Kirk Talley redux (I of II)

It’s nearly impossible to find anything of substance in the megabytes worth of flame wars that the Talley Incident has provoked. So the first thing to say is that if anyone has seen Talley perform lately or has other good news of him that is appropriate for publication, let me know. After that, the most obvious thing seems to be this: Southern Gospel music does not handle unpredictable diversions from the script very well. I’m thinking of the speculation surrounding Denise Hopper’s departure from The Hoppers performances, which The Hoppers (unwisely, in my opinion) let go unchecked or unchallenged, and the circumstances of Jerry Thompson’s resignation from The Nelons, which Kelly Thompson Nelon chose to have out with, so to speak, much more publicly than did The Hoppers. And of course before Talley, the most famous southern gospel flap was L’Affaire Michael English (for which he paid way too disproportionately, I think). Every time we discover that southern gospel performers confront the same kind of complicated, painful situations that the rest of us undergo, the response is a mixture of denial, anger, and gossipy tongue-clacking that attempts simultaneously to act like the situation is anomalous (which it never is) and to pretend nothing really happened. Perhaps this kind of cognitive dissonance is no more clearly exemplified than in Jerry Kirksey’s obtuse and indirect editorial about the Talley situation, “Sin is Not News” – to which I reply: then why are you devoting an entire column to it?

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