There are several books I should never have read and several films I should never have watched. I should never have watched the Blair Witch Project because it messed me up massively and I slept with the light on for years. That last scene where one of the “documentary makers” is standing there facing the wall in that basement made my soul contract and freeze to ice. I should also not be reading Pretty Girls which is currently on my Kindle, as already its parts of graphic sexual violence are ingrained in the tapestry of my mind where I suspect I’ll have a hard time washing them out. If you were to scan my bookshelves, I’m proud to say you’d find some books there that I’d like to think points to how awesome I am, like several by the amazing Toni Morrison who is one of my absolute heroes. But you might also soon deduct that I might be some sort of Hannibal Lecter in the making. There are books about the Manson Family, Ted Bundy, the Green River killer, Fred and Rosemary West, Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, the Columbine massacre, the Ipswich murders, the Soham tragedy and a good sprinkling of Adolf Hitler too. What is this morbid fascination with evil?
Last night I watched part of a documentary about Jonestown. This DEFINITELY goes in the category of stuff I should not be reading or watching, because I had nightmares all night. This was by measure of the number of lives lost, the greatest massacre involving American citizens until 9/11, yet I’d never heard of it. I’ve heard the expression “drinking the Kool-Aid” and have used it too. I knew what it means as a saying and think I’ve used in the right sort of context, but I never knew where it came from. Now I know and I wish I didn’t. It comes from a mass murder/suicide where followers of the Jonestown People’s Temple cult drank cyanide mixed with – that’s right – Kool-Aid (or rather, Flavour-Aid, which is apparently a cheaper version) as instructed by their charismatic, terrifying and totally mental leader, Jim Jones. Brr! I haven’t seen all of it and know that although I’d be better off not watching the rest, I won’t be able to help myself. So anyway, nearly a thousand people committed collective suicide by drinking the Kool-Aid, some forcibly but many by blindly following and believing Jones was some sort of Messiah.
Isn’t it amazing – and fucking terrifying – what our brains can make us do? Drink a poison in the belief something good will come of it? I’d never… …uhm… …hang on….
Ironically – and I kind of take this as a sign from above – the Kool-Aid used at Jonestown was grape flavoured.
Today I’m not going to drink.