998: 2012

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This page refers to the comic named "2012". For comic #2012, see 2012: Thorough Analysis.
To compensate for this, I plan to spend 2013 doing nothing but talking about Mayans. My relationships with my friends and family may not fare well.
Title text: To compensate for this, I plan to spend 2013 doing nothing but talking about Mayans. My relationships with my friends and family may not fare well.


This New Year comic is in reference to the fact that the Mayans, an ancient civilization in the Americas, created a calendar that ends (or, more accurately: restarts) on December 21, 2012. This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the calendar used by the Mayan culture. Knowing this, some thought that the world was going to end on that date.

Consequently, a lot of people were talking about the Mayans, concerned that the world might end. After December 21, 2012 passed uneventfully, everyone was less concerned about the Mayans, because the world didn't end.[citation needed] It is worthy of note that this comic was published nearly a year before the "significant" date and that Randall predicted both the hype and the aftermath perfectly.

There is a measure of irony to be had in how the Mayans who still exist today were largely ignored by the doomsayers. "Or acknowledging that huge city-building ancient American civilizations existed at all."

In the final frame, Megan parodies the phrase, "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it," applying a twist to suggest an academic context. In most American schools, a Grade Point Average is computed by assigning numeric value to each letter grade: A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, and F=0; receiving high marks (all A's) thus yields a 4.0 GPA. However, if you "Fail to learn from History" — that is, get a failing grade, F, and had at least 3 other classes (not an unusual course load) — you would still get a 3.0 with A's in those other classes. With a more common workload of eight courses per year, GPA as high as 3.5 can actually be reached in those circumstances. She is making the callous — if roundabout — observation that failing to grasp history, while no doubt troubling, isn't an academic show-stopper. Her comment may also be taken to suggest that people who feared the Mayan "prediction" of the end of the world would come to pass had failed to appropriately extrapolate from the numerous other faulty predictions of the end of the world. In fact the Mayans never actually predicted the end of the world with their calendar, they just didn't have infinite stone.[citation needed]

The title text jokes that to make up for the lack of Mayan discussion, Randall plans to spend 2013 talking solely about Mayans. For obvious reasons[citation needed], people would probably get sick of this very quickly, hence his comment that his relationships might not fare well. Thankfully, as of 2014, not a single published xkcd comic of 2013 featured any Mayans, so we're pretty sure this promise wasn't kept.


[Cueball and Megan are talking.]
Cueball: Well, it's 2012.
[Cueball and Megan in frameless panel.]
Megan: Yup.
Megan: Only 354 days left until everybody abruptly stops talking about Mayans.
[Cueball and Megan in wide panel to fit longer text content.]
Cueball: Or thinking about Mayans.
Cueball: Or acknowledging that huge city-building ancient American civilizations existed at all.
Megan: You know what they say — those who fail to learn from history can still manage a 3.0 if they ace their other subjects.


  • December 21 is the 355th day of the year (and the 356th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar and because this comic was released on January 2 and 2012 was a leap year there were exactly 354 days left.
  • Two years later another New Years comic with just the new years number as the title was released: 1311: 2014. But actually the content of that comic was more related to the previous comic before this one 997: Wait Wait, which is also a New Year comic, that took a look at what could happen in 2012, just as 2014 does for 2014... In 2016 a comic, with only the new year as the name theme, occurred again 1624: 2016.

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2012 is almost over, and no end of the world yet. Makin' progress. Davidy22(talk) 02:08, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

We have until Winter Solstice, it seems, whereupon we face a calamity the likes of which haven't been seen since Y2K. -- IronyChef (talk) 06:33, 20 November 2012 (UTC)

I haven't been this disappointed by the apocalypse since Y2K. Not even worth a rental. 03:51, 24 January 2013 (UTC)

Upgraded to past tense. Alpha (talk) 20:32, 23 February 2013 (UTC)

The Mayan did not predict the end of the world, they just would have to use a new calendar.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:56, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

That's what the explanation says... why the incomplete/incorrect tag? 10:11, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
I think it's the "numerous other faulty predictions" line in the third paragraph. That said, it's not the Mayans who predicted the end of the world, but those who failed to learn from history. Anonymous 01:46, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

I take 4 AP courses this year. AP courses have a bonus point to GPA; for example, an A in an AP course translates to a GPA of 5. I also take a non-AP English course. I am certain that I will get straight-A's in the AP courses, so I can fail the English class and still get a 4.0 GPA, which means straight-A's across the board. --Troy0 (talk) 13:16, 27 August 2014 (UTC)

It would certainly have been the end of the world for those who died or committed suicide on that day. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Except for those who did so on Ilkley Moor (unless it was involuntarily. (Or related in some way to the comic.))

Plans to advertise Mayan culture after the year indicate that journalism is a major cause of Fail. Discuss. I used Google News BEFORE it was clickbait (talk) 06:36, 22 January 2015 (UTC)

Just had a 'Duh' moment, and I don't know why no-one else has noticed this, but not only does 354 days only get you to December 20, that's in non-leap years. 2012 was a leap year. Hence, the number of days should be 356. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Please do not forget to sign your comments. And your 'Duh' moment is wrong. The comic was released on January 2. Just check the new trivia section. --Dgbrt (talk) 19:25, 2 January 2018 (UTC)

Can we start talking about Mayans again? As mentioned, they're still around in the millions, and languages like Yucatec Maya have ~800,000 speakers, and plenty of resources. The Mayan languages are super cool grammatically. Yucatec Mayan has no tense whatsoever, nor does it have any words like next, after, before, etc. It handles telling the listener about the order and time of events in a completely unique way. 15:38, 15 October 2022 (UTC)