Posted by Smokey Stover on June 13, 2006
In Reply to: Drink the Kool Aid posted by Victoria S Dennis on June 12, 2006
: : : : Any takers for "Drink the coolaid"? It would appear to be a US originated phrases and it's meaning is quite close to "towing the corporate line". I'm curious how it came to be. I'm thinking it could be realetd to the energizing drink Gatorade, but it also appears to be a cocktail.
: : : It refers to mass murder/suicide by members of the Jim Jones cult. The poison was in a Kool Aid type drink.
: : : James Warren "Jim" Jones (May 13, 1931 - November 18-19(?), 1978) was the American founder of the Peoples Temple church that developed into a group with cult-like beliefs, power structures and practices. On November 18, 1978, most Peoples Temple members followed Jones' advice to commit mass suicide by drinking poison in their isolated agricultural intentional community called Jonestown, located in the jungle of Guyana. Jones was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head among the 914 corpses there.
: : Today, the phrase is cynically applied to any group of followers who accept dogma/policy/propaganda without question. Corporate employees who believe totally in the direction and management of the company, for example.
: NB that you don't "tow the line"; you "toe the line" - i.e. you stand in a row with your toes just touching the line, as when runners line up before a race.
If "Drink the KoolAid" appears just like that, as the whole sentence, I wouldn't be surprised to find a humorous context. Yes, I can imagine it used not only as a joke, but as a funny one. Back to Jonestown: it's not quite accurate to say that everyone drank the FlavorAid willingly. There were armed guards present, and children in particular are said to have put up a hell of a fuss. To this day, no one knows at whose hands Jones himself died. SS