The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

25 YEARS AFTER THE KOOL-AID
In the most bizarre of coincidences, today marks not only the 75th anniversary of Mickey Mouse's birth, but also the 25th anniversary of the Jonestown Massacre.

The method by which Jim Jones carried out his mass death--stirring cyanide into fruit punch and ordering his followers to drink it--has given rise to the term "drink the Kool-Aid". This is much to the chagrin of Kraft Foods, especially since there's evidence that the powdered drink in question wasn't Kool-Aid at all. I think it's a case of what sounds hipper and catchier; plus, Kool-Aid has become a universal brand name for the type of product it represents, much like Kleenex or Band-Aid.

In any case, it seems to me that the "drinking the Kool-Aid" phrase has been used with more frequency lately. I especially notice it in sports, where it's probably a natural for some disgruntled player and/or his agent to complain about a coach's approach in those terms. The example that comes to mind is former New Jersey Devil Mike Danton on Devils GM Lou Lamoriello.