Friday, March 26, 2010

Maya and 2012: Don't mark your calendar

THROUGHOUT THE trash-talking and threats of Armageddon during the long health care reform debate, there were moments when Nibiru crept into my thoughts. Doomsday forecasters will immediately recognize Nibiru as a renegade planet that has been heading our way since long before Noah's ark. Blame the Sumerians for that scare tactic which, fortunately for our peace of mind, occurred before Glenn Beck got hold of it. Anyway, the apocalyptic end of humanity was supposed to occur in 2003, but in the absence of even a tiny meteor or two, the arrival of the crash was advanced to 2012. The latter date is the end of the ancient Mayan calendar as well as the date that Republicans promise will send President Obama back into the old neighborhood to find work.

It was surprising that in John Boehner's scary imitation of Tom Paine the night of the vote - which invoked liberty but not quite death - the minority leader didn't bring up Nibiru. Most people wouldn't have picked up on the name, but that was true of a lot things that were lost during the insufferable response to Obamacare.

Books have been written about the Mayan calendar and some became fairly popular during the fear-mongering of Y2K a decade ago that the millennial transition would at the very least wipe out all of the computers if not the humanoids who designed them. Well, it didn't happen, and for that escape, the Facebook and Twitter folks are thankful.

I should mention however, that anyone still stuck on the Mayan calendar might find some relief in the repeated denials by NASA that whatever else might destroy us, it won't be Nibiru. The agency has many outstanding scientists who insist that the world won't end in 2012, despite what the paranormal crowd has to say about it. And in those moments when Nibiru seemed to be edging closer as they counted the votes, I tried to keep NASA's assurances in mind.

After all, are you going to believe the state-of-the-art scientists at NASA, or Boehner's Sumerians?

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