This weeks' banner is a publicity still from the website of Columbia Pictures' end-of-the-Planet-and-all-humankind film 2012, to be released this November 13th -- absolutely, a Friday. Nothing like opening a film (with a theme of eliminating humanity) within weeks of major festival days of several religions. Too cool, Columbia!
Yep; that's the Indian Ocean in that picture, rising over the foothills of the Himalayas -- about 10,000 feet above sea level. If that were actually happening, the entire Indian subcontinent would be under several thousand fathoms, and something tells me the movie can't last another ten minutes after a scene like that.
There is a good bit of disaster-mongering hucksterism surrounding the 2012 Winter Solstice. Depending upon whom you read, it's either a once-in a thousand-plus generations celestial alignment; the conclusion of a single, 26,000-year Great Progression of the Earth's axis; the end of one of the Great Yurgas and the end of the Mayan Long-Count Calendar, which opens the Underworld / the Human Unconscious, and usher in the Return Of Chtulu -- or an opportunity to raise the collective consciousness of the species a la Tielhard de Chardain's 'Noosphere'.
Others have said that by the Winter Solstice in that year, as our Solar System's orbit reaches a position relative to the plane of the Galaxy, reaching the completion of these cycles will mean some combination of celestial and natural disasters which have wiped out life on the planet before -- and about which the calendars and religions of the Ancients were warnings to future generations, presented in the symbols of their mythic worldviews, or mathematical puzzles. It also could be that whether 12.22.2012 is the last gasp of humanity or not, Columbia intends to make some money out of that possibility in the meantime; a very human attribute.
Even if it is CGI hogwash, considering the premise of the movie gave me some pause -- I mean, as Monty Python puts it in the 'Crunchy Frog' skit: Where's the pleasure in that? The total destruction of humanity isn't precisely a feel-good ending; people are liable to throw their Big Gulps at the screen, because there's just enough plausibility and dark attraction in the idea to make us wonder how possible it really is. We're already aware that asteroids and comets and earthquakes and volcanoes and plagues and Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage exist, and are potential destroyers of life on Earth as we know it.
I don't even know how the hard drive in my computer works (some say it's electronic; some say it's magic), so I don't have any answers to how likely any end-of-the-world scenarios are -- except that I might have a glimmer of an idea on how to face the possibility of Armageddon.
Reflecting on the wisdom of any of the world's great religions (or, the one operative on your street) may help at a Final Hour. Prayer may be one response. Getting blindingly, staggeringly high may be another. Or, making love, followed by the most excellent meal you can imagine.
But here, Brian Griffin shows us what I believe to be one True Way to face the End: Ride The Cosmic Giggle, Ladies and Gentlemen -- Do The Peanut Butter Jelly Dance.
Family Guy, Season Four, Episode 16; "The Courtship Of Stewie's Father": Peter, roundly taken to task by Lois for acting like himself, is depressed. "Aw, don't feel bad, Peter," Brian says. "I know what'll cheer you up." "Naah; I'm just not in the mood," Peter replies. "Are you sure?" Brian says, and exits stage right -- to return as:
PEANUT BUTTER JELLY TIME !!
Peter, sadly, is just not brought out of the doldrums ("Sorry, Brian; it's just not doin' it today"), and he shambles off stage left.
But, does Brian fold? No !! He continues !! He ramps it up !! And in that is the wisdom we might profit from.
I believe, as Saint Roger did in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, that "Laughter is a very powerful thing -- why, sometimes, it's the only thing we have". We already take so much too seriously. If we were presented with a situation which spelled certain death, total annihilation -- how would we choose to go out? Making a joke in the face of one's own end takes a certain amount of courage, and style.
Here endeth the lesson.
So, as right-to-lifers go after their targets; as the possibility of being fired or laid off continues to hang in the air like the stench of Little Bernie Madoff's aftershave; as we prepare to send more men and women to Afghanistan; as the Oh-for-crying-out-loud wackiness of these days plays out, perhaps the old stories of an End Of All Things are coming to pass. Maybe not. If they are, I will make the best peace with that I can; but, in my heart, I will take my stand, dressed in a large Banana suit and holding a pair of Maracas, singing:
...Peanut-Butter-Jelly !! Peanut-Butter-Jelly !! Peanut-Butter-Jelly wit' a Baseball Bat!!