Setting the record straight on ‘drink the Kool-Aid’
by Graham Kislingbury, Mid-Valley Newspapers, 13 June 2010
I always cringe when I hear people use the now-common expression “drink the Kool-Aid.” According to Wikipedia, “the phrase suggests that one has mindlessly adopted the dogma of a group or leader without fully understanding the ramifications or implications.”…Kool-Aid is made by Kraft Foods. I called the company recently to see how it deals with the “drink the Kool-Aid” phrase. My message was passed on to Bridgett MacConnell, Kraft’s senior manager for beverages in the U.S., who called me from her Tarrytown, N.Y., office. MacConnell also cringes when she hears the words “drink the Kool-Aid.” The company, however, doesn’t get defensive, nor does it send out requests for corrections. “It’s become ubiquitous,” she said. “The idea of trying to fight it is not worth it.”… Last month while visiting relatives on the San Francisco Peninsula, my mother and I drove to Alta Mesa Memorial Park cemetery in Palo Alto. Grass had grown over portions of my dad’s grave marker, so I cleaned it up. Less than a foot away is my sister’s grave. I stood over it for a minute, and had the thought I’ve always had when viewing it: She shouldn’t be dead.
I can’t change what happened at Jonestown or the fact that a grave marker at Alta Mesa bears the name Sharon Kislingbury.
Forthe rest of my life, however, I can do something about the bad rap that Kool-Aid continues to get. Whenever I see or hear the words “drink the Kool-Aid,” I will politely set the record straight.
Where did the term “drinking kool-aid” come from?
An ongoing discussion at Yahoo!Answers
Three definitions at the urban dictionary
Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid
by Dub Mowery, The Gilmer (TX) Mirror, 15 July 2010
For more than 30 years the coined expression: “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid!” is often heard. It generally carries the concept of not being gullible. In other words, don’t be easily taken in by a smooth talker. How did that saying come about? It was derived from a tragedy in November of 1978 when 913 members of the People’s Temple cult committed suicide. That took place after Jim Jones, the leader of that cult, persuaded his followers to move from the United States to a remote area of Guyana in South America.… It is hard to believe that those people blindly followed such a fanatic individual as Jim Jones. He obviously used intimidation in that several of the people attempted to leave with the congressman and the reporters. Any religion that uses physical force to assure compliance unto it is an inferior religion.
Drink the Kool-Aid
by John J. St. John, Author’s Den, 4 July 2010
“You’ve gotta drink the Kool-Aid”. When did you first hear someone say that? It was only a couple of years ago I learned this has become a favorite catch-phrase of today’s thirty or forty-somethings. They use it as a kind of cool shorthand for acknowledging that we all live under certain strictures or demands laid down by one or another authority in our lives. Whether it describes a practice dictated by etiquette, or formulaic words we are obliged to parrot in certain circumstances, or someone’s notion of the proper clothing to wear, the essence of its meaning is that – even though we might prefer otherwise – we must nonetheless conform to the group norm if we wish to remain in good standing. There’s no way around it. We have to suck it up, “drink the Kool-Aid”. It’s a damn good expression, actually. Very descriptive. Especially if you are old enough to remember how it originated.
33 Conspiracy Theories that turned out to be True…
by Jonathan Elinoff, New World Order, 6 January 2010
…In fact, if one were to look into conspiracy theories, they will largely find that thinking about a conspiracy is associated with lunacy and paranoia. Some websites suggest it as an illness. It is also not surprising to see so many people on the internet writing about conspiracy theories in a condescending tone, usually with the words “kool-aid,” “crack pot,” or “nut job” in their articulation. This must be obvious to anyone that emotionally writing about such serious matter insults the reader more than the conspiracy theorist because there is no need to resort to this kind of behavior. It is employed often with an “expert” who will say something along the lines of, “for these conspiracies to be true, you would need hundreds if not thousands of people to be involved. It’s just not conceivable.”
Speak No Evil: The Decade’s Worst New Business Terms
by David Schepp, Daily Finance, 26 December 2009
Perhaps we were doomed from the start. In a decade that we never knew how to name — the aughts? the naughts? the zeros? — tortured words and phrases in business communication blossomed. Buzzwords and phrases once typically came from larger society, such as “drink the Kool-Aid,” meaning “believe in something on faith alone,” which originated from the mass suicides of the 1978 Jonestown Massacre.
Derivatives, Extensions, and Variations of a Familiar Phrase
Are you a ‘jazz nerd’?
Jason Marsalis revisits and clarifies the term
by Jason Marsalis, Los Angeles Times, 15 June 2010
Almost NO music before 1990 is referenced in the majority of music played today. But if you don’t study the history of jazz, or music for that matter, the good news is that you have an out clause. Jazz magazines and writers created this flavor of kool-aid named “innovation,” and when a musician drinks “innovation kool-aid,” you believe the following principles:
1. Jazz has to move forward into the future.
2. We can’t get stuck in the past with hero worship.
3. Swing is old and dated. We have to use the music of today.
4. Jazz is limiting. You must take a chance by bringing in current styles.
5. I don’t care about the past. I have to do my own thing.
6. We’re past playing American songbook standards. That’s yesterday’s music.
How to Hate the iPad: A Break Down of the Backlash
by Mike Melanson, Read Write Web, 29 January 2010
TweetFeel, a sentiment analysis tool that uses tweets as its data set, offers us a snapshot of this darker side of the iPad.… “The positive tweets are mostly folks saying things like ‘It’s awesome’ [and] ‘I want one’,” he wrote. “When looking at Apple products, the positive responses are usually very ‘Koolaid-esque’ meaning they don’t really say why they like it but just that they do…and they want.”
Innovator and writer looks ahead – with caution
by Peter Hartlaub, The San Francisco Chronicle, 15 November 2009
…Hanging out with [Stewart] Brand can be intimidating. Less than an hour into our first meeting, this reporter tried to dazzle Brand with some trivia: The oft-used term “drinking the Kool-Aid” is wrong, because Jim Jones gave his Jonestown followers Flavor Aid during their mass suicide in Guyana.
“I think ‘drinking the Kool-Aid’ predates Jim Jones to Ken Kesey – ‘Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test’ and all that,” Brand politely corrects. “Drinking Kool-Aid actually had a very different meaning then. It meant ‘Are you on the bus or off the bus? Are you in or are you out?’ All it meant is are you trusting Neal Cassady. And why would you do that?” He should know. He was there. Tom Wolfe wrote about Brand in “The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,” and thanked him in the author’s note.
Drinking the Kool-Aid (sic)
The connection between the phrase and Tom Wolfe’s book was also suggested here.
Jonestown Kool-Aid Cake: A recipe from Apocalypse Cakes