
So sue me if I’m starting to think a fiery wave of destruction that came along on December 21st, 2012, obliterated 90% of our infrastructure and hell, even our population, might not turn out to be not such a bad thing once the dust had settled and we’d all gotten over our grief and our attachment to sparkly things that make cute sounds and distract us from the awfulness with which we would otherwise be forced to engage. No, on second thought, don’t sue me. Don’t sue anyone. That would just be tacking on another enormous waste of everyone’s time and money.
Thought experiments and hypothetical emergency planning for the zombie apocalypse have become a popular thing. Which weapon would you prefer to use to lop off the frontal lobes of your neighbors, co-workers and family? Or would you rather just curl up into a ball and die to avoid having to make any effort on your own behalf against the mindless, ravening horde? Me, I’d go with a katana: quiet, doesn’t run out of ammo, easily maintained, builds upper body strength. First I’d use it to mercy-kill any of my immediate dependents who’d rather not try. Then I’d pack up and head for some warm, fertile country with no people in it, to live out a life of sublime simple pleasures: fulfilling physical work and never having to look at reality tv or youtube again.
Sadly, the apocalypse will not be a zombie apocalypse. Zombies don’t exist. Maybe it’ll be Kurzweil’s technological/psychic transcendence. Maybe it’ll be global class war. Or global water war. These things are not nearly so easy to plan for, not nearly as likely to lead to me living out my ideal existence. Frankly, I don’t care what kind of apocalypse it is as long as it results in a significant reduction in the human population and a serious shaking-loose of lazy, stupid, arrogant, previously held convictions about what is and is not required to make life fulfilling.
And I hope it kills off as few trees as possible.
Rather than leave you on that unhappy note, here are some fun infographics and insane opinions I have come across on the glorious internet pertaining (vaguely) to the irrational fears concerning 2012:
- 2012: The End of the World? – Information is Beautiful infographic exhaustively comparing the opinions of the sanguine and the skeptical.
- Map of travel distances for religious dance performance costume rentals in Guatemala – found somewhere on Harvard.edu. As good a map as any of the real area of influence of legitimate indigenous Mayan beliefs.
- Mayans practiced Islam – Allah knows best – An elaborately mis-researched theological discussion board treatise struggling valiantly to involve innocent Mayans in the war between Islam and Judaism.
- Ruins in Georgia mountains show evidence of Maya connection – Some dubiously-reasoned amateur archaeological speculation that Mayans crossed the Gulf of Mexico in force in the 9th century to found an El Dorado in the Georgia hills.
- Cahokia – A real, actual precolombian city in North America, founded on the Mississippi River in the 8th century near present-day St. Louis.
Happy 2012, everybody.