Friday, December 21, 2012

2012: end of the end of the world in review

No matter what happens to the world today, I think all would agree that it's been a rough year for predictors of doom. One could explain all the technical errors that led to mistaken pronouncements of imminent doom, like that preacher dude from early this year I can't be bothered to look up just now. Like him, one could parse and subdivide and render each grave error innocent.

I would suggest a simpler approach, having more to do with observable astronomical and physical phenomena than with speculative numerology.* For instance, it's possible that the sun will start to become a red dwarf, and eventually suck up the earth, in around 7.6 billion years. To borrow the latest world-not-ending-after-all joke, I think that means it's safe to do your Christmas shopping.

What's really bizarre about all this is that, when I was growing up, it felt like there was a real possibility of the world ending--the human world, at least. I'm not certain, but I believe I am among the last generation in the US who had nuclear bomb drills in grade school. In retrospect, I imagine they were mandated by some profoundly ill-conceived law. From what little I know about nuclear combat, our hiding our seven-year-old heads under our desks, according to the class seating chart, would have the total effect of any survivors being better able to identify bodies. Words just cannot express how soothing that experience was for my seven-year-old sense of doom. Ronald Reagan was like that, too.

I presume there must be money in the end-of-the-world racket, although I never made any. People write and say all kinds of things for cash, and only 28% of them are pundits on TV.

Could it be, that what the Mayans and Nostradamus were really warning us about was the rise of the pundits? Is Glenn Beck the Beast mentioned in Revelation? And if only 28% of the people writing and saying all kinds of things for cash are pundits, then that has to mean 72% work in other bullshit industries. Maybe "lake of fire" was a metaphor!

Book it. The world will end today, the result of drowning in punditry, damn punditry, and statistics.

* I was so tempted to impute to Luce Irigaray having written a book called The Speculative Numerology of the Other Woman, but cooler heads prevailed. That's one of those deeply multilayered jokes that either precedes a spit take or does nothing whatsoever, and at this late date, I can't afford to risk it. Though I certainly agree with Steve Martin that comedy isn't pretty, sometimes the key is to know when to say no, or perhaps listen to other people who are telling you no.

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