Don't mess with Mesoamerica.

By Charles P. Pierce
June 19, 2011

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Dear Mayans: On behalf of all us adherents to Deity-come-lately religions, I’d like to take the occasion of the summer solstice – which you were particularly fond of tracking, I hear, probably to know when to plant the corn and when the really big poisonous snakes would arrive – to apologize for our rudeness this past spring in infringing (again) on your monopoly as regards predicting the end of the world. There you were, sitting pretty on a marketing plan going back several millenniums, ready to throw the whole sales strategy into hyperdrive in preparation for the big day in December 2012. Your long-term calculations were working perfectly. We’d already seen a really bad John Cusack movie and somewhere between 50 and 297 “documentaries” on the “History” channel. Then, along came Harold Camping and his fly-(or, more accurately, ascend)-by-night scheme about how it was all going to end on May 21. Now nobody’s ever going to believe anyone who predicts the end of the world ever again. This guy should have known better. After all, in the 1650s, when Bishop Ussher calculated that Creation had happened in 4004 BC, he did so without mentioning you’d made a run at it, too, and without the benefits of “advanced” Western education or religion, but with better artifacts and human sacrifice, so it all evens out. All I’m saying is we should leave New Age to the ancients.

Charles P. Pierce can be reached at

  • June 19, 2011 cover
  • June 19, 2011 cover
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