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Letter To The Editor: In Response To ‘Maya 2012’ Article

Concerning the article, “Yale Professor Discusses Maya 2012”:

As a History major here at CCSU, I was very excited for the three-part lecture series on the Maya calendar that the History Club organized. As a loyal reader of The Recorder, I was thrilled there was an article about the most recent lecture, given by Dr. Oswaldo Chinchilla from Yale University, on the front page of last week’s issue.
The two lectures so far were great, the article…not so much.
First of all, was the author even there? The very first sentence, saying Dr. Chinchilla said “the Mayans actually believe that the world will end December 21, 2012”, is not correct. At no point in the lecture did Chinchilla state this. He deals specifically with ancient Mayan archaeology, art, and decipherment, not modern. Also, there is not enough sufficient evidence to show what the Mayans truly believed; there are many different Mesoamerican myths, which were covered by Chinchilla. Who’s to say they know which one the Mayans held to be dogma? Chinchilla did not claim to know. To say that the Mayans, who are still present to this day in great numbers, believe the Hollywood-hyped story about December 21, 2012 would be a sweeping generalization of an entire people.
After this, the author swiftly delves into and through the pivotal topic of the 13th baktun. While Dr. Chinchilla did explain that the end of the 13th baktun is the end of the Mayan calendar, which happens to land on December 21st this year, he perhaps did not emphasize that the Mayan calendar is not like the calendar we have today. Instead of going on into the future as a straight line like our calendar, the Mayans had a circular calendar. In other words, at the end of the 13th baktun, the first baktun starts, as has happened in the past and will happen again.
The author also failed to mention that the one person who she got a comment from about the lecture, interrupted Dr. Chinchilla every time he tried to answer one of their questions. Professor Mary Ann Mahony had to speak up and ask the participant to let Dr. Chinchilla have a chance to answer their questions.
Overall, the article was a misleading and poor representation of an interesting lecture from an expert on the ancient Maya. I look forward to the next and final lecture in the series on the Maya calendar, I do hope, however, that if The Recorder sends a writer, they pick someone who will pay more attention.

Shannon Carrigan