Harold Camping is a bit of a crackpot.
For those blissfully unaware (or outside of the United States, where people seem largely immune to this sort of ridiculosity), Harold Camping is an undead, five hundred-year-old Christian fundamentalist preacher who predicted that, on May 21, 2011, some two hundred million people would be “raptured” and rise, hilariously nude, to heaven while most of us would remain, clothed, on Earth to suffer God’s wrath and eventually die horrible (and presumably still clothed) deaths.
I hesitate to call him a fraud because of this, though there are plenty others that are happy to throw that label at him. Establishing an absolute date and time for your fraud to fall apart is kind of counter-productive to the whole “fraud” thing, you know? So I just call him a crackpot and leave it at that. His predictions made a lot of people uneasy, though, and I can’t really blame them… I think we all felt about the rapture much the same way we feel about getting an STD test: you know that your results are negative, but you still get a little nervous waiting for the phone call.
Some people weren’t so sure their test results were negative, though, and sold off their lives, devoting vast personal fortunes to spreading the word. When May 21 came and went, these people were justifiably miffed. So Harold did what any red-blooded, partially mummified American vampire would do: he “refined” his estimate and pushed it back a few months to October.
The uneventful passing of October hit Harold a bit hard. I kind of felt bad for him, actually, and considered baking him a “Sorry the World Didn’t End” Bundt cake, but then realized that I didn’t actually care all that much, nor do I know how to make a Bundt cake.
Harold Camping isn’t the only one getting caught up in the whole end-times thing, though, and a good deal of it is related to the fact that, a few years ago – around 35 BC – the Mayans made a calendar. They probably made their calendar for the same reasons that we do: to remember when to plant and harvest crops, celebrate anniversaries and holy days, and for noting when Doink the Clown will be signing autographs at the local high school. Except they made their calendar to last: lacking things like Wal-Mart – and paper – there was nowhere to buy a new calendar at the end of the year, so they just devised one really, really long calendar, probably out of rocks or clay or human skulls or something, and decided that was going to have to suffice for the foreseeable future.
And it did suffice, at least for the Mayans’ foreseeable future; the calendar is just now ending and I don’t see anybody still using it. I don’t see any Mayans at all, actually, and I think the only people still paying attention to the calendar are those trying to make a buck selling books and docu-dramas about the end of the world.
See, this extraordinarily long calendar, which began in August of 3114 BC, ends on December 21 of 2012… and that seems reasonable enough, considering that we now have computers and solar calculators and, you know, paper. The Mayans must’ve figured that, by now, we’d have the capability to mass-produce some new calendars with puppies on them, and they could all stop scrambling for places to chisel down their kids’ birthdays and doctor visits.
The Mayans didn’t believe that the end of their calendar marked the end of the world, though – in much the same way that the end of OUR calendars doesn’t mark the end of the world – and that’s something that everyone seems to be missing. The Mayans just looked at it as the end of a cycle, or an age, kind of like how we see the changing of the millennium. Once it was over, another one started, and away we go all over again.
This is where guys like Kalki Bhagavan come in. Again, for those of you who are unaware (as I was four minutes ago), Kalki Bhagavan is an Indian spiritual guru and some fifteen million people seem to think that he’s the tenth incarnation of Vishnu, the supreme god of Hinduism. Aside from recognizing the gloriousness of his beard, I don’t know enough about Kalki to call him either a crackpot or a fraud, so I’m not going to do either. What he’s done, though, is push 2012 as the deadline for human enlightenment to take place. According to Kalki and his group, the degenerate age of humanity (or Kali Yuga, for those interested in making my spell check convulse) is supposed to end, er, about now.
I like this interpretation a lot more than the doomsday prophecies because at least invisible planet Nibiru isn’t crashing through our heads, nor are aliens probing through our butts. I’m not ascending nude to heaven, suffering on earth, cowering in a bunker, or trying to analyze the dispersion of lettuce shreds on my McChicken sandwich for clues as to what to do. Instead, we just get a shiny new age of humanity to contend with. And it’s cool, because whatever this new, enlightened age brings, Rick Santorum’s got the porn aspect covered.
I hate saying his name, and I feel a little dirty just bringing him up because I don’t like to get into politics. Nothing makes me want the world to end more than politics, and there must be some serious end-time prophecy majumbo coming true if Rick Santorum is actually being considered by anyone with any kind of self-awareness for the presidency. If Harold Camping is a crackpot, then Rick Santorum’s entire earthenware cook set is completely pulverized.
Rick Santorum doesn’t like the idea of people having sex for reasons other than “the way things are supposed to be”, which, I suppose, means for the purpose of procreation, because he made that comment whilst discussing the evils of birth control. He particularly doesn’t like it when people do those sorts of things in the “sexual realm”, which I imagine is sort of like another dimension in the infinite multiverse, except populated with lots of sweaty dongs.
He also wants to crack down on porn, and that would be pretty devastating to the porn industry because 89% of it is made right here in the United States. He calls our culture’s acceptance of porn a “pandemic of harm”, though I prefer to think of it as a “porndemic of porn” because that’s much more fun to say. And lord knows that, when you’re a dorky looking potential presidential candidate faced with climate change, nuclear arms proliferation, domestic and foreign terrorism, and a broken economy, the thing that really matters is making sure people keep their tidy brown slacks appropriately zipped.
Here’s a thought: did you know that the porn industry in the United States makes something like 14 billion dollars a year? Worldwide, it’s closer to 100 billion, but 14 billion ain’t nothing to sneeze at, particularly when the United States is like 15 trillion dollars in debt. I bet that, if the government just turned its attention towards making porn instead of trying to regulate it out of existence, we could cancel out that debt in only like a thousand years! Plus, we’d be way too busy to spend inordinate sums of money on stuff like fighting wars. It could totally redefine our society, and maybe that’s what this new age of enlightenment should be about: making porn instead of war. And hey, at least if the world does end, we’ll all be having too much fun to take a lot of notice.
I kind of doubt Rick Santorum would be cool with that, and if there is a new world order coming, I’m not sure I really like his version of it, where we’ll all be nestled with our homogeneous, though absolutely heterogamous, family units, enjoying wholesome fun and appropriately zipped tidy brown slacks, without even so much as an obscene Scrabble game in sight. Honestly, I’ll take Harold Camping’s version of the end of the world over that any day. At least Harold Camping had people being flung around the skies nude.
One can only imagine the glorious, glorious porn that could be produced en route to heaven.