2012: A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy As the Human World Breaks Apart

  occupy 2012

FINAL CLEARANCE, 2011 closeout, act now or get your head chopped off in 2012!The modern idea that human civilization would collapse in 2012 supposedly goes back to another overextended American empire on its last legs, that of the Maya. But like so much wrong thinking now popular in today’s United States, this concept made its first impression on the nation’s nervous consciousness through the teevee screen. In Search Of, the syndicated paranormal program hosted by Leonard Nimoy, claimed that the Mesoamerican long count calendar came to an end on December 24, 2011. (That date has moved a year forward in today’s paranoid circles.) You are probably waiting for the “Ron Paul connection,” at this point, and it is this: According to Leonard Nimoy reading a script for a pseudoscience documentary series in 1977, the end of the Mayan calendar would bring a cataclysmic earthquake, the collapse of the dominant civilization, and the creation of an internationalist New World Order. Actual scholars of the ancient Mayan culture, however, believe the end of the calendar would bring not disaster, but a wonderful celebration. Who’s right? WHO WILL WIN?

The reason the 2012 phenomenon is so formidable is not exclusively because Americans are uneducated superstitious bigoted cretins who’ve been duped since the beginning of the republic and have only “learned things from the teevee” since the Reagan Era. 2012 sticks in our collective consciousness because the story of the Mayans resonates deeply in our own time of slow-motion calamity. The Mayan empire crumbled about 1,200 years ago, and its people were scattered as the Earth reclaimed a vast civilization built upon nationalism, war, torture, expansionism and spectacle.

Non-ecological theories of Maya decline are divided into several subcategories, such as overpopulation, foreign invasion, peasant revolt, and the collapse of key trade routes. Ecological hypotheses include environmental disaster, epidemic disease, and climate change. There is evidence that the Maya population exceeded the carrying capacity of the environment including exhaustion of agricultural potential and overhunting of megafauna. Some scholars have recently theorized that an intense 200 year drought led to the collapse of Maya civilization. The drought theory originated from research performed by physical scientists studying lake beds, ancient pollen, and other data, not from the archaeological community. Newer research from 2011, with use of high-resolution climate models and new reconstructions of past landscapes, suggests that converting much of their forest land into cropland may have led to reduced evapotranspiration and thus rainfall, magnifying natural drought.

Too many people, a catastrophic Dust Bowl created by wanton scraping and cultivation of the wild lands, deforestation, endless war, climate change, epidemic disease, collapse of key trade routes, it’s all there today. But what might truly push 2012 into “2012″ is that standard ingredient of toppled empires, the “peasant revolt.” Worldwide, the 99% is in revolt. Worldwide, and even in the United States. Imagine, a year ago, predicting the global revolutions that made 2011 the most interesting and consequential year in half a century.

Nothing proves the ubiquity of the uprising more than watching pundits argue its real beginning. Was it Tunisia in January or Wisconsin and Athens in February or Madrid and Barcelona in May? What about Israel in July, London in March, or London in August! Was Twitter the fuse, or was it Adbusters and Anonymous?

Revolutions are brewing in more than 80 countries today, and for every sad example of protests crushed in 2011 — throughout sub-Saharan Africa, in Tibet and throughout China — there are many examples of government and business on the run, from the crime-lord thug Putin to the criminal political lapdogs of the Koch Brothers.

“I wish it was the Sixties,” Thom Yorke whines on Radiohead’s The Bends, “I wish, I wish, I wish something would happen.” And then when it happened, in Zuccotti Park in September 2011, Radiohead was uptown taping an ironic television appearance complete with anti-corporate posturing. Called by thousands to come downtown and support the occupation, they instead told the Wall Street Journal they weren’t coming. This was the year when wishes began to come true, and those who wished falsely were exposed — whether they were comfortable English rock stars or millionaire golfers who rode to the White House on a wave of populist hope.

Apocalyptic movements only grow beyond the fanatics and cultists when the whole of human consciousness is tugged by the need to overturn the tables and make examples of the moneychangers. So at the Millennium, barely a decade behind us now, an unlikely mix of anti-globalization actions, religious prophecy, technophobia and a simmering disgust with the elite led to the cataclysms and duds of 1999-2000 — Y2K, Vicente Fox and Hugo Chavez, Falun Gong, the Battle of Seattle and the introduction of the Euro, and especially Bush v. Gore.

Subdued by official crime and state power, the bitterness and dissatisfaction and dull horror of American life seemed to manifest itself in the terror attacks of the next year, and for a little while that seemed to stun everyone into a dream state — a nightmare state — as the actual state took every opportunity to advance the empire, the resource wars, the degradation of humanity and nature.

And now, this … whatever “this” may turn out to be. 2012 may be an apocalypse or it may be a celebration, but what’s much more likely is it will be one outcome for the 1%, and another outcome for everyone else. Happy new year!

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About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne

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408 comments

  1. nounverb911

    "2012: A Self-Fufilling Prophecy As the Human World Breaks Apart"
    Can I have the popcorn concession please?

      1. Barb

        Thanks for the reminder! Now I have more human shields when the sweet release of death comes after me. Jeff and I had an in depth talk about our plans for the zombie apocalypse last night. I made a list of people that I will trip to get away.

    1. Nothingisamiss

      The optimistic thing here, for me, is that he says what I (often, but not all the time because I don't drink heavily) think.

    2. Biel_ze_Bubba

      Relax … what the fuck could the Mayans possibly have known about 2012? They didn't even see Cortez coming!

  2. Beetagger

    I'm personally hoping for some kind of bird flu that wipes out all politicians. But I'm an eternal optimist.

  3. Tommmcattt

    Subdued by official crime and state power, the bitterness and dissatisfaction and dull horror of American life seemed to manifest itself in the terror attacks of the next year, and for a little while that seemed to stun everyone into a dream state — a nightmare state — as the actual state took every opportunity to advance the empire, the resource wars, the degradation of humanity and nature.

