Saturday, January 3, 2009

We Have Four Years to Anticipate Excuses From The 2012ers

As we take stock of our 2008 and make plans for 2009, one thing is front and center in my thoughts: we have four years before we can make fun of 2012 nuts.

I take that back. We can make fun of them now, but we can really step it up four years from now. The bad advance reviews for Roland Emmerich's 2012 movie will apparently help us in this endeavor. The 2012ers aren't (yet) in any position to force your kids to learn their nonsense; in terms of atheist political priorities, 2012ers are way behind the Discovery Institute and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. But I still can't help myself. Even though I haven't yet had this debate with anyone, I'm sure it's coming, and the world is full of goofballs to step up to the plate. Guys writing books aren't good enough as targets, because you can't bait them in discussion groups. I want live people that I can talk to.

Why is this so important? The great philosopher
Jack Handey explains concisely: "We often scoff at the beliefs of the ancients; what bothers us most is that we can't scoff to their faces." Thanks to the internet, the aforementioned goofballs are like cyber-ancients whose cyber-faces we can scoff at! And fortunately we have sites like Dire Gnosis to round up the nutbars for us in one place.

The most entertaining thing will be to predict, before they themselves say them, the bromides that will issue from the mouths of the disappointed 2012ers when the date passes. Here are a few that I expect to hear. Please add your own suggestions!

- "Oh of course, the calendar was wrong! The big day won't happen until (fill in year) because of (obscure reason for calendar adjustment, like reading the Mayan/Basque/etc. calendar wrong). It's actually coming in (fill in year)."

- "Hooray, we stopped it!" The end of the world in 2012 was predicated on (environmental disaster/planets lining up/God getting mad, etc.) and this changed because (we do more organic farming/aliens moved Planet X for us/random occurrence in Israel).

- "I only said the end of the world would come in 2012. I didn't say it would finish then. It's begun, just you watch! Even though it'll take 120 more years to finish."

- The "Sixth Sense" explanation: It did come, and we're all actually dead. There could be many variants of this. For example, maybe the Rapture happened and now we're in hell-on-Earth even though no one can tell any difference but the person making the claim. Or, some aspect of our souls that can't be measured by your cold and impersonal machines did experience some drastic event. Or, we're now all in suspended animation on a Niburian spaceship in virtual reality to tide us over until we get to the next planet they're seeding us on - which will of course seem exactly like Earth in every respect and into which they will seamlessly insert us without our knowing - hey, maybe we're there already! Better than a Screed ship like Riley Martin would put us on.

- "You're misinterpreting what I said." (i.e., quibble over the nature of the claimed cataclysm. "I only said there would be a drastic change in 2012. And behold, there was!" (e.g., alternative fuel use jumped 18% or something.) They could even be trickier and humble ("We thought there would be floods, but we were wrong about that part") or more likely blame your cold, heartless logic for not catching a coded message ("When I said there would be a tsunami, that was a metaphor for war, and look! There was a military event somewhere that day!")

Of course, I'm making the mistake that I always chide others for making: I'm focusing on arguments, rather than rhetorical cheating and behavior (particularly social behavior). And behavior in response to the failure of 2012 prophecies will be as follows.

- By far the most likely response is none at all. People who couldn't be silenced before will, a month before The Big Day, suddenly abandon all online identities and stop responding to emails, like delusional vampires fleeing in hissing terror from the dawn of reality. Frustrating. You almost want to strap people's hand to a keyboard so on December 22nd 2012 they have no choice but to respond.

- Respond to all "told you so" emails with Bible verses or incoherent insults and warnings. That is, you post "Hey, the world didn't end!" and the full response is "John 8:12 For the Wicked shall perish. Have fun in hell sinner."

- Hippie ad hominems. Slurs on your character without addressing the fact that the slurrer is still here, alive and emailing from elsewhere on the un-destroyed Earth. Common themes: "It's so sad that some people can see only logic." "Why can't you just let other people have their truth?" "It's too bad you're such an angry person that you can't see the wonder in the world."

- Mommy Logic. i.e., "You're cruel for insisting on pointing out reality to me, or pre-emptively posting a list of the bullshit objections I'll raise." Understandable if it comes from the 2012er; but there are always people crawling out of the woodwork who (amazingly) don't even believe the same nonsense, and are ready to say you're mean for calling someone else's nonsense what it is. Maybe it's kind of like when one kid who fails his math test said it's because the teacher has it in for him, and another kid who failed it backs him up to try to discredit the teacher.

- "I was misguided before; now I know that God lives in chocolate/I am a Boddhisattva/etc." That is, conversion to a new rush-inducing faith that provides meaning to an otherwise confused life.

I recall in the early 90s a Christian leader from Korea had predicted the end of the world, and took his followers (numbering in the thousands as I recall) to the top of Mt. Sinai. When it didn't come, with uncharacteristic candor, he told the press, "I made a mistake. I'm sorry." If only everyone were so honest!

As suggests, have "ancient civilizations left us coded warnings"? In fact, the Maya certainly have - not in their writing, but in the silence of their fallen cities. The warning is "Look what happens when the priest class and superstition takes over your civilization!"

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