Introduction: Geographies of Media

Authored by: Paul C. Adams , Jim Craine , Jason Dittmer

The Ashgate Research Companion to Media Geography

Print publication date:  August  2014
Online publication date:  March  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409444015
eBook ISBN: 9781315613178
Adobe ISBN: 9781317042822


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Planning this project took a great leap of faith. After all, we were doing most of the work during the final year in the thirteenth b’ak’tun in the ancient Mayan calendar. By some accounts, the world would end on December 21, 2012 – long before we could finish our project. As early as 2006, hundreds of Web sites in dozens of languages had appeared in anticipation of the calendrical event as well as “compact discs of music, videos, on-line discussion groups, and even commemorative t-shirts” (Sitler 2006: 24, 27). Maya-millennialism also spawned close to 2,000 books and tens of millions of Web sites, as well as television programs on the Discovery Channel and History Channel, and films such as Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto and Roland Emmerich’s 2012 (Sitler 2012). Many if not most of these texts profited from the craze while conveying little understanding of the Mayan people, their culture, or even their sense of time. Serious scholars, including scientists at NASA, joined the debate to expose some of the delusions, deceptions, and misunderstandings (Stuart 2011; Hoopes 2011; Restall and Solari 2011), but at least some of their arguments may have been beside the point. The event meant what people in 2012 wanted it to mean, not what the ancient Mayans intended.

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