    So, a celebration, then! Who brought the XTC?

    1. DustBowlBlues

      It's disheartening to be a former hippie who has gotten so old she no longer knows drug initials.

      1. Tommmcattt

        Ecstasy, darling. And if you haven't done it, you should…everyone should at least once. They gave it to a Japanese monk and he called it "The False Nirvana"…

      2. PalinzADummy

        It's even *more* disheartening to be an old druggie who can't be bothered to do 'em any more.

        I keep telling myself I'll get around to trying XTC one of these days, but it never seems like the right time.

      3. MilwaukeeKent

        That's either MDA or DMT, I forget which. Ecstasy (XTC) was the drug of choice for raves, whatever those were, unless he's talking about the band, in which case I'm stupidly happy.

      1. poncho_pilot

        a little boy asked me should he put his vote upon the left, no.
        a little boy asked me should he put his vote upon the right, no.
        i say it really doesn't matter where you put your vote.
        someone else will come along and move it
        and it's always been the same.
        it's just a complicated game.

        1. not that Dewey

          That was the song that initially won me over to Andy Partridgism. Do you know how many times I've intensely debated using that as my "profile" quote?

          1. poncho_pilot

            well, it's like Steppenwolf sang it, "it's never too late to change your intense debate profile quote again." i could never get my previous band interested in XTC which is unfortunate because i really wanted to cover Complicated Game.

          2. not that Dewey

            It's too long. There seems to be a twitter-style length limit to the profile quotes, and I could never settle on a proper excerpt.

            My singer and I were big fans, and after years of needling we finally got the drummer to agree to cover 25 O'Clock, once, at one gig.

          3. poncho_pilot

            the current band i'm in might do Senses Working Overtime. that should be a good time. 25 O'Clock would be a lot of fun to cover! the next band i start is going to be along similar lines, psych stuff so i'm partial to that.

          4. not that Dewey

            I've got a Wurli, a Hammond, Epiphone Les Paul with Vox and Silvertone amps,a Jazz bass, and drums, and I know most of the songs. Where do you live?

            Actually, watch the pages of chalkhills.org — I've got chords/tabs to "Washaway" that I've been working on; I'll be posting it soon. It's one of the few songs that has no tabs posted. I did a version of 25 O'Clock, but the version they have up is already pretty good. Simple, but good.

    1. user-of-owls

      You are WRONG. They invented macaroni, right before they stuck a feather in their cap.

      I know because I speak fluent Nahuatl, have personally excavated every single Aztec site in Mexico and especially because Chef Boyardee told me so.

  4. CapeClod

    Some old, religious crank predicted the end of the world, twice, in 2011 and I'm still getting spam emails for boner pills.

    I hope the new Mayan calendar has a picture of a different kitten every month.

    1. user-of-owls

      You want a serious case of the heebie-jeebies? Wander the aisles of a calendar store in your local mall. No kidding. I was there to buy my annual "oh shit, I have no idea what to get Mrs. Owls and its fucking xmas eve!" calendar and I'm going to need therapy for a loooonnnngggg time. It was beyond creepy to contemplate the life of someone who deeply desires to look at ______________ * for 365 days.

      *It's a fill-in-the-blank puzzle for all to play! I know I should have phrased it, "You know who else wanted to look at something creepy for an entire year?", but hey, I'm above cheap pandering like that.**

      **Please play, pleeeeeaaaaasssseeee??

      1. not that Dewey

        Aside: most of the technology we use at work is primarily used in military radar, "electronic countermeasures", or my favorite, "electronic warfare". So the vendors just assume that all of their customers are into this sort of thing. Rhode and Schwartz, a manufacturer of high-end RF test equipment, just sent me a 2012 Military Porn calendar, where each month features a different photo of a tank, helicopter, fighter jet or aircraft carrier, overlaid with some signal analyzer or whatnot. I may want to sit on a towel.

        1. user-of-owls

          Oooh, a signal analyzer! Now I've got a major girl boner!

          And your work sounds very interesting. If my computer some day grows little legs and runs out my 4th story office window screaming "I can fly, I can fly!", now I'll know why. But really, simply ceasing to test LSD on humans and testing it on unwitting computers really doesn't address the core ethical issues, does it? Remember, my friend, computers are people too.

          1. not that Dewey

            and THAT'S NOT WHAT I DO! Heaven forfend if I were ever to find myself working in the Death from Above industry. When President Perry or President Bachmann eliminates all funding for science, I will have to go supplicate before some icy-veined Lockheed or nuclear weapons lab functionary and beg for a job, since it will be the only kind of job there is. Rather, I will drop out and go sign on at my buddy's family ranch in the Gila wilderness and tend the cows, or something. It may be less intellectually stimulating, but at least I won't have to worry about Meeting Tomorrow's Challenges on the Networkcentric Battlefield

        1. user-of-owls

          Don't taunt me. I just demolished a computer after seeing a headline (!) on MSNBC no less that said one of those pestilent sores had a budget of something like three quarters of a million dollars for a fucking New Year's Eve party. I swear the wall isn't good enough to put them against come the Revolution. My sincere desire is that they are forced to dig their own deep graves with their manicured fingernails before being bludgeoned. A bird can wish, right?

          1. ThundercatHo

            I have never watched their show (and am mellowed on Maxalt) so my level of rage is not as high as yours but my wish is that they are all forced to be lunch ladies at Gitmo and yes, I want the video.

  5. Barb

    I just went online and applied for a Discover card with a $50,000.00 credit limit. I say we all go on a booze cruise and we go out fighting, fucking and drinking. It's not like the bill is going to arrive or anything. Who's with me?

