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The Maya Complex

By Keith Kloor
Dec 23, 2011 6:52 PMNov 20, 2019 12:44 AM


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An archaeologist is peeved about the "craze over the supposed Maya prophecy of the end of the world in 2012," which he says "is based on bogus, commercialized, fake claims." Well, blow me down, are there any rational-minded people who would seriously entertain such a prophesy even if it came straight from a Carlos Castaneda book? Wait a second, those were Yaqui Indians and Castaneda was a best-selling fake. Never mind. So all this attention lavished on the Maya is grating on archaeologist Michael Smith, in part because the Mesoamerican culture he's studied gets no respect:

As an Aztec specialist, this whole Maya 2012 nonsense really bugs me. The Maya always get all the publicity, and the Aztecs get very little. The Maya are always on the History Channel or in National Geographic Magazine. Maya, Maya, Maya! We Aztec specialists often get an inferiority complex with respect to the Maya. The Aztecs actually DID predict the end of the world, but who gets all the credit for ancient prophecies for doom and destruction: the Maya, who didn't even make such prophecies.

I know! Not fair. The Maya get to be a poster child for eco-collapse and the stars of a brutish, bloodthirsty movie. What are the Aztecs known for? Montezuma's revenge.

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