Drinking the Kool-Aid Turns 25


Tim Reiterman, a former San Francisco Examiner reporter who took a bullet during the Jonestown Massacre, looks back, as does his former editor Jeff Jarvis.


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  1. I love it: To Jarvis, Sept. 11 is now lumped into the gooey realm of “tragedy”, along with Harvey Milk’s death, AIDS and Jonestown. While we’re at it, we might as well add:
    1) My stubbed toe from last night
    2) The guy that cut me off this morning, causing me to spill my coffee, and
    3) I dropped the toothpaste cap down the drain
    Tragedies, all.

    Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick!!!

  2. I wish AIDS had only killed 3000 Americans.

  3. In the United States since 1984: What percentage of AIDS deaths have resulted from voluntary participation in high risk behavior (Drugs, uprotected sex) vs. involuntary methods like the transfusions that doomed Starsky’s wife and Arthur Ashe?
    I dont know…is it 75/25? 90/10? 95/5?
    Does anyone have any reliable CDC info?

  4. Clement:

    Your mendacity is only exceeded by your transference of narcissism.

    Why is it that when someone wishes to criticise someone’s writing about a broad subject such as “tragedy,” they almost invariably resort to the intellectually lazy attack of moral relativism? I mean, cannot a person relate their personal horror stories to larger ones without being accused of diminishing the impact of the latter? If I lost a loved one on September 11, 2001, does my talking or writing about how that death made me feel scream out that I don’t care about all of the others? Of course fucking not.

  5. Does anyone have any reliable CDC info?

    try here: http://www.cdc.gov.

    PS Of course the victims of 9/11 didn’t “ask for it,” if that is what you are trying to imply by comparing AIDS deaths to that horrible attack. Now, whether our foreign policy had it coming, and innocents picked up the tab is another debatable subject.

  6. But wasn’t the “Koolaid”, the one in the tom wolfe article with the lsd in it?

  7. Electric Kool Aid?


  8. Clement Vallandigham: What precisely is your problem (besides mendacity and stupidity, that is)? Excuuuuuuse me for mentioning the deaths of my own friends in the same breath as personally witnessing the deaths of thousands on September 11th. What would you have me do? Shrug? Dance a jig on their graves? It’s people like you who give (a) the Internet, (b) democracy, (c) speech a bad name. Let me know when someone you know and care for dies so I can put my dancing shoes on. Jeesh.

  9. That comment above is from me, the guy from the gooey realm, just to be clear.

  10. Dear Jeff Jarvis,

    I believe your unimaginable, unknowable personal pain regarding the death of your friends has clouded your better judgement on the nature of “tragedy.”

    There is a fundamental difference as to how society should react to an office worker slaughtered by a jihadist and a IV drug user who shares a needle and contracts a potentially fatal disease. Both are sad things for different reasons, but not force majeure, bad luck, inevitable, i.e., the definition of a tragedy.

    Save your jig for a more festive subject.
    You’re too kind regarding my negative impact on the internet, speech and democracy. I do my part.

  11. Clement: So it’s your vaguely disguised prejudices we’re really talking about here.
    How dare you set yourself up as the official arbiter of which thousand deaths qualify as tragedy or not? You are one sad, sick puppy. You are the tragdy here.

  12. Has it been 25 years since my (at the time) young mind was assaulted with the images of rows upon rows of stacked, bloated dead bodies rotting in the hot sun? Sad that human beings still fall for cults. History must be one frustrated teacher.

  13. well at least the neocons were not pushing the US into a global warmongering hegemonic hyperpower that might have intervened and stopped Jim Jones before he led 900 people to their deaths.

  14. Another tragedy: Clement will not likely be hit by a bus anytime soon. Too bad. I’d go to Arthur Murray after that one.

  15. I propose a new feature for Reason Online:

    The Clement Vallandigham Judgement Link. You click on it, and a box opens up. You then describe, in 50 words or less, your personal life. Click on “Submit,” and within 1 minute, Clem will decide whether or now you deserve to die a miserable death.

  16. “Both are sad things for different reasons, but not force majeure, bad luck, inevitable, i.e., the definition of a tragedy.”


    You must be using a different dictionary than I am:

    1 a : a medieval narrative poem or tale typically describing the downfall of a great man b : a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and a superior force (as destiny) and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that excites pity or terror c : the literary genre of tragic dramas
    2 a : a disastrous event : CALAMITY b : MISFORTUNE
    3 : tragic quality or element

  17. give’m hell,Valiant Vall,circa 1863

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  21. EMAIL: master-x@canada.com
    URL: http://www.penis-pill-enlargement.com
    DATE: 02/27/2004 03:35:44
    If you save the world too often, it begins to expect it.

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