Monday, May 25, 2015

It Wasn't Kool-Aid at Jonestown

The phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid" refers to the 1978 Jonestown massacre, in which more than 900 people committed mass suicide by drinking a flavored drink mixed with Valium, chloral hydrate, cyanite, and Phenergan....
The surprising thing is that all the sources on the massacre say the powder was the grape variety of another drink brand, Flavor Aid. Made by Jel-Sert, Flavor Aid appeared in one of the first newspaper reports on the massacre. The claim is repeated in the 1982 book Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People. And surviving witnesses said that Flavor Aid was the drink used, not Kool-Aid.
With the evidence so clear, why did the phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid" emerge? Mental Floss suggests Kool-Aid's role as being a genericized name for all flavored drinks, the popularity of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and other factors made it easier to remember "Kool-Aid" than "Flavor Aid."
Since Vox is well-known for creative sponsored content, do you think this is maybe a sponsored news story by Kraft Foods? It does seem odd to me that the article spends a sizable amount of time discouraging readers from using the phrase, "drink the Kool-Aid."  Anyway, as my label, "don't drink the tea" indicates, I think the phrase is useful as a way to call into question group-think.

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