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Nearly 40 Years Later, Jonestown Offers A Lesson In Demagoguery
#1

This made for an interesting....and horrific...listen yesterday.


Quote:


Nearly 40 Years Later, Jonestown Offers A Lesson In Demagoguery



On Nov. 18, 1978, an itinerant preacher, faith healer and civil rights activist named the Rev. Jim Jones led more than 900 of his followers to kill themselves by drinking cyanide-laced Flavor Aid at their Jonestown settlement in the jungle of Guyana. Nearly 40 years later, questions still linger regarding the Jonestown massacre and the man who inspired it.



Journalist Jeff Guinn details how Jones captivated his followers in his new book, The Road to Jonestown. He calls Jones a "tremendous performer" who exhibited "the classic tendencies of the demagogue."



Guinn says Jones, who founded Peoples Temple church, would take current events and exaggerate them to create a sense of fear and urgency. He drew his followers to Guyana by convincing them that America was facing imminent threats of martial law, concentration camps and nuclear war.


After claims of abuse in Jonestown surfaced, Rep. Leo Ryan, D-Calif., came to Guyana to investigate. A number of Jonestown residents sought to return to the U.S. with Ryan, but others opened fire on the delegation, killing the congressmen and four others. The mass suicide followed.


Guinn says the lessons of Jonestown still resonate today. "Jim Jones epitomizes the worst that can happen when we let one person dictate what we hear [and] what we believe," he says. "We can only change that if we learn from the past and try to apply it to today."



There should also be a deep sense of deja vu while listening to this...

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#2
ASword & Scale has an ep about Jonestown. Listening to Jim Jones honestly made wonder who could buy into any of that bullshit. Then again, here we are today in the thrall of another cult of personality. Baffling.

Anyway, I'm starting my own death cult if any of you want in. Space is limited.
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#3
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

Sword & Scale has an ep about Jonestown. Listening to Jim Jones honestly made wonder who could buy into any of that bullshit. Then again, here we are today in the thrall of another cult of personality. Baffling.

Anyway, I'm starting my own death cult if any of you want in. Space is limited.


What's the jogging suit/shoe situation....Nike? Adidas?

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#4
APuma!
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#5
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

Puma!

I'm out.

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#6
AWho needs you anyway?!
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#7

The story of John Romulus Brinkley is another example of a larger than life figure exploiting human nature/psychology to accumulate power.



https://gimletmedia.com/episode/86-man-of-the-people/



Richard Linklater is reportedly making a movie based on this story (after hearing this podcast, I guess?) with RDJ.

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#8
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

Listening to Jim Jones honestly made wonder who could buy into any of that bullshit.


I'm sure it's more complicated than this, but my own experiences with belief systems and people lead me to believe two crucial elements are in play:



1. Some folks crave structure and answers. So much that they're literally willing to die for them (or perhaps more accurately convince themselves that the "answers" they've found/been supplied are worth dying for). I've known otherwise reasonable, intelligent people in professional positions claim that unicorns were real because a certain translation of the Bible mentions them.



2. The fallacy of sunk costs, which plays into #1.

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#9

it is more complicated than this

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#10

I already said that!!!

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#11
AI guess I'm just not much of a joiner. At the grocery store, they were like, "Do you have a club card?" and I was like, "I don't buy into any of that bullshit!"
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#12
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelM View Post
 

I already said that!!!


you said you were SURE it was more complicated, which makes it sound like there is uncertainty about how complicated it is!



if you had said...



"it's more complicated than this..."



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

I guess I'm just not much of a joiner. At the grocery store, they were like, "Do you have a club card?" and I was like, "I don't buy into any of that bullshit!"


Brother GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

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#13
AIt's not complicated. People are stupid.

The end.
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#14

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#15
Quote:

Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

It's not complicated. People are stupid.

The end.

devil details!



because the interview that VTran post goes into the fact that this isn't just stupid people being stupid

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#16
AStupid people make simple things complicated because they don't want to look stupid.
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#17

that's the spirit!




I need a prequel to explain how we got to stupid



I'm stupid

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#18
A"I believe in unicorns because certain passages in the bible..."

Perfect example. Say something patently ridiculous then support your statement not with facts but a document that doesn't provide evidence. Rather, it asks you to believe. It can't be proven, but also the believer can't be disproven.

Stupid + complicated.
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#19

but that didn't happen in a vacuum!



I remember listening or reading a discussion about people who got one bit of innocuous information as children and never really had to have it challenged until some random point in childhood.



Damn, I wish I could remember what that example was...



ACTUALLY... it might've actually been exactly about unicorns!




edit:  oh yeah, it was a THIS AMERICAN LIFE episode called A LITTLE BIT OF KNOWLEDGE:



https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-a...transcript



Quote:

 

Most of the common childhood myths, like that babies come from storks, get corrected sooner or later. They're not obscure enough to sneak into adulthood unscrutinized. But occasionally, even a very popular childhood myth can make it through, like unicorns.


