Will the World End at Midnight? (Hint: Nope)

This week we asked ourselves the World’s Most Important Question: Why do these 12/21 End of the World Nibiru cataclysm folks get so much attention? How did they score such a massive PR coup? (Oh, a quick note because you asked: The reason that the world will supposedly end tonight instead of tomorrow night is that it all begins in New Zealand, which is a day ahead of us. Or something like that.)

Well, all this nonsense pretty much comes down to one woman who is—get ready for a shocker—slightly insane.

The whole “Mayans predicted the end” deal isn’t new, but the idea that an “interplanetary object” known as Nibiru (which might be a star or a planet) will bring about the end by crashing into the Earth came to us in 1995 courtesy of a nice lady named Nancy Lieder, who claims to communicate with aliens and started an awesome site called ZetaTalk to let everyone know that the end was near.

She initially predicted  that the date of judgment would come in 2003, but she quickly revised her calculations after that didn’t happen, claiming that the “government” conspired to conceal the real date so it could implement martial law, trapping citizens in cities and ensuring their slow, painful deaths. Believable!

But the most annoying thing about this lady isn’t that she is a nut or that her theories have spread, like a viral video, around the End of Times community since the mid-90’s.

No, the thing that really gets us about her is that she advises followers to put their pets to sleep so they don’t have to suffer through the awful period that will follow the end of the world (which isn’t really the end but just the beginning of the end, OK?). She noted during the same interview that “A dog makes a good meal”, which offends us on so many levels that we can’t quite process it.

Anyway. We had a point but we forgot what it was, because PR doesn’t seem to work the same way among niche cliques as it does in the general population. We have no idea how this nonsense got so big beyond the fact that certain people just can’t get enough of the gloom and the doom. Maybe it gives them a terribly misguided sense of purpose. Or maybe they watched too many X-Files episodes.

Oh, and if you want science to explain why we’ll all still be around on Friday/Saturday morning, you can always click here. We’re feeling too tired and lazy, though. Can’t we just do it on Sunday?

It’s not like the world is going to end or anything.

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.