Here is the whole quote:

The film glorifies the Confederacy as if they were a bunch of highly principled martyrs hunkered down in holy glory instead of an entitled mob of human-trafficking murderers, rapists and traitors trying to destroy the United States

This doesn't check out for me. The way I understand "hunker down" is something like (physically) "squat". Or more metaphorically, stay in ambush, wait for something to happen in some place.

I cannot figure out how that lowly posture could rhyme with glory or martyrdom, or any cultural reference it may hint to.

  • 1
    "Hunker down" means to cower in your bunker.
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 15 '20 at 23:51
  • 1
    In more figurative usage "hunker" means "hold stubbornly to a position. Usually used with down." Which perfectly describes the Confederacy.
    – Robusto
    Jun 16 '20 at 0:01
  • I get the stubborn, inflexible part -- it's the relation to glory and martyrdom that seems completely off.
    – user388801
    Jun 16 '20 at 0:51
  • Basically, is this just a dumb juxtaposition of set phrases (lke the infamous swansong of the fascist octopus), or is it more to it?
    – user388801
    Jun 16 '20 at 1:10
  • They viewed themselves as being "holy", and this, they felt, made them "glorious".
    – Hot Licks
    Jun 16 '20 at 1:57

Based on the context, hunkered down probably means:

American Heritage Dictionary


intr. v.

  1. To hold stubbornly to a position. Usually used with down:

"As the White House hunkered down, G.O.P. congressional unity started crumbling" (Time).

Hunkered down in holy glory might be approximated as:

stubbornly holding onto their holy and glorious position


Holding their ground in God's name. "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I fear no evil,for thou art with me,thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies...... It's a southern thing.


As Grammar Girl says:

The Oxford English Dictionary says the figurative sense of hunkering — to dig in to protect yourself — arose in the United States and was frequently used in military contexts.

That explains the part about hunkering down. The part about "holy glory" indicates that the Confederate soldiers felt that they were fighting the good fight, as if God were on their side, so their cause was righteous, holy and just. Hence, even in their posture of hunkering down, the weight of glory was on them, and the death of any of them would be considered martyrdom - a glorious death.

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