We've all heard the various doomsday scenarios that surround the upcoming year 2012. We ourselves have made many jokes that our mothers found disturbing (not that our mothers believe much in overblown Mayan prophesies; they just find it in poor taste). Many of the predictions being passed around don't even mention 2012, but adherents go through all kinds of somersaults to tie their theories into the 2012 bandwagon.
Anyway, we thought we'd give you a run-down on the most popular doomsday ideas and their dates so you can set your alarm clocks and mark your calendars.
January 31 – The first alleged calamity will fall upon us when an asteroid named Eros is supposed to come "near" Earth and just might crash into us, according to the apoc-alarmists. According to the experts at NASA, however, Eros will actually be a comfortable distance of more than 16 million miles away at its closest. Though it would certainly be some sort of after-life vindication for the prudes of the religious right if mankind was destroyed by something named after the Greek god of love (since we all know what love in that context means).
February 16 – Nostradamus predicted the "antichrist" would come after a 27-year war. Some say that war began on February 16, 1985 when Sheik Ibrahim al-Amin issued the Hezbollah Manifesto, thus forming one of the prominent Islamic militant groups that currently plague the Middle East. Hezbollah does have seats in the government of Lebanon, and it receives military support from the governments of Iran and Syria. So, yeah, that is kind of scary. But there is no evidence that they are capable of anything as catastrophic as an apocalypse in the next year.
March 12 – According to the U.S. Census Bureau The Earth's population is expected to exceed 7 million people. Don't believe the U.N. when they tell you this has already happened.
April 17 – On this date, the United States is scheduled to cede wartime control of the South Korean military, which will be just the encouragement Kim Jong Il needs to start World War III. However, it's not as bad as it sounds. U.S. soldiers won't be packing up and going home, leaving the South Koreans to their own devices. Instead, there will be two distinct military commands (the United States and South Korea) operating there instead of one Combined Forces Command.
April 22 – France will elect a new president, and some people are afraid that—brace yourself—a Muslim might win. Never mind the fact that there isn't one running. And even if there were, they wouldn't likely win. And even if they did, it's still a huge leap of prejudice to think that would lead to an apocalyptic catastrophe.
June 6 – Six is the number of the Devil. Duh.
November 6 – U.S. Presidential and Congressional elections. Like Hezbollah, this is legitimately scary. But is Obama the antichrist? Whomever the Republicans end up nominating? We aren't losing any sleep over that one either way.
November 13 – Total eclipse of the sun (and the heart). Obama is not the antichrist. It's Bonnie Tyler. Actually, no. The antichrist is Jim Steinman, who wrote that song along with all of Meatloaf's hits. At the end of time, we'll all be singing "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)."
December 21 – Well of course, we have to mention the coming end of the Mayan calendar, since those pesky Mayans started this whole end-of-the-word hysteria. Almost everyone is probably aware by now that this prediction is a completely bogus bastardization of their teachings and culture. The real story is that the Mayans would do what any of us do when our calendars run out—start a new calendar. Just because theirs is longer doesn't mean that it's somehow tied into the very fabric of time itself.
Despite the unlikely nature of any of these predictions, we at the Birmingham Free Press still recommend taking the precaution of stocking your personal liquor shelves and hoarding guns. But then again, that's our general opinion even when the end is not nigh.
by M. David Hornbuckle