There is a 23,000-word article in the new issue of McSweeney’s. It was written by Gary Greenberg, a a private-practice psychotherapist who lives in rural Connecticut.

In 1998, Gary Greenberg began a correspondence with Ted Kaczynski, the murderer known as the Unabomber. He and Kaczynski exchanged dozens of letters, with some of Kaczynski’s as long as 20 pages. In the letters, they discussed the insidious influence of technology, the preservation of wild nature, the dubious claims and conclusions of the psychiatric profession, the appetites and proclivities of the American media, Kaczynski’s life in prison, the choices made by Kaczynski’s family, and the lessons of Russian feudalism.

In an incredibly provocative and wide-ranging essay, Greenberg discusses the evolution and dissolution of his relationship with Kaczynski, along the way eviscerating the media that courted and then devoured the Unabomber, the judicial system that did everything possible to avoid another O.J. sort of trial, and the psychiatrists who muted Kaczynski’s clear but unpopular principles by labeling them as paranoid schizophrenia.

The article is by turns fascinating, infuriating, brilliant, exasperating and frequently very funny — Greenberg’s voice is sure and his knives are sharp. It is not to be missed. Excerpts from it will begin tomorrow on this site and will run throughout next week.

- - -

More things in the issue currently being trucked to a store/mailbox near you:

Brent Hoff
(a roundtable with four scientists, regarding efforts to take spider silk, implant it into goats, and make from it airplanes and bullet-proof vests. This roundtable is real)

Steve Amick
(a story about Santa Claus’s son, Gunta)

T.Z. Parsa
(also a story about Christmas)

[There are three stories about Christmas.]

Rick Moody
(a poem)

Paul Collins
(the epic tale of John Banvard, at one time the most renowned and wealthy artist in the world — second in his series on brilliant failures)

John Warner
(a short story involving Gung Fu and depressed books)

Judy Budnitz
(a story about goldfish and cancer)

Zev Borow
(another Forum, third in the series)

Ken Foster
(a short story, with concurrent commentary by Ana Marie Cox)


The compleat Fresh Step letters, assembled by Rodney Rothman and his Late Night people

Also, work by:

David Shields
Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Cynthia Kaplan
Saul Steinberg
Colleen Werthmann
Morgan Phillips
Todd Pruzan
E. Rozic & A. Hemon
Ed Weinberger
Lucy Thomas
Chris Sorrentino
Jim Hanas
and Eric McHenry, et al.

It is a good issue. If you see one, you should buy it. If you would like to order it, and use your credit card to do it, there is a link below that will help you.