Another day, another inbox with three emails asking me about what this 2012 “thing” is all about.
Another two from concerned (but now relieved) readers and one (from late last night) calling me a fudging idiot (edit the italicized word). I had no idea that my 2012 articles on the Universe Today (and the growing number on Astroengine) would evoke such a spirited and sustained barrage of hate/love/relief mail. I’m a scientist, first and foremost, I’m not used to this kind of attention.
Seriously though, this 2012 insanity needs to calm down. Admittedly, telling “believers” there is nothing to fear about the Mayan calendar coming to the end (or the hopelessly flawed Bible Code is nonsense) is a bit like waving a red cloth in front of a pissed off bull, and any hope that we wont be barraged by doomsday hysteria in 2012 is a lost cause (in my opinion). But mainstream media really needs to lay off the scaremongering tactics.
I can deal with the crackpots, greedy authors, pseudo-science liars, misinformed and weak-minded “YouTube Scientists” spreading prophecies of doomsday, linking ancient prophecy (that has a non-existent prediction:proof ratio by the way) with modern science. But when Sony Pictures jump on the 2012 juggernaut, I think we can forget about having any sanity in the run-up to December 21st 2012.
Enter the Institute for Human Continuity, a Sony Pictures viral campaign…
I have known about this for some time, but today I received the following email:
As the Communications Director of the Institute for Human Continuity, I’d like to thank you for taking an active role in preparing yourself for 2012. Please note your ticket is only valid for one person. Therefore, we strongly suggest that you encourage your friends and family to register for lottery numbers at TheIHC.com.
The IHC has uncovered evidence indicating that the disasters of 2012 are both real and unavoidable. We believe with 94% certainty that exactly four years from today, cataclysmic events will devastate our planet and many who inhabit it. December 21, 2012 cannot be ignored.
Though the future is uncertain, there are several things we can and must do to prepare. You have already begun by entering the IHC lottery and visiting our website. In the coming weeks, I will be hosting an online discussion during which I will answer your questions and provide additional knowledge on how you can continue to prepare. You may submit your written questions to me via twitter and email. We will also be accepting video questions and will have more details for you in the coming weeks.
I look forward to receiving your questions and working together to ensure that the end is just the beginning.
Dr. Sorën Ulfert, PhD
The Institute for Human Continuity
A little confused at first, I wondered what the hell this “organization” was going on about (I nearly hit delete as a strange amount of 2012 spam has been leaking into my email of late). But then I remembered, I had signed up to get my ticket for a lottery that might save me from the inevitable doomsday that awaits us in 2012. Don’t worry, I haven’t passed over to the Dark Side, I deliberately signed up the the Sony Pictures marketing ploy in the run-up to the disaster movie: 2012. This kind of viral marketing has been done before by motion picture studios, but this one seems a little… um… too much.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with disaster movies, I love a bit of gratuitous planet-bashing by an unstoppable interplanetary wrecking ball, but this is science-fiction. The clue is in the word “fiction”. I will be there at the theatre, looking forward to seeing the “2012” movie by Roland Emmerich.
I enjoyed Emmerich’s “The Day After Tomorrow” (although I think he missed opportunities, and mashed up a a tonne of science — never mind, it is Hollywood after all), but it looks like Dennis Quaid (the “Dad With A Plan”) will be replaced by John Cusack in this new doomsday outing (John Cusack? Disaster movie? Really? Please no). Actually, I’m a little disappointed with the cast line-up, most need a decent film to get their careers back on track. I think the movie industry learnt their lesson after the War of the Worlds/Tom Cruise nightmare in 2005…
But I’m not writing about the movie, I have no problems with the movie. After all, it’s a movie. It might be good, it might be bad. I am, however, disappointed that a major US production company has spent a fortune on a very high quality Flash website, spoofing the pseudo-science that the 2012 advocates are trying to make the world believe from their YouTube accounts. I’m not going to link to it here, I am sure you’ll stumble across it in the coming months (you have time, the release date of “2012” is the end of this year), but when you do see it, you’ll know what I mean.
It is a doomsayer’s wet dream. It will be used in the “list of evidence” of some kind of global government conspiracy by the 2012 believers. The true intention behind the Institute for Human Continuity is not obvious and it is intended to frighten people. Yes, eventually (if you are patient), you eventually get forwarded to the official 2012 movie site, but the intent is clear. Advertising through a viral marketing campaign, intended to scare and profit from people’s fear.
Just because it is a mainstream hoax, does not make it “OK”. It is just as irresponsible as greedy authors trying to cash in by publishing a book or DVD with inaccurate science, historic fallacies with a heavy dose of conspiracy theory thrown in.
Huh? Danny Glover is the US President in 2012…? Phew, the world just got a bit safer, looks like Palin doesn’t get elected (sorry).