Let's Stop Saying, 'Don't Drink the Kool-Aid'

Considering 900 people died, it's more than a little offensive: Meghan Daum
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2011 1:42 PM CST
Satori Gregory of Boston looks over photographs of the more than 900 victims of the Jonestown massacre in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

(Newser) – Judging by how often it gets thrown around these days, "Don't drink the Kool-Aid" seems to have become a "staple of self-righteous public discourse," writes Meghan Daum in the Los Angeles Times. It's a trendy way to ridicule people who blindly follow a particular ideology. It's also time to give this phrase a rest, writes Daum. Remember that it comes from the 1978 tragedy in which more than 900 Americans drank cyanide-laced punch (it was Flavor-Aid, not Kool-Aid) at the behest of the messianic Jim Jones in Guyana.

"There's something grotesque, even offensive, about comparing public figures or members of opposing political parties or nonviolent activists to followers of a deranged, murderous cult leader," writes Daum. Tomorrow is the 33rd anniversary of the Jonestown massacre. "Maybe it's worth marking the occasion by trying not to say 'drink the Kool-Aid' for at least a day." Click for the full column.

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