A recent email from Chance

**Note to reader: I’ve known Chance forever. (We were in first grade together.) He was the catalyst for what is now known as The Great Debate. He was also the reason I had to issue my first retraction on this website.

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Lincee Bell –

So I think it was you who told me the New Kids on the Block were doing a reunion tour. And did you say you were going to go to their concert?

See video below, which purports to be a new New Kids song. But I’m not 100% that it’s real. It may be a joke, in which case, it’s very well done. These guys never break character, laugh, or wink to acknowledge that what they are doing is ridiculous. But I’m almost sure that one of them is Marky Mark’s brother. I don’t recognize the other guys, but they are definitely d-bags…and if I recall correctly from the little round pictures you pinned on your jacket when we were in junior high, the New Kids were all textbook d-bags.

So this may be for real. In which case, there’s no excuse for this video.

Youth is a defense for all sorts of otherwise indefensible behavior. Becoming rich and famous as a teenager by following the instructions of some twisted record producer may excuse Hangin’ Tough (which you inexplicably put on that CD you made me.) And between 1989 and 1991, those tools no doubt bedded a lot of groupies who would have otherwise been way out of their league. Some may consider that a defense in itself. But these guys are all at least 33 years old now.

To be fair, I’ve considered that this may be a sort of sacrifice. Perhaps they’re aware of the total deficit of dignity in their actions, but they have families to feed. They likely missed a lot of school and probably weren’t acquiring other marketable job skills or financial management training during their fifteen minutes of fame. But ask yourself: as a child today, would you rather: (a) scrape by financially and tell your friends “my dad sells shoes, but he used to be famous and he’s really good friends with Mark Wahlberg’s brother.” (No way Mark Wahlberg himself goes anywhere near these d-bags); or (b) live much more comfortably, but have to explain that your dad is one of the guys
in this video.

Even thinking it might have been a spoof (I’m still praying it is), I had to cover my eyes at times. And I promise you I couldn’t stay in my chair because I was so uncomfortable watching grown men act this way. Finally, after this insupportable bit where all five guys sang a one-line solo, I just had to turn it off or lurch. I turned it off.

I know I’m particularly sensitive to people behaving shamelessly (see my allergy to reality TV except for reading recaps of the The Bachelor on your website.) And I know you have a higher tolerance for shameless behavior (see your website dedicated in part to The Bachelor.) Plus, I’m aware that you liked the New Kids on the Block in junior high (see pins on your junior high jacket), which is excused because of your youth (see above–youth as a defense to being a New Kid on the Block.)

But this video is breathtaking. And I don’t think you’ll be able to watch it all either. But have a look and let me know if it’s really the New Kids. If you get all the way through the video, you should see your doctor to find out what’s wrong with your gag reflex. And if you make it through an entire concert without having a spew or at least having to look away, you have a gift. Absolutely nothing will turn your stomach. And you owe it to the world to consider a career change making use of your gift: perhaps surgery, proctology, CIA interrogations, sewage treatment.



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