Reviews of the Future


The rising interest in 2012 has been called a phenomenon, a furor, an “End of the World Circus,” and even a profitable “growth industry.” Some recent articles about 2012 start off with sensational headlines, but ultimately take a skeptic’s approach. The July 3rd ABC News article “Will the World End in 2012?” profiles a survivalist group leader who contends that 2012 marks an inevitable catastrophe, the end of our civilization. It also cites anthropology professor Stephen Houston, who dispels the certainty by saying that “it’s a conversion of people’s anxieties about our times” and the “prophecies of doom really don’t have any basis in what we know about the Maya.”

USA Today took a similar approach in its article “Does Maya Calendar Predict 2012 Apocalypse?” which focuses on the profitable publishing market. The USA Today article characterizes the “buildup to 2012” as a convergence of “apocalyptic expectations” and preoccupation with the environment. Both articles maintain skepticism with mention of similarities to Y2K and the lucrative side of doomsday prophecies, but there is no shortage of criticism.

Unfortunately, the most thorough article – which mentions Jay Weidner, Daniel Pinchbeck, and Reality Sandwich – is also the most dismissive: Los Angeles City Beat writer Mick Farren writes “The concensus is that it’s a crypto-scientific, four-year wonder that has more to do with tabloid sensation-seeking than any rigorous and disciplined investigation. It mixes astronomy with astrology, which makes it an anathema, and its ties to psychedelic drugs, UFOs, pop sci-fi, shamanism, and, at best contemporary folklore, place it firmly within the lunatic fringe.”

Creative Commons Image: "2012: THE END IS NEAR!!!" by spike55151 on Flickr