I have a bit of a problem with the previews for the movie 2012, an Irwin Allenesque disaster thriller due out this Fall. The preview starts with narration stating that the world's oldest civilization, the Maya, predicted the end of the world on December 21, 2012.
Time flipping out!
It is well documented that the Mayan calendar stops at the end of December 21, 2012, but reasonable people will deduce that it has more to do with a primitive counting system that can't go any farther, like the way Excel can only display 65,535 rows. The world will not end if I have 65,536 or more rows of data, nor will it end in 2012 because the Maya never mastered base-10. But to be on the safe side, I'm not shopping for a birthday present for my niece JJ that year until the day OF her birthday, December 22.
Next, since when are the Maya the world's oldest civilization? Not even close. The Maya rose in Central America about 300 CE. Several other civilizations in Central and South America had risen and fallen starting well over 2000 years earlier. In other parts of the world, the Sumerians, Egyptians and others had runs of several thousand years each before falling prior to the rise of the Maya. So let's not give the numerically challenged Maya too much credit, especially since they're going to cause the end of the world and all. I personally like the theory that a really ancient, completely forgotten civilization carved the Sphinx about 12,000 years ago. That would make the Maya relative pikers by comparison.
Also, the preview for 2012 is chock full of destruction-porn, with the White House, the Vatican, the Christ statue in Rio and a gazillion other landmarks getting blowed up real good. The plot - after the dust clears - is apparently Noah's Arc for the 21st century, with spaceships instead of boats (Hey, what's a cubit?). Waitaminute. A few thousand people in spaceships heading out to the stars. What are the odds that me or anyone I know will survive long enough to get on a space arc? Not much, so do I want to get enthused about seeing a movie that is predicting my own personal destruction? I'm not so sure.
Finally, 2012 was directed by Roland Emmerich, who directed Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow. In both of those movies, I would have been among the billions of dearly departed. How many times am I gonna let this guy kill me? Maybe it is time to stand up to him! If not now, maybe in three years!