I was going to write an epic post about how the Maya never predicted an apocalypse for December 21, 2012, but, ironically, I was too busy writing my final paper for my graduate archaeological theory seminar to write an anthropology post. Had to take a little time out for reading and writing to celebrate Husband’s birthday.

His birthday was December 12. December 12, 2012. 12/12/12. Or, as I called it, National Soundcheck Day. (1-2-1-2-1-2).


Let me make that Maya thing up to you, at least a little bit.

First of all, despite the fact that the Hobbit is a wild disappointment, New Zealanders are in the thick of December 21 and report that the world has not ended.

Also, I’m sure a chunk of the 6 million people of Mayan descent on the planet think anyone freaking out about a a poor interpretation of an ancient calendar used by priests and astronomers is an idiot. Or for thinking that the Maya are extinct.

Or for not knowing where they live.

Or for thinking that Maya Rudolph and/or Maya Angelou are harbingers of doom.

Wait, no, I’m the one who thinks you’re an idiot for that last one.

Back to the Maya and the crazy influx of tourists who are confusing the hell out of a lot of people who are just trying to survive and feed themselves and their families.

This article from Reuters hits the highlights. Mexico’s ethnic Maya unmoved by 2012 ‘Armageddon’ hysteria – End of a 5,125-year cycle in Maya Long Calendar, Majority of today’s Maya people are Roman Catholic

Thousands of mystics, New Age dreamers and fans of pre-Hispanic culture have been drawn to Mexico in hopes of witnessing great things when the day in an old Maya calendar dubbed “the end of the world” dawns on Friday.

But many of today’s ethnic Maya cannot understand the fuss. Mostly Christian, they have looked on in wonder at the influx of foreign tourists to ancient cities in southern Mexico and Central America whose heyday passed hundreds of years ago.

For students of ancient Mesoamerican time-keeping, Dec. 21, 2012 marks the end of a 5,125-year cycle in the Maya Long Calendar, an event one leading U.S. scholar said in the 1960s could be interpreted as a kind of Armageddon for the Maya.

Academics and astronomers say too much weight was given to the words and have sought to allay fears the end is nigh.

[read the rest of the article at Reuters]

To be fair, those ancient temples are extremely cool.

If you still think the Maya are extinct, that the modern interpretations of the calendar are correct, or that the horribleness of the Hobbit may be bringing about the end of the world, this website can make you feel better about 2 out of the 3, at least:

The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian has a kick-ass page up about Mayan culture. There’s even a special section about the calendar, 2012: resetting the count.

At Scientific American, Daisy Yuhas has an excellent post up about what psychology reveals about the comforts of the apocalypse. Maybe that’s all you really need to know this week.

Remember a few weeks ago when I told you about my encounters with Harold Camping’s Doomsday Cult? Those were the people who kept cheerfully enthusing to me that they were, “On a mission from God.”

Their mission? To let everyone know the world is ending on May 21st at 6:00.

The Washington Post finally ran a piece about them and got clarification on which 6:00 the world will end at. (I got up at 6 a.m., so I’m voting for that one, because that time of day just isn’t right for anything but sleeping, but that’s not specifically the problem with Camping’s assertion).

The end will come sometime around 6 p.m. on May 21 — not 6 p.m. California time or New York time or Hong Kong time. The world will end at 6 p.m. only when it is 6 p.m. locally, Camping said, citing his calculations. “People will see this coming to them from around the world,” he said. “It will follow the sun around.”

That clears everything up, doesn’t it?

Remember back in 1994 when Harold Camping promised us that the End Times were upon us?

That Apocalypse sure rolled in with a whimper instead of a bang, didn’t it?

Justin Bieber was born in 1994, so there’s that.

Last year, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on Camping’s End Times as he geared up for a shiny new Armageddon he could call his own:

Harold Camping lets out a hearty chuckle when he considers the people who believe the world will end in 2012.

“That date has not one stitch of biblical authority,” Camping says from the Oakland office where he runs Family Radio, an evangelical station that reaches listeners around the world. “It’s like a fairy tale.”

The real date for the end of times, he says, is in 2011.

The piece goes on to outline his mathematical methodology, but I’ll leave it to you to go explore that on your own.

I mention Camping and his Family Radio crew because they rolled into DC a few days ago with a big caravan of fancy buses and a desire to punish us all or save our souls.Or maybe punish us and then save our souls.

They’re only here until tomorrow, apparently. If I’d known I wouldn’t get another chance to take a picture of the caravan I would have taken the time to do it today. Oh well. Live and learn.

It’s not really clear why they’re in Washington, DC and the members of the group don’t seem to have very clear messaging beyond telling me that the end is near (again) and I should repent.

Or that it’s maybe too late to repent.

Like I said, they don’t seem to be very clear about their mission, other than that it’s from God.

The fact that they keep saying this makes me snicker every time. I must admit I find a way to work it into every conversation I get stuck having with them.

I know, I know, I’m going to Hell. Or maybe I’m not. Guess I’ll find out next month.