      1. tessiee

        Fry: Here's my Visa card.
        Store clerk [condescendingly]: Visa went out of business 800 years ago.
        Fry: Well, how about my Mastercard?
        Store clerk: Mastercard went out of business 700 years ago.
        Fry: Discover card?
        Store clerk: Sorry, we don't take Discover.
        – "Futurama"

    1. Dudleydidwrong

      I'm in. If 2000 of us go and we each have a credit card we can start using one person's card to pay off the other card in an endless stream that will get us through the year to December 21, 2012. And then, when the ship sinks, we can all sing the praises of the Bank of America. First drinks are on me!

      Hell, it worked for Bernie Madoff for how many years?

    2. memzilla

      Meet me at Pier 52! I'll bring the cockroach DNA serum and plenty of syringes — we might survive this yet!

      1. ThundercatHo

        Bring mermaid DNA instead. We can jump ship, frolic with dolphins and never have to wear a bra again!

        1. Chichikovovich

          There's a downside to the no-bra thing. As I understand it from the movies, you need to have long hair that you glue over your breasts, or else stick a couple of starfish on your nipples.

          1. ThundercatHo

            Some hair extensions and/or starfish pasties would be a small price to pay for never having to hitch the girls to a harness again.

        1. DaRooster

          You guys will need a drummer… I'm in… just bought a new jug too…(not the empty, musical type).

        2. ThundercatHo

          Ok, you guys can bring your instruments as long as you promise not to play any Eagles or Bob Seger.

          1. Biff

            Damned intense debate lost my reply to this, because they suck. From memory, then: is that not what I just did, with that link? The Biscuit Burners are on hiatus, what with higher education and raising babies and such. The lead vocalist, Shannon Whitworth, has gone off on her own and should also be checked out. Proud to call these kids my friends…

          2. PalinzADummy

            You certainly did. I was teasing you.

            They're friends of yours? VERY cool. Shannon Whitworth has an incredible voice. Thank you for the addition to my music library.

    3. flamingpdog

      I'm dumping my Discover Card. Twenty years without a late payment, and one three-day late payment a couple of months ago and I get hit with a 30-dollar charge! But if we're all going to fuck Discover Card on the way outta here, I'M IN!!!

      1. Mumbletypeg

        Call their customer service. I got them to waive mine (a different credit card) just by asking, although it helped that I'd kept up payments on schedule, same as you.

    4. Callyson

      Count me in! And I'll contribute by maxing out my Stank of America card (which I got by accident when I applied for a credit card from my alumni association–read the fine print carefully before you think you're helping the alma mater!)

    5. fishskicanoe

      I've actually been advocating this for sometime. Everyone who can should credit card up and then stiff the banks next December. It'd bring the financial system to its knees where it would be that much easier to kick out its teeth.

        1. ThundercatHo

          Fuck Cheetos, I want the midnight Chocolate buffet. Come to think of it I also want the pizza buffet, the burger bar, seafood and sushi buffet, tappas, and mexican, especially if there is going to be weed.

          1. poncho_pilot

            oh, my! is it that obvious? happy new year to you, as well. thanks. this year might seem longer than the last so i might need some luck.

    1. freakishlywrong

      Sure slaps you out of that "shit, if I can just make it for the next eleven months" fucking stupor, don't it?

  6. DustBowlBlues

    Ken gives a New Year's shout-out to the Dust Bowl! Except, not in a good way. I've heard my family's stories about sticking out the 30s in the OK Panhandle. It seriously sucked.

      1. DustBowlBlues

        Don't get me wrong: I've got red dirt in my veins and love my little state. But;

        improved? While we have less dust, back in the 30s they knew the banks were the enemy. They sent people to the lege who wanted to turn the state into a worker's paradise. Failure to join the union in the oil patch could result in serious bodily harm. Less dust, but a helluva lot more ragweed, so even that's a wash.

        In answer to your question, NO

        1. flamingpdog

          In 36 years in the square state, most of them traveling all over the state, I've only seen one tarantula in the wild, and that was a small stone's throw from the Oklahoma/Colorado state line. I figured the guy was trying to tell me something.

  7. ProgressiveInga

    "2012 may be an apocalypse or it may be a celebration…"

    And on Wonkette, they are joyously one and the same. ☂ ☼
    Happy New Year, b*tches!

  8. Lionel[redacted]Esq

    Then it don't matter. I'll be all around in the dark – I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look – wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build – I'll be there, too.

    1. PalinzADummy

      Relax. "Newt" and "Order" cannot coexist in the same space. Any attempt to impose the one will result in the immediate dissolution of the other.

      Wait, maybe that's not so relaxing.

  9. Mumbletypeg

    This won't do, Ken. How can I die happy unless someone hurries up and plants a cream pie (rancid, preferably) in Pat Robertson's sneering, petrified mug?

    1. MzNicky

      You know who else deserves a rancid cream pie in the face before we all die in the coming apocalypse? All of 'em, Katie, of course!, but no really, you know who, besides Pat Robertson, really really does?

      1. Mumbletypeg

        Any elected Republican.. with first/ last name Scott?

        Or: whoever thought it a good idea to introduce Walnuts or GranpaCornpants to twattering?

        I've got it. Answer: The GOOD LORD Who made them all ♪♪

      2. tessiee

        *thinks*
        Well, not Newt, because he'd just eat it.
        Boehner could possibly get pied, but not a pumpkin pie, cause it would blend in.
        I give up, who?

  10. weejee

    So in 2012 will we get to see zombies on parade? Ronnie Raygun as the emcee while Tricky Dick, J. Edgar Hoover, and Bebe Rebozo do a three-way ghey poll dance?

  11. sati_demise

    This New Year, lets vote for the lesser of two evils, again, stop shopping at the big boxes altogether, stop eating Big Ag food like substances, support independent media and occupy living in dignity.

