Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Missed Opportunity to Educate

It's funny that I should mention Flavor Aid yesterday, because the Chronicle ran a letter to the editor today complaining about the phrase "drank the Kool-Aid."

The writer says:
I would really like to see the elimination of the expression "drank the Kool-Aid" and its variations. After the Jim Jones People's Temple mass suicide, I find it appalling that people would use this expression to describe any situation, personal or otherwise. Many people in the Bay Area had relatives who died there, and I can only imagine what kind of pain that expression revives for those who lost loved ones there.

He makes a good argument, though I had hoped the writer would point out that the Jim Jones cult drank Flavor Aid and not Kool-Aid — and that people should at least be accurate if they're going to use this expression.

This isn't the first person to complain about the insensitivity of the phrase — it's sort of a regular thing in the Chronicle. (I blogged about a similar letter back in 2008.)

You would think that Kraft Foods Co. (the maker of Kool-Aid) would take it upon itself to correct this widespread misconception. Maybe they're concerned it would lead to consumers actually learning that Flavor Aid exists.