Gawker Media has filed for bankruptcy. The specific circumstances leading to that bankruptcy are unique and bizarre. The fact of a media company declaring itself bankrupt, however, is pretty much a commonplace. Under other conditions—even facing down a different, more conventionally motivated lawsuit—Gawker’s bankruptcy process might seem somewhat straightforward.
Facing down a $5 million judgment for posting a sex tape of Rick Ross’s baby mama, 50 Cent has declared bankruptcy to prove he can’t pay. It’s somewhat convenient that, after Forbes named him one of the richest rappers in the world just a few months ago, 50 claims his reported $155 million fortune is really just $4.375 million. He said this week that he rented cars and borrowed jewelry to keep up appearances.
Thanks to some misguided moral philosophy and some excellent lobbying work, it is now almost impossible to discharge your student loans in bankruptcy. They haunt you forever, like the souls of those you've killed. As our national student loan debt balloons further into crisis territory, it become ever clearer that we need to change that rule.
A couple weeks after a state-appointed emergency manager filed a bankruptcy claim on behalf of Detroit, the world-famous Christie's auction house has been called in to begin appraising some of the Detroit Institute of Arts' permanent collection. But lest you should assume this is the sign of vultures coming in to pick at a decaying carcass. everyone involved in this process promises this is just a formality and no art will be sold.
Forbes released its list of America's Most Miserable Cities this week, with appearances from the usual smattering of former manufacturing towns in the Rust Belt, bankrupt municipalities in central California, and burned-out coastal shells. Do you live in any of these cities? Are you unhappy? Would you describe your unhappiness as conditional and dependent on external forces, or so pervasive you barely notice it?
In 2011, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania went bankrupt. Municipally bankrupt. The city is broke, tapped, in penury, scraping by on nada. Personal bankruptcy is tragic, and corporate bankruptcy is financially significant, but there is something especially pitiful about municipal bankruptcies. An entire city of thousands, whose leadership has failed them. It's like watching a scrappy but flailing football team losing in a particularly bloody way.