Kristy Kruger



In my head, a unicorn wasn't really any different than a zebra.


Alex Blumberg



This is Kristy Kruger.


Kristy Kruger



I mean, in terms of believability, I think the unicorn is really ahead of the dinosaur.


Alex Blumberg



What do you mean?


Kristy Kruger



Well, I mean, when you think about a dinosaur from a kid's perspective, a dinosaur is these really large, monstrous animals roaming the Earth. And then you have a unicorn, which is basically just a horse with a horn.


Alex Blumberg



As Kristy Kruger grew up, she says that if she ever thought about unicorns, they were on a grassy plane somewhere in Africa, drinking from a watering hole with the wildebeest and the impala. And then one night, she found herself in a conversation at a party.


Kristy Kruger



It was about a group of five to seven people, kind of standing around the keg, just talking. And somehow a discussion of endangered species came up, in which I posed the question, is the unicorn endangered or extinct? And basically, there was a big gap of silence.


Alex Blumberg



As you might be gathering, at some point in all these stories, you come to a big gap of silence.


Kristy Kruger



And then everybody laughed. And then that laughter was followed by more silence when they realized I wasn't laughing. And I was like, yeah, oh God, unicorns aren't real? Oh no.

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#20
AAll the unicorns died at Jonestown.
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#21
ARealities with unicorns in them are cooler than realities without. Science fact.
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#22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

All the unicorns died at Jonestown.

overdose of Flavor Aid...



Quote:
Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post

Realities with unicorns in them are cooler than realities without. Science fact.


ironically, people in the unicorn reality wouldn't even care about unicorns



what with them rainbow-shitting all over their lawns all the time



grass is always greener in the parallel dimension...

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#23

just sayin'....



Elasmotherium

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#24
AThe only problem with that theory is that the rhinoceros does not look a fucking thing like a horse. The resemblance begins and ends with them having four legs and a tail.
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#25
Quote:
Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post

The only problem with that theory is that the rhinoceros does not look a fucking thing like a horse.


ahem....


:
Its legs were longer than those of other rhinos and were adapted for galloping, giving it a horse-like gait.


Grog- "You would not believe these creatures I saw today...they were furry and were running along like those other creatures...what do we call those ones?"



Thak- "Horses....we call them horses..."



Grog- "Yeah they looked like those horse things except they had long horns on their heads...."



Thak- "....um....OK....how close did you get to these one-horned horses?"



Grog- "well....they were on the other side of the valley...I wasn't right next to them....."



Thak - <turns to his fellow tribe members and makes a jerking motion with his hand>



Grog -"....yeah, well fuck you guys...I know what I saw....these.....Uni-horses are real....shut up.....I'm going over to the other tribe....they'll believe me....."

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#26

....or alternately.



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#27
A[quote name="VTRan" url="/community/t/159282/nearly-40-years-later-jonestown-offers-a-lesson-in-demagoguery#post_4268864"]ahem....
Quote:Its legs were longer than those of other rhinos and were adapted for galloping, giving it a horse-like gait.
[/quote]
*ahem*

[IMG ALT=""]http://www.chud.com/community/content/type/61/id/239443/width/500/height/1000[/IMG]

This is the image from that Wikipedia article. The rendition of Elasmotherium is the one in light grey. That is basically the least horse-like silhouette in history. If you showed that to someone who'd never seen a rhinoceros before, he'd guess "overgrown warthog" before he'd ever compare it to a horse. Remember, "less stumpy than a normal rhinoceros" is not saying a lot.

Just sayin'.
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#28
ARemember when we were talking about suicide cults? Those were the good old days.
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#29
AThreads with prehistoric rhinoceroses in them are cooler than threads with suicide cults. Science fact.
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#30
Quote:

Originally Posted by commodorejohn View Post

Threads with prehistoric rhinoceroses in them are cooler than threads with suicide cults. Science fact.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

Remember when we were talking about suicide cults? Those were the good old days.


What about if the prehistoric rhinos were part of a suicide cult....and that's why they aren't around anymore?

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#31
AWell, we can't prove that didn't happen!
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#32
ASo anyway, last month was the 20th anniversary of the Heaven's Gate mass suicide.

What idiots!
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#33

Quote:


Originally Posted by Bradito View Post

So anyway, last month was the 20th anniversary of the Heaven's Gate mass suicide.

What idiots!


Or were they.... https://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/...0977?snl=1

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#34

Still eagerly awaiting casting news on Vince Gilligan's HBO miniseries about Jonestown.  It's based on a 1982 book called Raven: The Untold Story of Jim Jones and His People.

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#35

Listened to the NPR show. Almost didn't make past the opening moments. The audio recordings of the in-progress suicides/murders are beyond heartbreaking and disturbing.

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