I'm about a week late with this, but just wanted to register an impressionistic impression of Harold Camping.
Back in the 1970's and 1980's, before the elite runners were given their own slightly earlier start at big marathons, there would always be a couple of clowns who would sprint out to an early lead at the beginning of the race in order to get on TV. It wasn't even as if they actually thought they would convince any real fans of the sport that they were serious contenders, they just wanted to be on TV and maybe fool a couple of the uninformed onlookers into thinking that they were world class runners. (The TV announcers would usually just express annoyance with them.) These runners knew they wouldn't be able to maintain such a fast pace for long, but they would keep going as fast as they could for a mile or so before they would get winded and have to settle back, exposed as the pretenders they were.
In a way this is a somewhat sociopathic mode of thinking. Sociopaths will tell you all sorts of self-aggrandizing lies. It doesn't seem to matter that much to them that they will eventually be caught in these lies. They simply enjoy the momentary (false) glory that accrues from their tall tales. They can actually enjoy basking in someone's admiration even when they know that admiration will soon be replaced by contempt.
Likewise, by predicting the end of the world last Saturday, Harold Camping was able to bask in the world's spotlight for a few weeks (even if much of the attention he got was derogatory). Anybody who is able to accumulate as much money and as many radio stations as he has can't be crazy. So he must have known that his doomsday prediction was a lot of malarkey, to use a term from his youth. And he must have known that after May 21st he would be fully exposed as a charlatan. Yet that didn't prevent him from enjoying his moment in the spotlight.
There's a common character thread running through each of the above described behaviors.
Perhaps the next time Camping, or someone like him, predicts the end of the world, we should ask him to give all of his money away before the date. After all, if he really believes that it's all ending, his money shouldn't make any difference to him. And if he doesn't give all of his money away, we'll know he's lying.