Thursday, May 18, 2006
Today is Jim Jones' birthday, the guy who convinced all those people to drink the cynanide-laced Kool-Aid (actually, it was Flavor-Aid, the low-rent friend of Kool-Aid) in Guyana so many years ago, 1978 to be exact. My ex in-laws met Jim Jones once, shook hands with him and everything. Jim wore dark sunglasses and surrounded himself with bodyguards. This was when the People's Temple was buying lots of real estate in California before the move to the utopia that is Guyana (I think utopia, I think third-world hellhole) and things really went to shit. For a brilliant potrayal of Mr. Jones, we have Powers Boothe (a fellow Texan and brilliant presence on Deadwood) in The Guyana Tragedy, a long long movie that has never been released on DVD (it's video version is two videos long). Powers B. captured the early days of the People's Temple and the later ones with great skill and the result is both a serious performance and the campiest fun ever. Also, this movie includes a brilliant cameo by James Earl Jones as Father Divine, fellow whack-job, who helps Powers bring out his inner cult leader and explore having lots of sex with his flock. "There's miracles in these hands," Powers says, imploring both women and men to get down and dirty with him. He yells at poor Levar Burton (of Reading Rainbow and Roots fame) during a long church service and threatens to put him in "the box." (a place where the real life Jones put people as a punishment) When things heat up near the end, a seriously drug-addicted Powers sweats and sweats in a fantastic white shirt that you might see a South American dictator wear on Casual Friday and says to his long-suffering wife, "I have a touch of the jungle fever." He asks her forgiveness for all his bad behavior, and she tells him it's fine. Because haven't we all heard that excuse before?
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"To me death is not a fearful thing. It's living that's cursed." Reverend Jim Jones
1 part vodka (Grey Goose or Absolut will work best)
1 part grape Kool-Aid
Serve over massive amounts of crushed ice, preferably from a pail to scare all your friends and make bad jokes all night about your "potion." For best results with the "miracles in these hands" line, wait until guests have consumed a few dixie cups full of Revolutionary Suicides.
Benedictions and Maledictions
Joel Steinberg Leaves Prison and Hedda Nussbaum Goes Into Hiding
After everyone else has forgotten, he leaves
prison in a big white limo arranged by his
lawyer. She knows he hasn’t forgotten her,
their nights together awake for hours, doing
coke, the whispered intimacies that made
the beatings bearable. What’s a punch compared
to love? -- both prisons, no prom limos waiting
outside to whisk you away. And their child,
well, she tries not to think of her, the autopsy
calling her body a map of pain, and her own body,
so lovely once, wanted by no one now except him,
just the way he said it was and always would be.