Pleasure Activism at JMU’s Queer Teach-In

by Stu Smith

On October 4th 2023, Adrienne Maree Brown presented her work on Pleasure Activism at JMU as part of a Queer Teach-in. This Teach-in was hosted by JMU’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department. As you will soon hear from JMU’s Coordinator for Cultural and Affinity Spaces, Kwyn Riley, “This conversation serves as the nucleus of the Queer resistance teach-in.” But first, how about we hear from the keynote speaker, Adrienne Maree Brown?

I’m sure most of y’all are at a total loss for words. This is who James Madison University parades out to speak to young and impressionable minds. I think the footage speaks for itself and I frankly don’t have too much to say. To me it is clear that Pleasure Activism is just Hedonism under a Social Justice lens. As a history lover, I always wonder what the namesakes and founders of these universities would think of situations like this. I can’t recall any of Madison’s thoughts on pleasure, but his ol’ pal, Thomas Jefferson said this…

“Do not bite at the bait of pleasure, till you know there is no hook beneath it.”

Telling young minds to say yes to every pleasure in life is surely a path to ruin. I had plenty of friends who went to JMU who flunked out because they spent all their time partying and never went to class. What I find so insidious about Brown’s philosophy is that it plays so wonderfully into stereotypical images of conservatives being prudes. Living a life full of “Orgasmic Yes” in the face of modern day conventions sticks it to the regressive attitudes of the age. If anyone finds fault with her work, they are simply regressive and hostile to her idea of “progress.” Yet we all know that if someone followed her philosophy to a tee, eventually the hook of consequences would rear its ugly head.

Critics of my exposing this will just say this is knee-jerk reactionary conservative journalism afraid of any sort of LGBTQ curriculum. I’m completely open to all kinds of new academic departments. Academia should be dynamic and cutting- edge. But make no mistake, despite its name, this isn’t remotely LGBTQ. Let’s look at one of the slides from this teach-in which features bell hooks, who doesn’t capitalize her name to stick it to the man.

“Queer” to them just means being different and at odds with society. As hooks states, queer is not necessarily “about who you’re having sex with.” In a bizarre kind of way they have returned to the original meaning of the word. Honestly, I’m sure there are plenty of people who are liberal, moderate, conservative, and even apolitical who feel at odds with everything in modern-day society. I’m in my thirties and I feel most people are so consumed by their phones that we live in a world completely devoid of goodwill towards our neighbors. I can’t imagine how this feels for people older than I am. This over-intellectualized definition of queer is effectively meaningless because it is nearly universal. It is purposefully so broad to grow their activist pool with useful idiots.

Yet “queer” to them is part of an ongoing project to radically transform our society and destroy the norms of the current order of things. Some see this as an attack on America, others on the Western world. I think it is much larger; this is an attack on humanity. The norms these activists want to tear down I consider universal across all world cultures:  family, biological sex, health, and classical virtues. To avoid scrutiny, they hide under the banner of LGBTQ, but in my opinion, it is not remotely related. This is a subjective post-modern philosophy that just wants to reset the gameboard.

In the spirit of transparency, I have uploaded the full lecture and the PowerPoints. This is everything I obtained from JMU. I imagine there are many in the LGBTQ Community who are just as horrified by this as the average JMU parent. Remember, the real enemy here is the toxic subjectivity of the woke ideology. It is that ideology that sees being on time as a white supremacist colonial construct and considers you an oppressor for suggesting maybe not taking “a lot of drugs” in a world where over 100,000 people die a year in America from fentanyl overdose.

Stu Smith writes about left-wing activists on his Substack account, Stu Stu Studios. This column has been republished with permission.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


9 responses to “Pleasure Activism at JMU’s Queer Teach-In”

  1. Freda Joy Rosso Avatar
    Freda Joy Rosso

    Hedonism pure and simple. Listened to about 5 minutes and it was such a convoluted world salad of self justification I couldn’t take anymore. It’s hard to believe people earn a living pontificating about such dribble. It’s a sad sad world.

  2. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
    Dick Hall-Sizemore

    Oh, how times have changed! It was just 16 years ago that Gene Nichol was hounded out of the presidency of the College of William and Mary. One of the primary criticisms was that he had allowed the Sex Workers’ Art Show to be held on campus. (It was not a college-affiliated program and he did not intercede due to First Amendment principles.)

    I am older than the author of this article and I am probably more out of touch with the attitudes expressed by the JMU students than he is. However, being older, maybe I can provide some perspective. Every college generation seems to want to flaunt older generations with behavior and attitudes that seem designed to shock.

    From another perspective, how many JMU students even are aware of this community on campus? How many attended the Queer Teach In? To worry about these students being an “attack on humanity” and a threat to universal world values seems like overkill. Over the years, there have been many groups that voiced beliefs that that were antithetical to American values and those groups have faded away. The members of some of those groups are probably now mainstream conservatives. And currently, there are groups that seem to be much more a threat to American than students attending a Queer Teach In on the JMU campus.

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      I had forgotten the Sex Worker Art Show. It burned up the opinion pages of the Daily Mess for weeks.

      1. Stephen Haner Avatar
        Stephen Haner

        I remember the horror, pure horror, of the parents at the matriculation assembly for frosh in 1972 where W&M officials announced – scandal! – that dorms would allow 24-7 visitation! Worked out well for me, though.

        1. Nancy Naive Avatar
          Nancy Naive

          Hey! I thought you was a divinity major! By the 80s it was floor-by-floor. By my daughter’s third year there was a pretense of room-by-room.

          In the late 70s at CNU, one of the student artists had a show entitled “Trixie Steps Out”. It was just B&W photos of a girl’s legs in torn fishnet stockings and high heels in various situations. Damned good.

  3. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Changing things, static things

  4. Not Today Avatar
    Not Today

    Can we just sum this entire series of articles up with ‘KIDS THESE DAYS!’ and ‘GET OFF MY LAWN’ and call it a decade? How many Mr. Wilson screeds must we endure before we get back to issues of substance?

  5. Not Today Avatar
    Not Today

    Can we just sum this entire series of articles up with ‘KIDS THESE DAYS!’ and ‘GET OFF MY LAWN’ and call it a decade? How many Mr. Wilson screeds must we endure before we get back to issues of substance?

    It also bears repeating that this generation of young adults engages in less hedonistic behavior than their parents and grandparents did too. Everything from underage sex and pregnancy, to smoking, drinking, and drug use have been declining for 20 years. These ‘young and impressionable minds’, regardless of how they identify and what they choose to discuss, are WAY, WAY, WAY more sexually responsible than their elders ever were.

    Turns out if you give young people, particularly women, the opportunity and information necessary to prevent conception and childbirth, they do.,Teenage%20birth%20rates%20in%20the%20US%20reached%20historic%20lows%20in,between%20ages%2015%20and%2019.&text=Teen%20birth%20rates%20have%20declined,except%20for%202006%20and%202007.

Leave a Reply