I’ve had enough of “Sister [insert tenor name]”
Nearly all of the posts I make are either positive or neutral reporting of facts. Here’s one that is intended to be constructive criticism.
Quite simply, I’ve had enough of tenor jokes that refer to the tenor as effeminate, i.e. “Sister Steve.”
Sure, a tenor sings high, and some trained tenors can hit notes that some altos can’t. But with a few exceptions of men with very soft voices, anyone used to Southern Gospel can tell in an instant whether it is a male voice or a female voice hitting the high notes. (Granted, a few female vocalists have worked on their overtones to bring an almost-masculine vocal quality to their part, but I have yet to hear a “Brother Lily” or “Brother Libbi” joke. So I’m just addressing the “sister” problem.)
The jokes that refer to “a man who sounds like a woman” or “sister [insert tenor’s name]” were funny thirty years ago, when Jim Hamill was ribbing the Kingsmen tenors with the line and audiences were hearing it for the first time.
But today, just about every Southern Gospel concert-goer who has been to three or more concerts has heard that line. And since SG fans tend to be loyal both to the group and the genre, that’s most SG fans. They (or shall I say “we”) laugh to be polite, but I do notice that the laughter is less enthusiastic than when an emcee makes a joke unique to the group.
With all the other reasons I have given, I can’t avoid the main reason. I considered beating around the bush, but decided to just address it head-on. In today’s society, homosexual behavior has become more prevalent and openly admitted. Some but not all homosexual men think of themselves as women and adopt effeminate mannerisms, including but not limited to speaking / singing in a high voice. [**Sentences edited upon request–see comments below.**] But this problem is too real–too much a major cultural problem right now–for me to enjoy a joke about it.
I know of quite a few group members who read this blog at least occasionally, and this is an appeal to you: Please find other things to joke about. In today’s culture, it isn’t funny anymore.
And to the readers of this blog: If you agree with me, say so in the comments!