Emily’s Student Loan Bondage and Discipline, or, ‘Story of Owe’

A publisher of erotic e-titles for Kindle has sent me the following book blurb for a new offering on Kindle, Emily’s Debt.  It’s addressed to self with a bcc list, so it appears to be a marketing blurb possibly addressed to bloggers who have written about student loan debt:

In the very near future, where failing to pay student loan debts is a crime, Emily is in big trouble. She has a large student loan and no job. She’s heard, of course, that student loan debtors weren’t sent to jail. Instead, they’re rented by the government to corporations and businesses so that their work can help pay off their student debts. But renting becomes purchasing, and crafty lawyers and greedy companies turn student debt bondage into slavery with hardly anyone paying attention. Now, sold to a former classmate, a sadistic lawyer eager to test the boundaries of the law, Emily is a non-person, purchased property. And if her owner wants her to be nude in public, wants to walk her on all fours on a leash, well, it’s not like she’s a person any more. Not according to the law for defaulters on student loans. And if he wants to whip her in public, well that’s all right, too.

I’m hesitant about opening this up to comments, but am going to do so because, well, it does strike me as a telling, small detail of contemporary culture that student loans – specifically student debt – has managed to become an au courant device for an erotic bondage-and-discipline girl-enslaved novel.  (Please keep comments clean. Like Glenn Reynolds, I have no problems with porn, and particularly literary porn and erotica, but there’s no need to write it in the comments; you could probably publish your own for Kindle.)  Moreover, I just noticed when I linked to the Amazon Kindle page for the book, the description that was emailed to me has been slightly altered from what’s at Kindle to emphasize that this is student loan debt.

So, it occurs to me Elie Mystal should be very, very careful.

I also look at this e-book and wonder whether something isn’t going to give on the student loan repayment issue – it seems to me too large a political constituency to ignore.  The assumed possibility of being able to get a job and repay has transformed for many into a risky contingent bet with no real possibility of discharge.  They already feel defrauded by educational institutions, locate that as the source of their woes, and I think will increasingly start putting political pressure to change the legal rules.  The abuses that, if I broadly recall correctly, motivated the no-discharge regimes, were about doctors who took out gigantic loans and promptly declared bankruptcy.  A generation of students – and their parents, with whom they are living – in this job market, who took what looks now to be a sucker’s bet that mostly benefited universities, has to appear politically very different to politicians.

Update:  For that matter, if this erotic novel appears far-fetched, let me express my public surprise and outrage that the Department of Education is fielding its own SWAT team – and, once again, against the wrong target.  Let me also add that I’m not comforted by the DOE spokesperson’s statement that it wasn’t used to collect late payments, but to go after criminal fraud and embezzlement.  I invite VC’s expert lawyer-readers to discuss the threshold required to reach criminal fraud and embezzlement and ask if you are comforted, either.

Update 2:  In a bit of the post I later dropped as unnecessary, I encouraged people not to get cute and focus on student debt.  However, rules are made to occasionally broken, and we will give a special prize to the commenter who suggested that the novel in question be retitled, “Story of Owe.” Well-played, BlogDog, well-played.