"I'm not drinking anymore of Lou's Kool-Aid."--Mike Danton
Mike Danton was just a rookie when he uttered this phrase some time in 2002. He had played all of three games or so with the New Jersey Devils, suffered an injury, then refused assignment to the minor leagues, preferring instead to sit around and do nothing. Lou was (still is, in fact) Lou Lamoriello, New Jersey's General Manager. When Danton uttered this phrase, it was the first time I remember hearing it, but I knew exactly what he meant: he wasn't going to blindly accept and follow Lou's word, he was going to think for himself.
Since then I've heard "drink the Kool-Aid"--and used it myself--dozens of times, to the point where I've practically stopped thinking about it. Recently, someone said it and I thought about it--really thought about it--for the first time in a long time. "Drink the Kool-Aid" has long been in mainstream use, but I wonder how many people now know where it came from. I'm old enough to remember, and I think it's good to be reminded of it once in a while.
On November 18, 1978, 909 members of the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project died in a mass suicide/murder in Jonestown, Guyana. The Peoples Temple was a religious group led by the Reverend Jim Jones, who moved his flock to Guyana in the mid 1970s to form a 'socialist paradise.' Whatever the original goals and intentions of the temple, things started to unravel as Jones' mental health deteriorated. Temple members practiced various scenarios should the CIA or other forces storm the compound, including mass suicide.
With hints of abuse and mistreatment of members filtering out, California Congressman Leo Ryan flew to Jonestown to investigate. Ryan and four members of his party died when they were ambushed at an airstrip while attempting to return to the United States. Later that night, the murder/suicide occurred. Most people willingly drank paper cups filled with powdered drink mix (it was widely reported to be Kool-Aid; however, it may have actually been Flavor Aid, or a mix of the two) and cyanide. Those who could not or would not drink it, such as infants, received it orally via syringe. Others may have received a subcutaneous injection. Jones himself died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Well, that's a cheerful story for the day, isn't it? Again, I think it's good to once in a while think about where these phrases come from. "Jump the shark" is much more cheerful, isn't it? Have good weekend, all.