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Over at First Draft, the wonderful local blogger Athenae asks: why is the Wilmette party house a front-page Trib story?

I suspect it has something to do with what I’m guessing will only become more of a theme–abandoned house terror. The house wasn’t abandoned per se, but it had been empty for almost eight months, its owners living in a condo and preparing to sell it in an abysmal housing market.

Matt Yglesias has a handy post, using NYT and Atlantic charts, which demonstrates that Illinois, and especially the Chicago suburbs, are on the vanguard of the housing collapse. The Sun Belt is taking it the hardest, but Illinois is above the national average, and it’s a really weird national average. As Ezra Klein writes: “The way you get 42 states with foreclosure rates beneath the national average is that those last eight states are post-crash dystopias inhabited mainly by squatters and feral dogs. And the way eight states bring down the economy is that the foreclosed assets were heavily leveraged….”

Journalism’s greatest metier is fear, especially paranoid suburban fear, so expect more stories like the one from Wilmette, which taps into fantods which you may not know even exist. If I had any sense I’d quit my job on the spot and write a Saw-like slasher exploitation-porn screenplay set in a mostly bank-owned suburb. There’s someone at the door, and he’s come to FORECLOSE ON YOUR SOUL!!!

*Cf. Fun fact for Mountain Goats junkies: The first line, “Holt Boulevard between Garey and White,” refers to a real location in Montclair, CA.