Culture Fail: Apocalypse XCVIIX…

Four Horsemen of Apocalypse, by Viktor Vasnetsov. Painted in 1887

Despite the fact that we have harnessed the atom, forged beautiful works of art, and wrought wonders from the power of lightning, the human race remains insistent on flopping itself down upon the genetic whoopie cushion and injecting into our Universe folks who will believe damn near anything. And as we’re approaching another hotbed in time for apocalyptic prophecy, what better occasion have we than this to highlight one of humanity’s saddest—yet oft entertaining—blunders?

Now, I’m no expert… but there are a set of rules to hogwash, it seems. One of the most important of these is to source all of your information from the deadest people you can find. And I don’t mean people who have been hit by death rays or eaten by velociraptors, but merely those highest in chronological rank. Multi-thousand-year-dead humans are fantastic sources for this information because… well, just because. Apparently to become privy to the fate of mankind, one must believe that the Earth is flat and still wipe with leaves. Coincidentally, a lot of these theories are mathematically dynamic, in that every decade or so they’re bent to be “just right around the corner!”

But those apocalyptic fairy tales are old school. Today we have pseudo-science to lean on so that a whole new crop of believers can pick up the slack where the other groups start to fade. Take the Web Bot, for instance. Created in 1997 by Clif High and George Ure (note: these guys named themselves “The Time Monks”), the Web Bot is a piece of software that scours the Internet for information and then uses it to predict future events. Amongst its “victories” are the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, and… brace for it… Dick Cheney’s hunting accident. I’m not joking. It also predicted a Dec. 14, 2010 missile attack that would herald the start of World War III. But hey, you know… it’s being tweaked. And that must also explain the prediction that the Earth’s magnetic poles would reverse or (yes, there was an “or”) a nuclear war would break out this year. And one more gem: it claims that a “data gap” between 2012 and May 2013 is evidence that the world will be knocked back to a “pre-electronic state.” Great comet in the sky, which one is it?

And that is just the tip of the obnoxious iceberg. I haven’t even gotten into David Icke and the Reptilians (which is both stupid and anti-Semitic, go figure) or the zombies (yes, some people take this seriously). From religious texts to ex-news anchors, long-dead mystics, and the Mayans (who, I should mention, played a form of racquetball that involved decapitation), it seems like there are just as many ludicrous, unfounded theories as there are mouth-breathers to believe in them. And modern humans are absolutely obsessed with these beliefs—their influence creeping into movies, television, books, and Method Man records.

Personally, I believe we are living during an especially critical time in human history… one in which flapdoodle has quickly outgrown its old usefulness. Couple that with the mountains of information we have at our fingertips, issues with educational systems the world over, and the human desire to believe: what you have is embarrassing… What WILL those apocalyptic Maya-influencing aliens think of us now??

by Johnny Beaver