Quote of the day—Granny

I thought they was Yankees.

From Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: A Cultural History)
[During World War II three German submariners escaped from Camp Crossville Tennessee. Their flight took them to an Appalachian cabin where they stopped for a drink of water. The mountain Granny told them to, “Git!” When they ignored her she promptly shot them dead. The sheriff came and scolded her for shooting helpless prisoners. Granny burst into tears and said she would not have done it if she had known they were Germans. The exasperated sheriff asked her what in tarnation she thought she was shooting at. Her reply is today’s QOTD.

A case could be made that the divide between certain cultures in the U.S. has just as much stress now as it did then.—Joe]


12 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Granny

  1. Dang, some eighty years after the War Between the States.

    “A case could be made that the divide between certain cultures in the U.S. has just as much stress now as it did then.”

    That statement deserves a lot of consideration. It’s a war between the two alliances.

    Just as a case could be made that Neville Chamberlain and his ilk failed, in their pride, cowardice and ignorance, to stand up to Hitler, resulting in millions of unnecessary deaths, so too can it be said that we in America have been too tolerant, too complacent, too afraid and too lazy to stand up to a growing, metastasizing evil in the form of Progressivism and it’s various allies.

    A job left undone grows larger. The price of “peace” with the Progressive authoritarian movement for the last 100 years will have been high.

    • It’s even worse now. The tragedy of the Civil War was that it pitted good men on opposite sides, men who had far more in common than in difference.

      But now? I think I’d have more in common with Marvin the Martian than I would with a hard leftist type.

    • Nazi sympathizers?

      You’ve heard of Godwin’s Law….right?

      I guffaw in your general direction.

      • Godwin?

        Right up there in the main.
        Tears for German enemy (AKA National Socialist).

        Still don’t get the joke.

        Please explain. Pretend you are taking to a five year old, then you can be even more condescending.

    • Burnt,

      The book is a serious work, and the author a serious academic historian. Not having read the book, however (it IS on my reading list…) I have no idea if the author vouches for the veracity of the incident, or merely quotes it as an example of Appalachian attitudes.

    • The Tennesseans weren’t Nazi sympathizers, the point of the joke is about how much they hate the Yankees. The hate comes not so much from losing the War of Northern Aggression, but from the aftereffects during Reconstruction. Calling someone a carpetbagger is still a insult to this day.

      • I agree that this is a joke.

        As well as your explanation that bitterness derived more from so-called “Reconstruction” than from defeat (TN being a very split state with brother against brother, etc.).

        Being gracious, if this story was really formulated in the midst of WWII I doubt the full depravity of nazi germany was known. On the other hand, would ‘granny’ have heard of this little thing called the Great War against germany, or was she bitter that german assets in the us were seized and germans harassed, perhaps a even a bund member… but then again, WWI national hero SGT York hails from the county just north of where this event occurred so surely granny had some pride in her home-state boy, but York was also the grandson of a civil war union soldier…

        Perhaps the purpose of this joke is to show that regional schisms are still very real in the US, but ‘yankee’ in this context is every bit as crass as racist slurs ‘cracka’ and ‘ni**er’.
        (Though, a Brit, Aussie, or Kiwi referring to a N/S Carolinian as a “Yankee” is pure music to the ear)

        On the other hand, observing that the someone is a carpetbagger can be spot on (Hillary Clinton in Harlem, for example).


        This ‘joke’ is an example of ignorant regional bigotry in the US.

    • My understanding is that the intent of the story was that Nazi prisoners were supposed to be treated according to a humane set of rules. Yankees? Not so much.

      • You’re correct.

        ‘Granny’ could easily have been a child during the civil war and been in close proximity to actual combat and also experienced the vagaries of reconstruction carpetbaggery.

        At least, she was the child, or near 1st generation descendant, of civil war veterans and been raised with their viewpoints concerning northerners.

        Consideration of ‘Yankees’ would’ve been that of ‘scum of the earth’.

        BT’s ignorance, if genuine, speaks to the sad state of affairs in academics.

        • Or at least a child during Reconstruction. My dad has a joke but not a joke, that he was 15 before he realized “DamnYankee” was actually two words. His grandparents grew up during Reconstruction. They were in Texas, where it was far less bad than in the Deep South. The oldtimers for my youth, who none of them were alive during Reconstruction, were ‘Yellow Dog Democrats’, who would vote for a yellow dog before a Republican. That was the Dixiecrats, who had to die off before the South went Republican.

  2. This is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. I wipe the tears from my eyes. As far as shooting “unarmed prisoners”, Granny was shooting three strange men, who were soldiers of a country at war with the US, in the act of disobeying orders from her, and who had escaped from a POW camp. I think she was completely justified.

    I think her comment (if it was a real event) may speak to some degree of Alzhemiers, as by the 1940’s it would be clear that it was no longer necessary to shoot Yankees. I have Albion’s Seed, as recommended by Clayton Cramer, but I have not have the chance to read the whole thing yet.

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