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Wednesday, 09 January 2008

Why I Joined the Raging Grannies of Seattle

By 87-year-old Georgie Bright Kunkel, freelance writer and standup comic

A few years ago, I donned an outrageous hat and added lots of jewelry and became one of the Raging Grannies of Seattle. I linked my voice with the voices of many more grannies to sing out against affluenza, war mongering and the rape of the environment. We even sang a mammogram song urging women to put up with the squishing of their mammary glands to get a look at their “dark side.”

Then we sang parodies of the usual holiday carols with messages about buying no more war toys and replacing greed with the true spirit of the season.

Other times we sang about the obscene amounts of public money going to build sports palaces for mostly male sports teams. We picketed the marketer of athletic shoes made in countries with substandard wages and working conditions. What else do we sing about? The need for jobs and adequate health care and adequate education for all - even preschool children.

Oh, yes, we always sing about the overwhelming need to achieve peace in the world.

I was drawn to this flamboyant group because it gave me the opportunity to rage once more about issues that I had already raged about in the 1970s and 1980s but without all the seriousness that I put into my earlier activism. After all, if one stands on a street corner and hands out pamphlets with a glum face, it doesn’t have the same impact as singing songs with an ironic bite while dressed in costumes the viewer can hardly ignore.

Our audience accepts our messages in good humor and an attitude of “Go get ‘em, Grannies!”

If you were over at the Trident base during any protests there or if you were downtown during any war protest marches you would have heard the Raging Grannies singing

Oh, we’re a gaggle of grannies
Urging you off of your fannies
We’re raising our voice
We’re sick of your toys.
No More War!
But we aren’t just protesters. We sing for schools and many groups who ask us to share our serious messages of peace and hope for the world. The glue that holds us together is the dedication to changing the world to make it more equitable for all the people who live on the planet. And you’re right. We aren’t terrorists, far from it.

We would all agree that humor and outrageousness do communicate. They connect. I love it. To learn more about us, check out our Website. You are free to “steal” any of our parodies to sing at your favorite group meetings.

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


It appears that as much good as you do, you have fun doing it. I think the points will get across much faster that way! Love the photos!


I really enjoyed reading about your Raging Grannies group. I took your advice and visited the website and loved the picture of all of you in costume.

Please let us know where you are in that picture so we can see you.

I think this is great. Good for you, Raging Grannies. I hope someone starts a group here. (I have reasons why that someone cannot be me, but a few years ago I would have jumped at the chance to organize a group.) I will mention this to my friends and see if someone is able to get a Raging Grannies bunch going here. Who writes the lyrics to your songs?

We have a group of elders who tap dance called the 'Hot Flashes' and they are fantastic. A singing protest group would complement them and they would probably be so busy they wouldn't have time to think of their aching joints.

I hope this catches fire and you pop up in every city and town.

I'm so glad to learn about you, Raging Grannie Georgie! As you pointed out, we've already raged in all seriousness about many of the same things in the 1960's, '70's, and '80's. And I've learned that raging can be addictive. So much better for the blood pressure to do with humor. After all, you remember what that famous nanny Julie Andrews said about "a spoonful of sugar!" Yeah, I can take a cup or two or humor with my rages and appreciate it all the more. Thanks for sharing your views.

What a wonderful concept. Thank you. For all the other readers, there are a few videos in YouTube with the Raging Grannies. Good fun to watch.

Thanks for all the great comments. What was not mentioned at the end of my story was that I am on sabbatical now from the Raging Grannies of Seattle because I am taking full care of my husband with the help of health aides. However, I offer my services whenever I can.

For example, I help with PR and hope that more groups will form all over the country. Seattle was one of the first groups in this country. Canada was ahead in starting this granny movement.

Yes!!!! Humor wins every time. Thanks for doing this.

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