      1. PalinzADummy

        Art, art for art's sake, I'd like you to meet my lawyer
        Heart, heart like a snake, make a mistake and boy your
        bones, bones gonna shake, could be slander
        Move, move to Brazil
        With bucks, bucks in the bank

        Art For Art's Sake, The Bobs

    1. Nothingisamiss

      My God, you may just have written my new year's mission statement. (If such a thing had ever existed for me.)

  12. paris biltong

    I'm in Switzerland right now and can assure you that there is a safe haven somewhere for those who can afford it (I'm just visiting).

    1. Dudleydidwrong

      Ah, Lassie, come the apocalypse you'll hear the last Swiss yodel. Hopefully it will be saying, "Fuuuuuuuuuuuck youuuuuuuuuuu, Newwwwwwt Gingrichhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

        1. BelleSC

          Depends on where you are. Alas, it is Friday night almost midnight there. I see your point.

          There is some extraordinarily good food to be had there.

          1. paris biltong

            They've got machines to do that. It's a real cash economy. They don't use checks. Nothing unusual about seeing people in front of you at the bank withdrawing tens of thousands of Swiss francs. Makes me feel economically irrelevant.

        2. tessiee

          "Is there anything else to do here once you're through shopping?"

          Eat fondue? Drink hot cocoa? Climb a mountaineer?

  13. Chillwaver

    May 2012 be the year that Barry finally gets his shit together and the Teatards get kicked out of Congress.

    Oh, and go easy on the vodka this weekend, my fellow Wonketteers…

      1. ProgressiveInga

        Rockin'. Fat bottom girls they make the rockin' world go round.

        I like big butts and I cannot lie.

          1. PalinzADummy

            I reached my "I'm not willing to go any further with these questions" point when a good friend and colleague dragged me to a bar halfway through the workday to sob her heart out over the fact that after she had had gender reassignment surgery (having mostly grown up as a woman due to a not-entirely-uncommon disorder), she was splitting up with her partner who was an out lesbian because SHE (the partner) wanted gender reassignment surgery, and my friend didn't want to be in a relationship with a man. I have my own sex and gender issues, but both these people had kids from previous relationships who were living with them at the time. If I can't keep track of what the parents are fucking going through, how the hell are the kids supposed to?

            So, yeah. The "Q" in LGBTQQ stands for Queer and also for Questioning.

        1. tessiee

          Big bottom, big bottom
          Talk about mudflaps, my girl's got 'em.
          Big bottom drives me out of my mind,
          How can I leave this behind?

    1. OkieDokieDog

      Good grief. Well I guess some of you don't remember or weren't around when I talked about getting my Girl Scout Abortionist Badge ;)

      I guess I've used quite a bit of cursing here and there, which in some circles (like the Bible Belt hellhole that I live in) is considered unladylike, but I assure you all that I am not a man in fat girl jeans. And I stress again – my butt is NOT THAT BIG ! I just don't weigh 96lbs like I did when I graduated from high school. le sigh.

  14. memzilla

    It's like what the airplane propeller did when the beautiful woman backed into it: Disaster.

    Happy New Year, Ken, to you and yours, on your soon-to-be-beachfront property!

  15. SayItWithWookies

    I'm hoping for celebration — for President Obama's reelection, for the dismantling of Rupert Murdoch's vast criminal enterprise, for the death throes of the Dubya tax cuts and the scaling down of income inequality, for the Republican party to keep eating itself into nothingness, for regulation and transparency to put an end to the boom-and-bust speculation of the last thirty years, for the emergence of liberal democracies in the most unlikely places, for the US to make a concerted effort at using alternative fuels, cleaning up the environment and thinking further into the future than the next quarterly dividend, and for good cheap weed to be readily available.

    I mean I'll settle for the good cheap weed, but some of the other stuff would be nice too.

      1. DustBowlBlues

        That is the most genuinely sexy photo of him ever! {wonkette secret pal whispers something in ear}

        I'm sorry . . . that wasn't a link to the Johnny Depp cover?

        1. flamingpdog

          Oh, thank Darwin you explained that! I'm looking at the photos of Mitt and Ron and scratching my head.

    1. DaRooster

      I hope you mean "Start drinking heavily the first time you heard of Mayans"… 'cuz that was around 13 or so… and that was about it.

  16. HelmutNewton

    In the end, the only real winner is Mother Nature. We'll all be gone, and she'll be kicking back with a giant spliff, laughing her ass off.

    1. Loaded_Pants

      "I'm glad they're gone. I always liked the chimps, apes, & those cute little monkeys better, anyway."

    2. tessiee

      Dolphins will be high-fiving (or high-oneing) each other and chattering happily with relief.
      *chatter chatter chatter**
      [translation: we're at the top of the food chain now!]

  17. mavenmaven

    I pretty much lost it after seeing the end of the world in "Millenium". It's all internet porn until the real world ends.

      1. Loaded_Pants

        I remember the movie "Millenium" so your comment really confused me at first. Thanks for the clarification.

  18. DustBowlBlues

    "Actual scholars of the ancient Mayan culture, however, believe the end of the calendar would bring not disaster, but a wonderful celebration. Who’s right? WHO WILL WIN?"

    This is America, pal. We don't call them scholars. They are the elites and want to take our guns. All we know or want to know is what Faux Newz and Hate Radio tell us.

    1. user-of-owls

      They're right you know. Every year, we all fly down to Calakmul using money allocated for Sesame Street and crippled retarded orphans and wearing $2000 dresses on the solstice. At midnight, when the full moon lights the secret chamber, we chant (in flawless Post-Classical K'ekche), "Give up your guns, we mean you no harm, ignore the black helicopters." Over and over again.

      Good thing no one pays attention to Fox and talk radio!

  19. user-of-owls

    [bring about] the collapse of the dominant civilization

    Oh no! What shall become of the poor Freemasons! Won't anybody think about the Freemasons?!

