Eschatological beliefs about the end of world in 2012 increased this December as the fated Mayan date and imminent plunge off the fiscal cliff drew near. And although Earth's presaged final days came and went without incident once again, a greater population of Americans have expressed sincere concerns about New Year's Eve 2012 signalling the dreaded blast from Gabriel's trumpet.
The modern iteration of this fear appeared to take root shortly before the Y2K scare. This gave way to the Doomsday panic of the Bush presidency, which seemed intent on helping along the Rapture. More recently, End Times prophet Harold Camping did his desperate level-best to see the world perish in famine and plague. And lurking in the background of all these events, almost underscoring them, was the Mayan calendar, which ended on December 21, 2012.
To most, the Mayan drop-dead date was invoked in jest or as an easy plot device for big budget action films. But in late February, when "Jersey Shores" star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi announced her pregnancy, even non-believers began earnestly reconsidering their stances on faith.
The other grave issue facing Americans is the uncertainty of the economy. Democrats and Republicans have again found themselves at an impasse over a fiscal cliff deal, which is set to expire at midnight. The passing of Dick Clark leaves the fate of 2013 more uncertain than ever before.
"It's the final nail in the coffin -- maybe literally," said Walker Hollywell, professor of Theological Economics at San Narciso College. "What once seemed inevitable -- that a garishly illuminated ball would take a 10-second plunge down a pole in Times Square to usher in 2013 -- doesn't anymore. There's no Christmas without Christ. There's no New Year without Clark. What if -- just suppose for a moment -- that time couldn't progress without him. I mean, the guy never aged. He must have had some alien control over time. Whatever the reason, we're speeding headlong into oblivion. Or worse."
(c) 2012. See disclaimers.