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Ask Shifra

Something Different... Answering questions and making curious observations (online) since 2005.


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Friday, September 30, 2005

Drinking the Kool-Aid

Lately I've been seeing a lot of the expression "Drinking the Kool-Aid" on the blogs.

For instance: Aston Kutcher got married in a Kabalah ceremony? He's totally drinking the Kool-Aid. OR Talk about drinking the Kool-Aid! You get your political opinions from Rush Limbaugh!

My parents never let us have Kool-Aid (or the infinitely cooler Hi-C) when I was kid. As a result they both always held a certain coolness or mystique for me and my younger brother.
Can you imagine a third grade with a cheese and alfalfa sprout sandwich on whole wheat bread in 1980? That was me. My mom was totally ahead of the curve.
In retrospect both beverages seem pretty vile and I didn't miss much- Thanks Mom.

This expression, however, really has much less to do with that oversugared nutrisionally void beverage than it does with a certain cultlike way of thinking. A cultivated departure from reality if you will.

Kool-Aid
...When someone who should know better succumbs to marketing influences and actually begins to believe the propaganda being dished out by a vendor, they are said to have drunk the Kool-Aid. Usually the decortication process is slow and almost unnoticeable until one day the victim emerges as a True Believer and begins spreading the faith himself. The term originates in the suicide of 914 followers of Jim Jones's People's Temple cult in Guyana in 1978. What the Jonestown victims actually drank was cyanide-laced Flavor-Aid, a cheap knockoff, rather than Kool-Aid itself...

Ol' Jim Jones was too cheap to spring for the real thing eh? Oh well, who's gonna complain...
(That was insensitive, I take it back.)

Anyway I had a point - oh yes, here it is:

I find this expression a little odd since once a person gets to the point of "drinking" or "having drunk" said Kool-Aid wouldn't that make them...um.... dead, and therefore no longer a victim of poor reasoning right?
Perhaps "Willing to drink the Kool-Aid" or "About to drink the Kool-Aid" would be more suggestive of someone who has bought fully into a faulty believe system- whereas "Pouring the Kool-Aid" (see the link above) suggests someone serving up said faulty logic. Try keeping that in mind the next time you can't come up with a more witty comeback.

7 Comments:

At 12:46 PM, Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

Perhaps you've been "Willing to drink the Kool-Aid" from say:
your rabbi
your husband
your parents
dovbear
life is just 1 big kool aid line

 
At 1:26 PM, Blogger Eliyahu said...

"drinking the kool-aid" has a related older relative, revealed in "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test", Tom Wolfe's 1968 book about Ken Kessey and the merry pranksters, and their adventures with then legal LSD.

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

The link refers to that one too.
Have you read that book Eliyahu?
I've always meant to...

 
At 12:46 AM, Anonymous Jaime said...

Just noticed this on AOL...thought it might come in handy. Who knows..perhaps when you go on your next job interview and a 20 something is interviewing you.

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At 4:03 PM, Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

This is a really fun post. Linguistic locutions, hooray!

 
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