    1. Radiotherapy

      After the Thom Yorke debacle last fall I went under the moniker of Radiodead for a few weeks. My claim was there was no sound track to the Occupy movement, and Radiohead had an opportunity to make a global statement. A simple acoustic set amongst the occupiers would have been devastating. What, did their record label say no? Were they lazy? Uninspired? Logistical? Whatever, they didn't do it, and I was disappointed. Ah, fuck it, I've had my heart broken before. Oh, I'll listen to selected works in their catalogue, much like looking at pictures of old flames, but never shall I spend a penny or think they were "kinda cool" or the British Wilco.
      Karma Police, indeed.

      1. Golfing_OJ

        One of the most encouraging things about #Occupy is how they don't need to be comforted by no stinkin' bands.
        The theory is that this generation of kids doesn't need to be hard-sold on anything because they're already sold, like you just point them someplace and they buy shit. WTF else would explain all that horrific bullshit coming out of the Bowery Ballroom for nearly all of the Aughts?
        Whatevs, hopefully all that crap will be gone in 2012. M83's last album is a good sign, anyway.

      2. SorosBot

        Instead, the artist who tried to give a soundtrack to the Occupy movement was, of all people, Miley Cyrus.

    2. Clungeflaps

      I've always thought radiohead were overrated. And honestly the worst people to represent the working class. They're a bunch of toffee nosed British public school twerps! Aren't they from Oxford? Fuuuuuuuck off.

      I actually sort of liked tem until they started plagiarizing laughing stock era Talk Talk and aphex twin.

        1. sunmusing

          Hey Palz… I'm just now seeing this email. I've been around. I'm still trying to figure out things. Knees hurt like crazy. Oh well. Did I see you had some surgery yourself?

  20. stugots2

    It's not about some cataclysmic end of the world…it's about an enlightening….a new awareness…..a new beginning. Stay positive or you'll be left behind.

  21. user-of-owls

    Really, how could anyone celebrate the end of the world other than by commenting on an end of the world essay by Ken?

    1. user-of-owls

      Why would anyone voluntarily go to Framingham on their way to Hell? I mean, isn't that like stopping in Dairy King on your way to Dairy Queen?

      [What can I bring? Hobo bean dip?]

      1. Mort_Sinclair

        No, no! Even better than Framingham: Worcester!

        Yes, on the hobo bean dip, and I'll pop open a few of the vintage bottles of Ripple I've been aging in the basement from my high school graduation in 1976.

        1. user-of-owls

          Oh. My. God. WOOSTAH??

          Foo on the Ripple. I got some 'Gansett that's been in the sun over by Schaeff-ah Stadium since I turned 12 in '72! Plus: Hoodsies & Necco Wafers!!

          1. Mort_Sinclair

            Deal. You wear your mood ring and a polyester shirt, and I'll wear my wet-look boots and my five-foot long knit stocking hat that can double as a geriatric boa! It's a pah-tee!

          2. user-of-owls

            Oh gawd, you can't forget that little pepper necklace all the guineas were wearing. We'll look wicked pissah!

        2. thebeatgoeson

          On Christmas a friend of mine pulled out a bottle of Ripple with a 69 cent sticker on it and said it was all he had left of his aunt so-and-so.

          Also, I'll come up from Roe Dyelin and bring some Del's and coffee milk.

  22. dijetlo

    Meh, I've been told the world is ending on ->insert date<- so many times in the last twelve months, I'm not even creating events for it in my google calendar anymore. I'll get a text when the servers shut down, until then I'm pretending I didn't read this.

    1. SorosBot

      Just the last twelve months? There have been people predicting the imminent end of the world constantly since Zoroaster, if not earlier.

    2. tessiee

      "I've been told the world is ending on ->insert date<- so many times"

      One of the former Mr. Tessie's many crackpot books predicted the end of the world on 5/5/2000; I'm not sure exactly what was supposed to happen, but the cover depicted what looked like a giant pyramid of ice.

    1. SorosBot

      At least when Nimoy played his greatest role – that of Galvatron on Transformers: the Movie – he openly admitted to being evil instead of concocting some insane pseudo-philosophical justification to claim his evil acts were really somehow good; also, he was being mind-controlled by Orson Welles' Unicron, his final and finest role.

  23. OneYieldRegular

    Golly. And here I thought we were just like the Romans, and civilization would collapse because of lead in our water pipes.

    1. Loaded_Pants

      In our case, it's the high fructose corn syrup in the foods. Also, the rat feces. Oh, and the E. coli.

    1. Dudleydidwrong

      Get a bird and a dog and teach them the music like that goddamn woman in the goddamn ad. "Hit it, Mr…"

  24. littlebigdaddy

    A friend of mine is making lots of royalty bucks on a book debunking 2012. Buy it and give it to the nut jobs at work or whatever who go on about that shit! But Ken is right–despite the ridiculous premise, this is a time of change. Like the twentieth century, the twenty-first really began a decade or so late. Lets hope for the orgies rather than trench warfare, though.

    1. Loaded_Pants

      Don't forget the the cans of "imitation beef".

      I recall some guy was shilling that stuff on the Pat Robertson's prophecy-laden teevee show, the "700-hundred-year-old Club," right before Y2K. You might be able to get a bargain on it because they probably had so many unsold cans left over from almost 13 years ago. (I'm sure "imitation beef" doesn't spoil)

    2. Snarkfest

      OMG don't get Nabisco Crackers. We opened a 'fresh pack' today and the saltines smelled like dead woodchuck dipped in week old barf. Unbelievable stench.
      I'm calling them in the morning.

  25. user-of-owls

    Now would be a good time for everyone to read 1491 by Charles C. Mann. Not only does it systematically destroy all the "common wisdom" that continues to be taught from first grade to college, it brings the snark!

