And transcribed!
And…. interpreted?
(Well, I can’t promise anything that fantastic, but I’ll try.)
In an earlier post about statements attributed to Mel Gibson in news reports, I said that had “looked in vain for a detailed explanation of what Gibson means.” Thanks to this link from Justin (to an mp3 recording of the actual question-and-answer session between Gibson and the audience at the “Apocalypto” screening), I was able to transcribe the relevant portions of Gibson’s remarks. Because I think it’s a serious thing to make movies with a stated goal of prophesying the end of our civilization, I’m presenting them for their cultural value (such as it may be).
As it turns out, the two remarks were made approximately fifteen minutes apart, in response to two separate incidents of audience interaction.
The first remark was reported this way:

In describing its portrait of a civilization in decline, Gibson said, “The precursors to a civilization that’s going under are the same, time and time again,” drawing parallels between the Mayan civilization on the brink of collapse and America’s present situation.

Here’s what I transcribed (as accurately as possible) as I listened to the recording:

QUESTION (reread for audience benefit, as it was apparently inaudible): Was it his [Gibson’s] intent to show such a difference between sort of the tribal out in the forest people and the civilized Mayan?
GIBSON: Well yeah.
(Laughter)
And I think you know, even when you look into Cortez, um, coming into Mexico, the Aztecs? Um, he didn’t have very many people. So I think that there were lots of people in the society who were discontent with what was going on, and like all societies, you know, when you get corruption in pow- in governments and manipulation and use of fear as a kind of a means to manipulate the, the masses. You know, I think um, uh-
QUESTION: Well, thank God that doesn’t happen now!
GIBSON: No!
(Audience laughter)
I’m so happy that doesn’t happen now.
So that that, that’s what I’m trying to show I mean it uh I think and the other thing, I just want to draw the parallels between I mean the earmarks that, the precursors to a, a civilization that’s going under are always the same, time and time again. And I think that we displayed, I just looked up and I thought, you know? Uh, we display those things now. Um, here. And, I don’t mean to be a doomsday guy but uh, the Mayan calendar does end in 2012 boys and girls!
(Laughter)
Have fun!

The other remark occurs during a discussion in which Gibson mentions the film’s environmental aspects and asks the audience whether they noticed the connection between the Mayans burning lime and the problems with their crops, and ultimately, with their civilization:

GIBSON: Other aspects concerning civilization and where its taking us.
Did anyone get what was happening with the lime, the trees and stuff?
[…]
(To audience): What do you think it was?
MAN IN AUDIENCE: To destroy their own civilization, tearing up the forest.
SECOND MAN IN AUDIENCE: They’re using more than they need!
GIBSON: Conspicuous consumption yeah.
Yeah.
And then, it, it had a real serious effect. This happened in the Middle East too cause the guy who’s doing the sound “Komni,” he’s from the Middle East and he was telling me that the history there was the same that they were, they had to, in order to get the lime they had to pulverize the rocks into this powder so they could use it, and they used to have to use enormous amount of wood to heat it hot enough and then they’d make temples and things out of it. ‘ course the rain would come, wash the clay into the arability of their crops and next thing you know they’d be starving to death, there’d be disease, there’d be, and. Oddly enough in 1502 there was a locust plague as well. And um, uh, 1502 was the year Columbus rocked up off the shore of Honduras with four ships and, uh, the first people he bumped into was Mayan trading canoes. So, I figured hey, close enough! So um uh, and, and, in order to appease the gods for all the bad luck the were having, then they’d build their temples even bigger and start their sacrifice out of them. And the like, you know, human sacrifice.
And what’s human sacrifice if, if it’s not sending guys off to Iraq for no damn reason? You know? I don’t, I can’t figure that one out.
(Applause)

My fix on the interview is that Gibson thinks there are a number of ways in which we are behaving like the Mayans. We are destroying the environment, sacrificing young guys in Iraq, and when we consider that the Mayans predicted the end of the world in 2012, well….
Have fun!
The 2012 hysteria is neither new or original, and it seems to satisfy some deep human psychological human need for catastrophe.
Gibson’s historical analysis fails to persuade me. What I can’t figure out is whether Gibson susbcribes to the end of the world hysteria or he’s just pandering to it to make money.
I’m skeptical. But might the 2012 remark be evidence of a certain consistency in Gibson’s thinking? In Signs Gibson played a former priest restored to his former calling as a result of crop circles.
Might there be an, um, connection?
The crop circle connection to the Mayan end of the world is fully explained here:

The grid seems related to a “map” called “Psi Bank Warp and Holonomic Woof” mentioned in a book called “Earth Ascending,” by Jose Arguelles (page 121). The “map” consists of eight Tzolkins joined together showing relationships between the Mayan calendar, the “I Ching” and the 64 DNA codons. Arguelles researched the Mayan calendar, physics, philosophy, geomancy and the “I Ching,” and concluded that mankind is creating a “noosphere,” or mind layer, around the Earth, which is evolving towards the “Omega Point of Planetary Awakening” in 2012, according to Teillard de Chardin.

I didn’t know that, but I learn something every day.
Anyone know Tom Cruise‘s 2012 plans?