_John W. Hoopes of the University of Kansas passed along the exciting news of a new edited anthology (in which he has an article) covering the alleged 2012 Mayan apocalypse from an academic perspective. I'm looking forward to reading the book. Here's the press release:
2012: Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse, edited by Joseph Gelfer, is the first book on the subject to be written for a primarily academic audience. It is available in both hardcover and paperback and is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate courses in several different disciplines.
December 21, 2012 is believed to mark the end of the thirteenth B'ak'tun cycle in the Long Count of the Mayan calendar. A growing number of people believe this date to mark the end of the world or, at the very least, the end of the world as we know it: a shift to a new form of global consciousness.2012: Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse brings together for the first time a range of scholarly analyses on the 2012 phenomena grounded in various disciplines including religious studies, anthropology, Mayan studies, cultural studies and the social sciences.
2012: Decoding the Countercultural Apocalypse will show readers how much of the 2012 phenomenon is based on the historical record, and how much is contemporary fiction. It will reveal to readers the landscape of the modern apocalyptic imagination, the economics of the spiritual marketplace, the commodification of countercultural values, and the cult of celebrity. This collection brings much-needed academic rigour and documentation to a subject of rapidly increasing interest to diverse religious and other communities in these crucial closing years before we experience what will be either a profound leap in the human story or, less dramatically, just another mark in time.
Preface - Michael D. Coe, Yale University
You can get your copy in Amazon.
Last week, a commenter posted in response to my news item on the exiling of Ancient Aliens to the little-watched H2 channel that I had unfairly maligned the program by calling it "fact-free nuttiness." According to "Dc," "Your comment that AA is full of fact free nuttiness is completely false[.] No person can dispute the existence of these various buildings and temple complexes!"
Well, I stand corrected. Obviously, Ancient Aliens must be completely true since it is indisputable that ancient buildings actually exist. So, yes, there is a fact in Ancient Aliens, which means that by definition the program fails to be "fact-free." I suppose I should issue a formal apology to Ancient Aliens, but instead let's just agree that the show is mindless, lacking in even rudimentary critical thinking, and marred by lies and fraud.
But, yes, it does occasionally contain a fact or two, despite itself. If it had no facts whatsoever, it would be simple fantasy, like Lord of the Rings. A sprinkling of facts, though, grounds flights of fancy in spurious reality and makes the lies and distortions more plausible than they might otherwise be. Lovecraft understood this when he used carefully realistic settings to ground the Cthulhu Mythos in the milieu of New England, prepared with all of the care one would take in creating an actual hoax, though, Lovecraft said, "of course none of us [weird fiction writers] has the least wish actually to mislead readers."
Lovecraft was honest enough to admit his alien stories were fiction. Helena Blavatsky, L. Ron Hubbard, Erich von Daniken, Giorgio Tsoukalos, and David Childress have no such scruples.
My apologies for the light posting. Unfortunately, due to some major commitments and intermittent internet access, my blog posts will be fairly light for the next week or so. My regular posting schedule should resume next weekend. Thank you for bearing with me and my rather erratic schedule for the next week.
I'm an author and editor who has published on a range of topics, including archaeology, science, and horror fiction. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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