    I'm only around 60 pages in and already have a favorite bit. He's describing the initial contact between the Pawtuxet used-car salesman-type Tisquantum (aka Squanto) and the smelly, dim-witted Pilgrims. Mann notes that Tisquantum is not a name per se, but a description of cosmic rage. An assumed name, in other words. Mann's description of the meeting is hilarious and begins, "So when Tisquantum shook the invaders' hand it's as if he was saying, "Hello. I'm the Wrath of God."

    I'm thinking of using that to introduce myself to my students next semester.

    1. PalinzADummy

      Thank you very much for that recommendation. My life has become so much richer since I accepted my gimpitude and, somewhat fortuitously, shortly thereafter found Teh Wonketz.

      Let me also take this opportunity to thank whatever powers there be that I am not your student, also. Too.

      1. user-of-owls

        You'll enjoy it, I bet. And you would delight in being my student. I consistently get student evaluations in the 90th percentile and I just won the university's most prestigious award for teaching and mentoring three weeks ago!. I'd fill your head with all sorts of wondrous and subversive ideas.

        Then, of course, I'd flunk your gimpy ass.

        1. PalinzADummy

          See, that's the reason right there. I'd be so overjoyed, all relaxed, getting ready to pet that furry, proferred warm little bellyfull of brilliance, when SLASH! you would disembowel my hopeful self and leave my dreams all ichor-staining the sands upon which I had writ large my futile struggle and >shudder< I'd be left all cold and drained, defenseless and gimpy-assed and painfully aware of it as the monsters of my subconscious close in, clacking claws.

          I need a cigarette.

          1. Chichikovovich

            Wow. I'm glad I just have to tell students that they wrongly assumed compactness, or that unique prime factorization holds in the Gaussian integers. Haven't had a student yet who was cold, drained, defenseless,
            gimpy-assed and painfully aware of it as the monsters of his/her subconscious close in, clacking claws after getting a bad grade on a problem set.

            Though now that I think about it, that would be kind of cool.

          2. user-of-owls

            Deeply personal, albeit bordering on histrionic. Overwrought to an extent that the reader will be alienated. Well over the stipulated page length. Good for a first draft, but needs to be reworked.

            I think you should come to my office this evening. Oh, and do wear that short plaid dress with knee socks. And a ponytail would be nice too.

        2. Chichikovovich

          Hey, congrats on the teaching award. And while changing some hard-to-change life habits too! Hope next year is just as rewarding.

          1. user-of-owls

            Спасибо от души, дорогой друг, товарищ и приносящий юмора.

            I too hope your next year is rewarding as well, friend. I'm truly touched by your kindness. Remember, we are changing young lives forever; an endeavor both deeply joyful and wickedly terrifying.

          2. PalinzADummy

            Let me add my voice to that, user. No snark, kudos on your fine, fine achievement. I'm remembering with gratitude the teachers and mentors I've had across the years.

          3. user-of-owls

            Thanks, that means a lot. It really does. I have a sort of simple theory about teaching. You, me and probably most people have had at least one good teacher, inside or outside a classroom. The only way I know to pay the debt I owe them is to try and pass on to the next generation the lessons they've taught me. About substance, of course, but also about kindness, respect and a passion for learning. So that's why I teach.

    2. Dudleydidwrong

      Wife was a lower grade elementary teacher. I went over to her school one Friday afternoon to get her paycheck so that I could get it to the bank before things started bouncing. She asked me to watch her class while she went to the office to get her check. Several kids were up and pushing each other around so I invited them to sit down. One of them loudly asked "Who are you?" I replied in a jocular manner, "I'm your worst enemy." The little bastard ran up and kicked me in the shin!

      Be careful how you introduce yourself.

      By the way, Mann's book is a Great Read.

      1. PalinzADummy

        If you haven't already seen Russell Peters Pearce in his YouTube clip: White People: You Gotta Beat Your Children, check it out. I pissed myself laughing.

        Edited to correct name. I don't know WHY I keep calling him Pearce. Must be some deep-seated aversion to Peters, as it were.

        1. Chichikovovich

          The father of one of my son's soccer teammates is an Indian from Kerala whose emigrated to Toronto and then to the 'States. He turned me on to Russell Peters, who's a pretty funny guy generally, but who really hit his high mark on the "Beat your kids" sketch. (Watching games, every time one of our kids would make a mistake, we'd lean toward each other and say "Somebody's gonna get a hurtin' real bad." Never got old.)

          I think you have to have been raised by South Asian parents to get the full effect – I loved the sketch, but he loved it with a kind of visceral jolt of recognition.

          1. PalinzADummy

            Asian parents in general, I think. We watched with a friend's daughter who's a high-schooler, and she said something about "Oh,yeah, an Asian 'F'." Apparently, the Asian kids get their butts beat off for coming home with anything less than an A+ in everything, so the kids at her school call B-grades "an Asian 'F'." My sister thought it was hilarious, although memories of my mother and flying furniture sort of dimmed the glow a bit for me. He is hilariously funny, though.

          2. Chichikovovich

            No snark, no joke: My son's best friend is Asian, and a couple of weeks ago the friend's mother asked her son: "I'm not sure I like you spending so much time with [Chichikovovichovich]. Do you even know what university he wants to go to?"

            For a contrasting perspective on Asian parenting, here's a commercial for Tim Horton's Doughnuts that was a huge sensation in Canada a few years ago. My mother still gets teary-eyed whenever she sees it.
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QINv6rebyTU

        2. tessiee

          "Russell Peters Pearce in his YouTube clip: White People: You Gotta Beat Your Children, check it out. I pissed myself laughing.

          Edited to correct name. I don't know WHY I keep calling him Pearce."

          Russell Pearce is a senator from Arizona, if that helps.

          1. PalinzADummy

            And a complete asshole, too.

            While Russell Peters is just the cutest pudgy pinchable little dollbaby. Looks just like a girl I once had a crush on — whose last name was *also,* coincidentally, Peters.

