2012, the Movie, is aimed at really stupid teenagers, and was made by a really stupid foreign guy.
The Europeans, as we all know, hate America, but Roland Emmerich born 1955, in Stuttgart, has such a bias, one has to wonder if he’s French.
Emmerich blew up the White House and New York and most other American cities in “Independence Day” (1996). In 1998, he picked on the Big Apple again, having “Godzilla” stomp most of it with incompetent resistance from a number of pinheaded Yankees. (The only characters who seemed to know what they were doing were a team of French commandos — French, mind you! led by Jean Reno.)
Emmerich contented himself in 2000, the Y2K year, with rewriting U.S. history, subbing Mel Gibson for Francis Marion in “The Patriot” and having the bloody British commit anachronistic atrocities burning up civilians inside their own churches, etc. that apparently were supposed to evoke the U.S. experience in Vietnam.
Then, in 2004, Emmerich listened to Al Gore or something, and came up with “The Day After Tomorrow,” in which global warming sets off a new Ice Age. New York floods, then freezes over, Los Angeles is demolished by giant killer tornadoes, biblical hailstorms erupt, and the poor American survivors end up, mostly, as illegal immigrants in Mexico where, presumably, we’ll spend the next few centuries vacuuming hotels and doing yard work.
Apparently, though, that’s not enough. Thus, on Nov. 13 — Friday the 13th, no less — Emmerich unleashes the apocalypse yet again, and this time he destroys not only the entire U.S. of A. but most of the planet with it. It’s “2012,” and friends, maybe we’d better start partying like it’s 2011.
Since global warming apparently doesn’t scare people any more, “2012” rests on a premise that people will REALLY respect: the ancient Mayan calendar.
Yes, friends, on Dec. 21 (or is it Dec. 24?), 2012, the Mayan calendar reaches the end of the so-called “Long Count,” the end of a period known as Baktun-13. At this point (the story goes), Time As We Know It comes to an end. Apparently the Mayan Indians of Central America knew lots of stuff we didn’t.
How do we end? Not with a whimper but with a bang. The special effects, in the movie trailers, are as scarifying as a $200 million budget can make them: Shifting geologic plates, crashing skyscrapers, fires, tidal waves, everything but locusts. The inevitable expert (John Cusack), a novelist who specializes in “Da Vinci Code”-style yarns, tries to get his family and a dwindling remnant of humanity (Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton, Woody Harrelson, etc.) to a last refuge of safety.
So what gives?
Well, “2012” is being rather cagey on what, exactly, is going to do us in. It might have something to do with the planets lining up in an ominous formation. (You’ll remember how this happened back in 2000, when civilization as we knew it ended.) Or the solar system gets into an ominous alignment with the center of the galaxy. Or the magnetic poles reverse. Or somehow, we’re menaced by the dreaded Planet X, also known as Nibiru or Wormwood. (This is very big on the Internet right now, among folks who spend a lot of time studying the Book of Revelation.)
Is there anything to all this? Well, according to mainstream archaeologists, the Mayans apparently didn’t worry much about the end of the long count; inscriptions actually cite dates that occur well after Baktun-13.
But most of what’s claimed for 2012 relies on wishful thinking, wild pseudo-scientific folly, ignorance of astronomy and a level of paranoia worthy of Night of the Living Dead.
An article in the November issue of Sky and Telescope (which you can find in most big bookstores) notes that the planets won’t be anywhere near aligning in 2012. Talk of galactic alignment is pretty much arbitrary gobbledegook.
Also, it’s technically impossible for the sun to eclipse the center of the Milky Way.
Be afraid, be very afraid – for this is The Age of Stupid.
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