Friday, November 14, 2008

Born in Indiana, Moved to Guyana: Jim Jones

Soledad O'Brien does a bang up job with CNN Presents: Escape from Jonestown, detailing survivor tales from Peoples Temple, Leo Ryan's doomed delegation and Jonestown itself. New specifics are revealed, and new images released after thirty years. For anyone interested in Jim Jones and the Guyana tragedy, this one is definitely worth seeing. (If you are faint of heart, you may want to skip some of it, though.)

A seventeen year old cadet at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) when news of the Jonestown massacre filtered through, I was immediately creeped out, even in creepy military barracks.

Within days, a take off of Steve Martin's novelty hit song "King Tut" circulated through VMI and presumably elsewhere in the USA and world at large. I remember two stanzas, and hope somebody else out there -- anybody else -- remembers them, too, and maybe can add more.

First, the corresponding "real" lyrics, followed by the "Jim Jones" version:

King Tut (King Tut)
Now when he was a young man,
He never thought he'd see
People stand in line to see the boy king.

(King Tut)
How'd you get so funky? (funky Tut)
Did you do the monkey?
Born in Arizona,
Moved to Babylonia (King Tut).

Jim Jones (Jim Jones)
Now when he was a young man
He never thought he'd see
People stand in line to drink his cyanide tea.

(Jim Jones)
How'd you get so funky? (Jim Jones)
Did you see his monkey?
Born in Indiana
Moved to Guyana (Jim Jones).

I've read many times that Flavor Aid was laced with various poisons and given to hundreds of Jonestown residents, and that many others were shot at Jonestown, all on November 18, 1978. Escape from Jonestown shows that there was some Kool-Aid on hand at Jonestown, as well, and recounts how some victims had cyanide squirted directly into the mouth with a syringe. Any way you cut it, yuck.

Please drink responsibly and avoid obeying psychopathic leaders, when and where possible.

Today's Rune: Possessions.


the walking man said...

Erik, just think if you'd stayed the VMI course you may well have been the big dog general by now.

Guyana, I can remember where I was and what I was doing when I first heard of so many of our generations tragedies, I wonder why Guyana is not one of them, it certainly is an event that is more than a footnote on history.

Distributorcap said...

the fact that most of the victims were poor and minorities has made this tragedy a footnote like TWM says -- if they were rich white folks

there are several good documentaries on the tragedy and Jones ---- all worth watching. i have to watch O'Brien's

JR's Thumbprints said...

I missed this CNN special. I would've watched it just to see Soledad O'Brien.

As for Kool-Aid, one of my students couldn't wait for his parole so he could get his "drink on." His beverage of choice: Vodka and Kool-Aid. At least he'd be able to wake up in the morning, even with a sugar induced hangover.

Anonymous said...

It seems to have become common to hear it said that someone "drank the cool-aid", meaning that they're no longer rational/objective/sane, or something. I haven't yet figured out whether this is a Jim Jones reference, or a Ken Kesey reference.

Splish splash, I was...

Erik Donald France said...

Thanks all for the comments! Good points, all. JR, I think CNN will show it a few more times.

JC, yeahdawg, nod to Iggy ;->

Lana Gramlich said...

There's something about cults like Jones' that really grab my attention. I don't know what it is, but I'm always rivetted to those stories & shows...

sexy said...
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