If you’re reading this, the world didn’t end at the beginning of this infamous year. 2012 is a date shrouded in mystery, controversy and—some say—doooom. The concern began when books and movies started popping up with tie-ins to Mayan civilization and end-time prophecy. Perhaps the best known was the 2009 disaster film 2012 (which, though set in 2012, actually had nothing to do with the Maya or the significant date).
It seems that anyone with an opinion on the year and access to a keyboard (though not necessarily spell-check) is trying to cash in on the interest. John Major Jenkins, a Mayan scholar and author of The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies, and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History, notes that “when the 2012 bug started to bite the mainstream press and many more books started to appear, I noticed that authors and the media were pulling the 2012 topic in predictably weird directions.”
Jenkins takes a refreshingly skeptical stance on the whole cottage industry of books and films surrounding 2012. “Mass media documentaries have lately gone in the direction of infotainment,” he writes, “and have frequently presented 2012 in the most salacious way, doing little justice to the topic.”
And annoying modern-day Mayas in the process, I might add. Jenkins represents the more academic Mayan scholars, but there are two other main groups interested in Mayan prophecy: the new agers and the pseudoscientists.