      1. user-of-owls

        Badly. Best estimates now put the extermination rate somewhere around 90% in the first 150 years or so of La Conquista (the Palestinians have a better word, nakba. The Catastrophe). Ninety fucking percent.

        So no, alas, no happy ending. Fucking guinea should have drowned at sea. The Euros would be speaking Nahuatl by now.

          1. Radiotherapy

            Funny you say that old friend, and without being trite about a Nazi reference, but do you know what Hitler used as a model for his first, not so secret and bigger lebensraum-Holocaust, i.e. the slaughter of 25-30 million Slavs? How about the eradication of Native Americans? Just as Norman Davies is a truly great historian, Howard Zinn pointed out what Owl's said in the first paragraph of his greatest work: A People's History of the United States.
            Not to be so unhappy at the end of the year — Happy Fucking New Year's to both of you sparkling souls.

          2. PalinzADummy

            Happy Fucking New Year to you too, darlz. It is such a pleasure to have met you and to continue your acquaintance. In this dark cold world of Mittens Romneycarian blizzards, you are a veritable warm spark, a ray of sunshine, a beam of light, a welcoming fire. Many fond hugs to you and your'n.

            It was quite an education for me to learn that the savage Redskin practice of collecting the scalps of treacherously murdered enemies was a practice first taught to them by Teh White Man. Who'd'a thunk those pillars of civilization weren't quite so civilized as they made themselves out to be?

    3. vulpes82

      GREAT book! Truly extraordinary eye-opener. Who knew the Indians weren't just hippy Noble Savages in moccasins who lived as one with Mother Earth and sang all the colors of the wind, but a bunch of forest-burning bastards who were just as apt as Europeans to lie, cheat, and war? It's like they were HUMANS or something!

      But, seriously, great book. And there's a sequel now: 1493, about the world AFTER Columbus! Apparently, sweet potatoes totally changed Chinese history. Also, globalization has been fucking shit up for a long, long, loooooooong time.

      1. user-of-owls

        It IS a great book…and I'm only starting it! I saw a blurb about the sequel…looks like I got a lotta reading to keep me busy. Alas, the only time most of us profs get to read for pleasure is over breaks and during the summer. And you're not shittin' about an eye opener. I'm going to have to totally revamp my lectures on pre-Columbian Latin America. Yay!

  26. Mumbletypeg

    Since I don't know if I'll have online access where I'm spending New YEars, lemme go ahead and anticipate hoisting a tumbler to those here who kept my personal 2011 from divebombing, peregrine-falcon-style, into self-combusted shards of wounded ego. I have 2011 to thank for the coining of "greasy birth canyon," edgydrifter'), "conflabberdaddled" (Extemporanus), — and not least, the entire busload of Democratic state senators from Wisconsin for keeping 2011 from sucking too badly.. until May anyway, and I don't wanna remember much else from that spring.

  27. Come here a minute

    It's a small stretch to say the ninety-nine percenters in the US are in revolt. Mostly, they just want a job. And the people they're protesting against just respond, "Get a job!" So, yeah, not getting better.

  28. flamingpdog

    “I wish it was the Sixties,” Thom Yorke whines on Radiohead’s The Bends.

    Words that, curiously, never seen to fall from the lips of people who were actually there. 60's nostalgia party anyone?

    1. PalinzADummy

      Fuck, no. There was a WHOLE LOT more killing going on back then. Funny, innit? I think these are, relatively, the most peaceful days I've seen in my life despite all the protests. Back then, protestors were being shot and tossed in rivers in their millions in China, Indonesia, VietNam, and hanging like fruit from the trees in Bangkok. Hijackings were hardly news and bombings and aborted revolutions were everywhere.

  29. owhatever

    Not to worry. I received two 2012 calendars for Christmas and they both extend all the way through the year. Why would printers waste all that money putting December 31 in the calendars if there was not going to be a December? Is Ken Layne smarter than them?

    I join with the chorus of voices in my head to wish all Wonketeers a Merry Apocalypse. Thanks for the fun ride all year long.

          1. PalinzADummy

            Ew. I had mine late enough in the game that the actual scar is very small, under 8" I think (my ex-MIL had a scar that ran from the middle of her thigh down to the middle of her shinbone). I tend towards keloids. Not the most attractive of scar tissue.

  30. Maman

    Good to see someone besides me is watching Armageddon Week on History International! Ken, you will want to avoid the Brad Metzler Decoded episode on the Mayan Calendar. Spock's interpretation seems like a walk in the park in comparison.

  31. Rotundo_

    Canned food and shotgun shells, water purification supplies, will be next year's widescreen 3D HDTV's that we peppergas one another for. Should pay for a few more paintings for the new art museum down in Arkansas and the Koch's cancer treatments. WalMart should have a survivalist aisle by now anyways considering the clientele.

  32. Antispandex

    The world will end in 2012? So, that means Bachmann wins the election and the Teapublicans take over both houses of congress, right? It's time to go were we can be safe…Pacoima? "The resident meetings with Latino gang members resulted in a 143 day consecutive period of no drive by shootings." See?, safer.

  33. vulpes82

    Not to be pedantic (too late), but the Mayans are still around, you know. And Mayan civilization only collapsed in the lowlands; the Yucatan Maya kept happily building cities right up until Cortez showed up, and even after. Also, the Maya never were an empire, just a collection of city-states of various sizes and degrees of influence and prestige.

    1. littlebigdaddy

      Did you hear about Cheetah and Jayne Mansfield? Classic alpha male ape spontaneous orgasm on movie starlet.

  34. DemonicRage

    Here in New York, there are all these big posters in bus shelters, urging heads of families to be sure to have a bag packed by the door. They don't come out and say it, but the implication is, you're supposed to pick this bag up and head for an evacuation shelter once someone detonates a dirty bomb on Times Square and anyone whose eyeballs didn't melt from the blast has to move out of the very toxic, radioactive zone. What are we supposed to put in these bags? Gold coins? How are we supposed to conduct transactions when our ATM's don't work any more? Would they put specific instructions for that set of circumstances somewhere on the posters, in large print?

