Anyone who routinely wakes up to the dunning phone calls of bill collectors knows the mixture of shame and hopelessness experienced by millions of Americans who find themselves over their heads in debt. A new free local paper, Creditland, seeks to unite those in the red and in despair. "It's a behind-the-scenes explanation of the credit industry for the layman," explains publisher Tobin Brogunier, who himself declared bankruptcy several years ago.
The highly idiosyncratic four-page debut issue of Creditland features a conversation with Maxed Out director James Scurlock, a translation of Taoist verse, a transcription of State Representative Jim Davnie's speech at a local meeting on predatory lending, and an excerpt of a unpublished science fiction story, "Painproxy," that imagines a world where citizens are empowered to carry out codified corporal punishments. But dreams of dystopia aside, what advice does Brogunier have for the debt-afflicted?
"Normalize it, don't internalize it. Find other people who have debt. Don't isolate yourself," he says reassuringly, "you're part of a growing population."
A population with enough of a voice, he hopes, to support a monthly paper. Presumably, those who use his advice to get on a financial even keel will still pick up the paper for the latest installment of "Painproxy."