Writings in Politics and Philosophy (or, How We Live Together)

Zombie!: A Monster for the Masses,

or: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Brother, Because the Revolution Will Be… Dead(?). Lee Foust creates his ultimate zombie masterpiece.

Marriage, Legal and Illegal

It's time to compare anti-miscegenation laws to societal resistance to gay marriage.

Beyonce, The Pleasure Principle

What’s so shagadelic about gold-plating your father’s penis? Matt George tells us how Austin Powers really lost his mojo—and his female audience—by finding brotherly love with Dr. Evil.


What will save the world? Nothing. What will create the world anew? You will. But not until you break. JS channels Zarathustra for us, and isn’t very nice about it.

The Horrific Experience of Coming Face to Face with the Other 2

Horror must have its sequel. In this revisitation, Lee Foust rethinks some of the themes of his article in h2so4 #16 and shares his further thoughts and readings on monsters, horror, ritual initiation, sexuality, and what cannot be reduced to sexuality: love.

We Are Not on an Innocence Mission

Laura Schattschneider walks us through some post-9/11 troublings of representative democracy, and along the way we get to read some poetry. It's a beautiful piece of writing.

The Limits of Anachronism: Hobbes, Thucydides, and Us

If we are to escape reducing our political decisions to the choice between Coke and Pepsi, we need to replace our anachronistic ideas with a new anachronism. Bay tells us why Hobbes and Thucydides have something to say to us.

On Forgetting Memento

Christopher Nolan’s Memento, despite its art-house feel, is commited to the same regime of quietism and despair that commercial “psycho-cinema” and TV are helping to insure today.

The Frontier, Now

Is there any place left in this world for the outsider or the misfit? On anarchy, sovereignty, and why The Way of the Gun is a utopian tale, if you let yourself look at it sideways.

Being John Woo

How a one-time genius of the Hong Kong ganster pic brought his brand of "nothing to believe in" to Hollywood, and why we ended up with Mission: Impossible 2 instead of A Better Tomorrow.

The Underground Academy or, The Dialect of Dialectic

What if Plato's Academy survived, underground, for two millennia, and was rediscovered in, of all places (and, really, no place is likely), West Virginia, USA? Would we become its students, or its publishers and editors, and what does that say about us?

How Cool is That?

Audience, nostalgia, and the search for meaning in pop music

Narrative Pleasure and the Impossible

On The Flirtation of Girls, a 1949 Egyptian musical-comedy.

Act Passively, Pass Actively

Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia: Unsuspecting Nietzschean Case Study in How to Reconcile Will to Power with Eternal Return of the Same, or, Love, Soft as an Easy Chair in which it is exceedingly difficult to sit.

House, its Demolition, an Interview, or: Palestine as Metaphor?

War and Peace, Smalltime

Does law determine what justice is, or does justice, when heard, show what law ought to be? or, The life and death of possibility, as lived by us all, at every moment.

The Pornocracy of "Fate": Moms' Tricks in The Matrix

When you live in a world without choices, how can someone arrive one day in order to give you one? or, If Christ had a lover, would it make an action movie?


A Return of Harley Psalter whose correspondence with Felix Culpa and Anne Senhal has graced our pages over the years.

Reviews of Books We Haven't Read

This was one of the first "features" of h2so4, along with the Philosopher's Advice Column. It was reviewed in the Utne Reader, and then was mentioned in Lingua Franca, by someone who had read the Utne Reader but never seen h2so4, as being indicative of a trend towards "not reading." Well, had the Lingua Franca writer read the column, or read the Utne Reader review more carefully, he/she would have seen immediately that the idea of the column is to think about what one reads, and to choose carefully in such a climate of book-glut, and to remember the life outside reading, too. But we are forever indebted to Lingua Franca for the joyous ironic laughter it provided to all in accusing a writer it hadn't read of trying to get people not to read by reading. Here is a small selection of "Unread Book" reviews.

The Art of Friendship

What does it mean that I am "just" your friend? Toward envisioning friendship and every love in a life lived well.

Of Cheating and Civil Silence

Does it take a contract to make love real? Did Bill Clinton engage in sexual privacy for the purpose of subverting our government?

Letters from Prison

In most issues we present some of the correspondence between Halliday Dresser, alleged co-creator of h2so4, and N., a dissident poet whom Mr. Dresser met during his extensive travels some years ago. N. has, since the time of their meeting, been incarcerated, and HD's connection to him remains via the tenuous underground mail system on which they must rely. For his own reasons, HD edits evidence of N's identity, location and ethnic background out of these letters. Here is a selection of these letters.

Anne Senhal: Life of the Mind

The Philosophy of Thuma Ermine