December 21, 2012 has come and gone from every last one of the world's time zones, and you are still here to read these words.
So much for the "prophecy" about the end of the world on that date, and the tedious anticipation of its passing. I remember quite vividly that watching the final episode of The X-Files, I was dismayed that Chris Carter and company had written this nonsense into the heart of their mythology - and thought that we would have to put with another decade of talk about 2012, and on this point at least, having consistently been proved right.
Those adherents of the 2012 theory young enough not to remember the idiocies that surrounded the millennium might be regarded as a case of "Fool me once, shame on you." Those old enough to remember those idiocies should be thought of as a case of "Fool me twice, shame on me" - because, contrary to how George W. Bush had it, they did get fooled again (or letting themselves be fooled even when they should have known better from past experience), and worse, made the rest of us listen to a steaming pile of nonsense about this subject for many, many, many, many years.
In either case, now that it is all over, can we start focusing instead on those things that really could mean the end of the world, like nuclear weapons? Or slower but more certain, the very real threat of climate change (which may be the real lesson the ancient Mayans have to teach the people of the twenty-first century)? We can, but we won't, precisely for the same reason people love movies about a zombie apocalypse so much - because they like to play at being scared, not actually be scared; because of the profound allure of the irrational over the scientific to a certain frame of mind, which, let's face it, is most minds; because there is no pressure to do anything much to avert a zombie apocalypse, making it profoundly unthreatening to vested interests.
December 21, 2012: An Update
December 21, 2012 Has Arrived - And Nothing Is Happening (Or Will Happen)