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Drinking the Kool-Aid: The Cultural Transformation of a Tragedy
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Drinking the Kool-Aid: The Cultural Transformation of a Tragedy

Author: Rebecca Moore
Publisher: University of California Press
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication:Nova Religio, 7, no. 2 (2003): 92-100
Database:ArticleFirst
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Document Type: Article
All Authors / Contributors: Rebecca Moore
ISSN:1092-6690
Language Note: English
Unique Identifier: 437821606
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schema:description"The expression "drinking the Kool-Aid" has entered the American idiom with little reference to its origins in the Jonestown tragedy of 18 November 1978. Instead, people are using Jonestown- the event-and Kool-Aid-the phrase-to signify a number of contradictory meanings and values. This is because those who died in Jonestown were ritually excluded from cultural consideration. The more traumatic the original incident, the more likely memory of that event will be forgotten or repressed. The author identifies the ways Kool-Aid and Jonestown are used in the news and on the Internet, and catalogues four main groups of uses: cult disasters, including 9/11; political uses; entertainment; and business uses. The categories of cult disasters and politics use Jonestown references negatively,thereby indicating a tenuous connection with the origins of the concepts. The entertainment and business worlds, however, use the references both negatively and positively,thus revealing dissociation and amnesia about the reality of Jonestown."
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