  35. poorgradstudent

    It is kind of ironic that it will be neoliberalism, not fascism or Communism, that will kill America. In nerd terms it's like beating Sauron and Darth Vader only to lose to Cobra Commander.

      1. not that Dewey

        Hopefully a proper poli-sci type will come to correct me, but my lay, outsider's understanding is that neocon is primarily a foreign policy position, characterized by aggressive interventionism, with little regard for domestic economics. Neolib is primarily a domestic economic position that promotes deregulation, transfer of public goods and service to the private sector, expansion of global "free" trade, but is rather isolationist militarily.

        In other words, they both represent pretty much the worst that America has to offer, and our government tends to oscillate between the two.

        1. user-of-owls

          Right on the money, Master Dewey. You get an A+- though for suggesting that we oscillate between the two. We are quite able and willing, it seems, to hold contradictory positions with nary a whiff of cognitive dissonance.

          And F. Scott notwithstanding, in this case it is an unmistakable sign of some sort of mental pathology.

          1. poorgradstudent

            I agree that Master Dewey nailed it – as do you. I'd describe Obama himself as an out-and-proud neoliberal and simultaneously a closeted neoconservative.

  36. Bluestatelibel

    So this makes it even more likely that the client who's been stiffing me on payment is not going to ever pay me, nice.

  37. MilwaukeeKent

    Look, this whole Mayan calendar thing is widely misunderstood. The reason it ends in 2012 is simply because that is as far as the Mayan Priests got on the calendar project before a new conservative Mayan regime came in and cancelled the whole thing.
    Only reason. Budget cuts.

  38. Negropolis

    I just hope 2012 will be the continuation of waking everybody up to reality. Occupy may not be shutting down Times Square, anymore (though, I wish they'd do it once a week until November), but now they are literally everywhere. They are still shutting shit down. They've been particularly active in Des Moines, lately, even though the MSM doesn't care to cover them, anymore.

    Power to the People, 2012. Occupy the Heart, Occupy the Mind.

    1. PalinzADummy

      Solidarity, you Fiery Yoof! You give me hope for the generations to come! Many blessings of every sort upon you, and may you publish The Next Great Novel and right quick, too. It's been a pleasure knowing you every day, fellow-Wonketeer!

  39. BTWBFDIMHO

    I'm still re-gifting my near-expiration-date-supply of canned meats, beans, Perriers and cheap Malbecs from previous never-happened Raptures.
    Now it's 2012 coming, so let's go shopping again! Hey, apocalypses stimulate spending and create GDP and employment after all, so thank you Ken!

      1. PalinzADummy

        But not from any of *his* survivalist buddies, who buy their stock at clearance (thereby ensuring pitifully low germination rates). Get them from neighbours who have grown them (best way to ensure they're adapted to your microclimate) or, barring that, from seed banks which deal in heirloom, open-pollinated varieties.

  40. unStunned

    The Mayan empire crumbled about 1,200 years ago, and its people were scattered as the Earth reclaimed a vast civilization built upon nationalism, war, torture, expansionism and spectacle.

    Nice jab, Ken.

  41. PalinzADummy

    Got to the party late as usual, but in case anyone checks in between now and the next Official Wonkette Posting: A very happy celebratory weekend one and all. It's been wonderful knowing you, and I look forward to many happy pre-apocalyptic celebrations together (well, as long as civilization hasn't *quite* collapsed yet, we can party!. Enjoy your wicked selves as only you can and for crisake remember, most of y'all go back to work on Tuesday, so hold down the substance abuse.

      1. PalinzADummy

        True. Forget what I said, but you'll be sorry Monday. Just remember, pho is the best ever hangover cure, especially if you put a couple of large slices of jalapeno in the stock.

      1. PalinzADummy

        Oh, Biff. Extra hugs. Holidays suck as it is, what a way to end this joyous season. Hope it's nothing major. I think I hate dental work about as much as surgery.

  42. Isyaignert

    Happy 'effing' New Year! If only Gore fought harder, it'd be a different world.

    Have we hit bottom yet?

    1. Negropolis

      Nah. Hipsters are so two years ago. This will be the year of the anti-Hipster, who themselves will be hipsters in how they repudiate the hipsters of yesteryear.

  43. Mojopo

    A happy New Year to all, most especially those of you who never fail to say the wrong things at precisely the right time. You know who you are. I love this Wonky thing.

    1. PalinzADummy

      Um … thanks, I think, and the same to you. (hugs Mojopo) Ah, wotthehell, I'm feeling extra-huggy and Barb hugged me back, which always makes me feel extra-huggable, so you have a wonderful New Year. May it just continue to get better.

  44. C_R_Eature

    Well…Ken’s appallingly depressing, Apocalyptic end of the year post is as good a time and place as any for me to pop up from the Abyss and wish all good Wonkeratti a Happy & successful Gregorian Calendar New Year. May your Wits be sharp, your Enemies confused and your liquor cabinet full.
    Completely OT, but quite interesting nonetheless- I’ve spent the last few months finalizing the results on our NOAA/NIMH Interspecies communication project with Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. Using high speed video and audio recordings and state –of– the –art computer algorithms, we’ve managed to decipher one actual message from them. The rough translation is below:
    “SO LONG AND THANKS FOR ALL THE FISH”
    What could this mean?
    Best Regards for the New Year, C.R.

  45. Snarkfest

    "2012 may be an apocalypse or it may be a celebration, but what’s much more likely is it will be one outcome for the 1%, and another outcome for everyone else. Happy new year!"

    GFY

  46. PalinzADummy

    Boy, that there's a fine stew of conspiracy theory, borderline insanity, religious crackpottia, and gibbering gibberish. Good thing I have drugs to combat this brain-fever.

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