I had to drink a lot of yucky electrolyte before going to the clinic here in Seattle for a routine check-up today. The pharmacist suggested that I could flavor the stuff with Kool-Aid if I wanted to. So I bought some ‘Lemonade’ .. but the electrolyte on its own was not that awful and I didn’t need to flavor it after all. But it made me look up where the phrase ‘drinking the Kool-Aid’ came from.
‘He drank the Kool-Aid’ suggests that the person has mindlessly adopted the dogma of a group or leader without fully understanding the ramifications or implications (from Wikipedia). And so it turns out the phrase refers to the infamous 1978 Jonestown Massacre where religious cult leader Jim Jones’ followers followed him to death in a mass suicide. A shocking 909 people died in Jamestown that day. All the Peoples Temple members drank from a metal vat containing a mixture of Kool-Aid (that some say was actually a different brand called Flavor Aid), cyanide, and prescription drugs Valium, Phenergan, and chloral hydrate.