The Language of Jonestown

The deaths in Jonestown gave birth to a expression – “drinking the Kool-Aid” – which has become so pervasive in American culture, and so embedded as an idiom, that most people who use it have either forgotten or are unaware of its origin. But there are other words which have assumed a new context – or which have adopted Jonestown as an illustration – since November 18, 1978. The following articles consider the use of these words and expressions in the last 30 years.

  1. Reframing the frame: Peoples Temple and the Power of Words, by Alla Tovares
  2. Does Brainwashing Exist?, by Michael Haag, Ph.D.
  3. The Problem Is Totalism, Not “Cults”, by Catherine Wessinger
  4. The Many Meanings of “Revolutionary Suicide”, by Bonnie Yates
  5. The Ethical Dilemma of Revolutionary Suicide, by the Rev. Richard Lawrence
  6. Am I a Jonestown Apologist?, by Josef Dieckman
  7. Drinking the Kool-Aid
    1. Metaphor b. 11/18/78, by Annie Dawid
    2. What Does Kool-Aid Really Mean?, by Phyllis Abel Gardner, Ph.D.
    3. Drinking the Kool-Aid: A (Partial) 2008 Directory
  8. Picturing Jonestown: Visual Media and the Social Constriction of Pictures, by Douglas E. Cowan