Tuesday, November 09, 2010


No doubt you have heard this phrase - it seems popular with many pundits and talking heads, particularly Bill O'Reilly and other Fox News contributors.  The phrase has become synonymous with "You shouldn't trust any person or group that I don't agree with."  On YouTube, one can find all kinds of examples of how the phrase has been used, and if you google "Don't drink the Kool Aid", you will find many interesting websites discussing the phrase.  It seems to have become part of the urban lexicon, but the story behind the phrase is summarized in this video, a student's project for an English class:

Personally, I find the phrase repulsive.  It represents the mass suicide of over 900 people, the suicide of their supposed leader after he watched over the drinking of cyanide-laced Kool Aid, and the assassination of US Congressman Leo Ryan.  I would like to know how many of you also find the phrase offensive, or find it simply a descriptor for a point of view with which you disagree. 

There is a poll at the bottom of this page -  vote!  I note that it's a bit hard to read the answers because of the background - they are Yes - No - Ambivalent.   Thanks [only to those who vote]


Anonymous said...

The beginnings of a good rhetorical analysis.

Anonymous said...

While I can understand how some people would be offended by the flippent use of a phase "coined" by such a tragety, I am not. This does not mean I am not sensitive to how it might impact others. Much of history is pop culture - the myth being mighter than the fact - as a result our culture is filled with such flippent sayings e.g. the Lizzy Borden poem comes to mind, but I am sure if I had the time to ponder this I could come up with many, many examples. Death in our culture is so unpleasant a topic that in order to make ourselves comfortable we need to inject humor into the most difficult of situations; flippant names

Anonymous said...

I don't find it offensive. I never even realized it referred to an opposing viewpoint. I thought it just meant don't let yourself get brainwashed. If I stop and think about it I can see how it would ring as painful for anyone who was close to that tragedy. In that way, I suppose it is distasteful. Otherwise, I think it's a pretty good warning.

Bizzy Brain said...

Jim Jones (born and raised in Indiana by the way) induced his followers to drink Flavor Aid, not Kool-Aid. They died drinking grape flavored Flavor Aid laced with cyanide and some other sedative. He was a communist, illegal drug user, and committed much adultery, with men as well as women.