Remembering to Remember

Friday, November 21, 2008


Rarely a week goes by without news media using an anniversary peg for stories and this week is no different. The Jonestown massacre, a mass poisoning of over 900 members of Peoples Temple, occurred 30 years ago this Tuesday. Tim Reiterman, a reporter who has covered the story since the beginning, talks about revisiting it every five years.
    Music Playlist
  • Dinner Bells
    Artist: Wolf Parade

Comments [5]

Peggy from No Cal

I was 18 years old when I went with a friend to a "job interview". The position she was applying for was a marketing position. I thought I would wait outside for her, but they invited me into the interview with her. I did not know until later that we were being recruited by the Jim Jones Cult. They were very convincing. They wore suits and ties and were very professional. They described how they were going to build a utopia in an exotic place. They were building a ship in Sausalito which offered an opportunity to learn building skills. It sounded like an enticing adventure. I can see how someone could have been sucked into their cult.

Aug. 18 2012 04:40 PM
Jane Doe from Guyana

You must be culturally and historically illiterate to completely and totally miss the meaning of 'drinking the kool-aid.' Unless you were born in 1985 how can you not know about the Jonestown Massacre? Unbelievable. It means you are like a cult member who would follow orders to your own death. "Reappropriating and rearticulating the metaphor," what kind of post-modern garbage is that? You need to know what you are talking about if you're going to showboat. If you have such a command of the English language, get a command of history as well.

Jan. 30 2009 02:08 PM
Guido Stein from Boston, MA

I have to agree with Stuart on this. I believe that drinking the Kool-Aid is a part the legacy of Tom Wolfe.

To be honest, I didn't know anything about the Jonestown Massacre up until listening to this piec you had in the show.

Dec. 10 2008 09:08 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

I had been ruminating over this one for a day or so when I read a post on our local, on-line newspaper, the New Haven Independent, from a regular who signs himself FedUpWithLiberals, about a rise in fees at a local beach. He wrote: “ROBN Have no fear about the water. Much better for you than Kool Aid!”

That helped this crystallize.

FUWL, just this time I have to say that was in bad taste. As has been well-recounted recently, most people at Jonestown were murdered and I never thought Kesey's acid tests were a good thing.

I had lunch with the former, and I avoided demonstrating against war with the other all on the same day in Berkeley in 1971.

Ken looked too much like my eldest brother, driving his camera-armed armored personnel carrier onto the campus plaza, as my brother eventually was about to do (not exactly but, close enough for government work) here at Yale’s Beinecke.

A show of force, even mock force, is not a model for ending a war and Jones' use of force was just pure evil.

Nov. 24 2008 02:00 AM
Stuart Bagwell from Durham, NC

Reappropriating and rearticulating the metaphor: When I think of drinking the Kool-Aid, I'm referring to joining a group’s collective, delusional, and typically sanguine, mindset. I’m reminded amusingly of Ken Kesey's “Electric Kool-Aid” in Tom Wolfe’s “Acid Test”–not the mass murder at Jonestown.

Nov. 22 2008 07:00 AM

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