World's end a true conversation killer

WELL, there goes another one - year that is - and we must say we're absolutely delighted that you're still with us.

Unlike some folk who apparently have vanished without trace in the Christmas-New Year wash up.

No, we're not talking here of PM Julia Gillard, or even a fluoro- jacketed Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, neither of whom are fronting up to the news bulletins much these days what with being on well-earned holidays.

We understand that Julia is busy practising elongating her vowels to freshen up her faux-Aussie working class accent before the upcoming federal election campaign.

Tony? He's still working on reverse parks in that semi- articulated truck until he gets it right.

Meanwhile, we should explain to you why some of the relatives and friends with whom you expected to celebrate the festive season, or the end of the old year, seem to have disappeared.

The reason was revealed to your correspondent at a New Year's Eve knees-up with an earnest-looking bloke explaining, somewhat conspiratorially, that the Mayan prediction of world's end actually did occur several weeks ago.

That's in accord with the forecast by the Central American tribe that (and according to Wikipedia) "4-Ajau, God 9 of the Night, 3-Kank'in Year Bearer 1-kaban" was calculated as the last date of the 5125-year-long cycle in the Meso- american Long Count calendar.

You would know it better as December 21, 2012.

"I'm afraid some people didn't make it through", sombrely, but perhaps not soberly, announced the partygoer.

What happened was that the world did explode "but most people slept through it", he added.

"Now we've all, or most of us, been transported to a parallel universe, exactly like the one we left," pointed out the guy who may have watched one too many episodes of Fringe on GO.

Your correspondent thought of arguing the toss here. For example, asking what about people who kept different hours to the rest of us, indeed people in different lands and time zones but decided it wasn't worth the aggro.

And especially as he appeared to have consumed several large glasses of what appeared to be a perfectly acceptable cab sav.

Rather than suggest to the bearer of tidings that he, as Dawn French would have said in TV's The Vicar of Dibley, "must have got off the train at Looney Central", it's just as well these days to let sleeping ideologues lie.

Good gracious, there's enough madness to be going on with into 2013 without encouraging world- enders with fanciful scenarios - let alone Greensters and God botherers.

There's a long history of this, starting with most religions.

Indeed, as a letter writer to this newspaper, M. Fyfe, of Prospect, noted last week: "The Christian religion is essentially a doomsday cult, with the book of Revelation underpinning Western cultural fascination with end-of-world claims".

With the Christian belief base fast shrinking, environmentalists have seized on the "end-of-world" business with their new age gospel and theology, the global warming cult, based on the concept that we have sinned against nature and the only way we can escape the wrath of Gaia, rather than God, let alone rising sea levels and a gigantic carbon footprint, is by ditching the vehicle, not mining coal and atoning for our sins by building steel windmills, wearing a hair shirt and eating tofu in a candle-lit cave.

Let us look on the bright side.

According to British pundit Hugo Rifkind, writing in the Australian Spectator last week, there is "a sense of apocalypse for predictions of the apocalypse".

"There's a notable dearth of medieval monks, nuns, Assyrian tablets, foaming witches from Yorkshire who are willing to put a date to it," says Rifkind, who conjectures that "maybe we've grown out of it".

Not if the doom-and-gloom Greens have anything to do with it, we haven't.

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