How’s this for a sign?
The North American release date of 2012, the latest and hopefully last disaster picture from the same aesthetes who brought you the cinematic “Ode to a Nightingale” that is Independence Day, is Friday, November 13.
This is wrong for so many reasons. If 11/13 were going to be defiled, I’d rather Roland Emmerich, the “auteur” whose flick this is, just take a birthday dump on my front porch.
First things first.
With the economy in shambles, Pakistan’s nukes on the verge of Taliban seizure, North Korea getting all up in our shit, new strains of TB and flus swine and avian that drugs don’t cure, Adam Lambert losing American Idol, A-Rod producing in the postseason…with the world, in other words, teetering on the brink of what seems like the End of Days, I’d like to take this opportunity to hip you, TNB Nation, to an essential truth:
The world is not going to fucking end in 2012.
If you’re down with New Age stuff—or if you’ve been to Barnes & Noble lately and beheld the “2012” books in the New Age section—you know that 2012 is, supposedly, when the ancient Mayans predicted that the world would end.
Not so fast.
“The claimed date arises from the fact that in that year (depending on how one calculates) the time unit called Baktun will complete its thirteenth turn,” explains the linguistic scholar Zecharia Sitchin in his recent book, The End of Days. “Since a Baktun lasts 144,000 days, it is some kind of milestone.”
Sitchin debunks the apocalypse prophesy, explaining that the Mayan calender is based on something called the Long Count, and is, like ours, linear, “and not the required cyclical one, so that its counted days could roll on to the fourteenth Baktun and the fifteenth Baktun and on and on.”
In other words, the Mayan calendar ended in 2012 because the ancients didn’t feel the need to keep going, just as computer programmers in the 1950s didn’t feel the need to register dates past 1999. 2012 is a Mayan Y2k. You know how in Attention. Deficit. Disorder., our own Brad Listi says that 2000, being the end of the twentieth and not the beginning of the twenty-first century, is an arbitrary year? Same thing with 2012.
This all makes perfect sense, if you think about it for more than thirty seconds. After all, if the Mayans were so good at predicting the future, they’d still be around.
But there’s more to my disgust than Emmerich’s blatant exploitation of (what he hopes will be) popular hysteria about a myth he probably knows is bullshit. A gander at his IMDB page makes clear that, by any standard other than, alas, the gold one, Emmerich is one of the worst directors of all time. Independence Day, in particular, is an abomination. I was physically ill after that movegoing experience; I felt like my brain had been violated.
2012 promises to be even more repugnant. In the trailer alone, we witness the destruction of the White House, the Washington Monument, the Chrysler Building, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, the statue of Jesus above Rio de Janiero, and most of the city of Los Angeles, which snaps off like a tortilla chip and falls into the violent sea.
I do not wish to come across as some latter-day Anthony Comstock, crusading for higher morals in Hollywood or some such thing—my book is called Totally Killer; there’s a gun on the cover; glass houses, stones—but 2012 veers well beyond the bounds of good taste. As an erstwhile New Yorker who was in Manhattan on 9/11, I’m really not interested in watching landmarks blow up. It’s too soon. And the fact that other people might get off on this kind of thing—2.5 million people have viewed the trailer on YouTube—pisses me off.
(John Cusack, a word with you. You were Lloyd Dobler, you were Lane Meyer, you were Hoops McCann. You were an essential component of my childhood. Now you are Brett Favre in a Vikings jersey. Why oh why would you attach your esteemed name to this piece of crap? Was Grace Is Gone that poorly received? Did you invest all your money with Bernie Madoff? Please tell me it wasn’t because you read the script and thought, “This sounds great.” If you need a hip project that will make you feel relevant, have your people contact my people.)
Yes, I know, I know. Emmerich’s movies have a Message. The Day After Tomorrow, perhaps his best film (which is like saying “skin” is perhaps the best form of cancer), is intended as a global warming warning. Some sort of moral lurks in 2012 as well, no doubt. The film is supposed to Restore Our Faith in Humanity.
Whatever. That’s like making a snuff film and tacking on a don’t-talk-to-strangers PSA at the end. Emmerich is, for all intents and purposes, a pornographer. The only difference is that pornography is honest about its intention, while Emmerich poses as some sort of parable-spewing do-gooder. What possible good can come from watching images like that? And how is this dreck rated PG-13? Why is sex more subversive than Emmerich’s scenes of wanton apocalypse?
You know what I want for my birthday this year? A story in Variety about The Fantastic Mr. Fox crushing 2012 at the box office. Headlines like these on Yahoo! News:
2012’S 15 MINUTES UP.
END OF WORLD, OR END OF A GENRE?
EMMERICH DESTROYS VATICAN, CAREER
Now that would restore my faith in humanity.