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As the Forum Turns

It’s been more than two months since our campus experienced a sudden wave of passion during a Dec. 11 meeting of the Pacifica Forum and actually decided to give it some attention; a stark contrast to last year when this very magazine was covering the Forum and no one cared.

What has ensued is a disaster of epic proportions. It began with protesters meeting and shouting down speaker for their “pro-Nazi” views. The issue then became about safety, with an attack directed toward a student group directly after. Finally, it has evolved into something so hideous, so disgusting it’s almost unbearable to write about. Yes, the Pacifica Forum has become a soap opera.

From all sides, the characters fill their Jungian archetypes as if they felt the ever-present frame of a soft lens and a dimly backlit stage. An e-mail from Billy Rojas surfaced recently that suggested that there was some kind of co-dependant love triangle between several Pacifica Forum members, resulting with the Forum’s host, Orval Etter, becoming open to persuasion for upcoming topics.

But we have seen the drama crest fall as well, hitting a low when two weeks ago the National Socialist Movement – a group of neo-Nazis – failed to show up at Forum. Just when the hippies had called in their “militants” to protest them, we miss out on a skin-head/freegan battle royale.

We’ve even seen the drama unfold on our own blog. Dawn Coslow, an active participant in the Pacifica Forum, went back-and-forth with other readers in the comment sections for weeks. Students seem to have taken issue with us, needlessly, as well. When we published a series of e-mails between an ASUO Senator and a student, the hammer somehow came down on the Commentator, despite both parties having willingly sent us the e-mails. “It was,” they said, “a mistake.”

Yet despite our own student’s poor understanding of journalism law, that is what this whole debate has been. A mistake. It’s been a mistake on the part of the public, who have come to assume that the Pacifica Forum is a “Nazi group.” It’s been a mistake on the part of the anti-Pacifica protesters, who lodged their complaints in the realm of free speech, then quickly changed it to “safety.”

But mostly, it’s been a mistake on the part of all of us, equally, for giving the Pacifica Forum it’s due attention when clearly they are undeserving. The Forum hosts debates about highly controversial topics, but continually fails to offer a complete point/counterpoint discussion from equally opposite sides. What the Forum is, essentially, is a series of crackpots – Nazis, holocaust deniers etc. – and a few speakers who unenthusiastically try to refute their insane claims.

What we’ve done, essentially, is give weight to the words of a room full of Dale Gribbles. Stroking their ego, they no doubt meticulously checked this blog, the Emerald and the Insurgent for precious mentions of their forum during the last two months. But the whole thing has come crashing down lately. With the “who is giving who the business?” talk in Billy Rojas’ recent e-mail, we have undoubtedly finished the final scene of Act III. The Pacifica Forum has climaxed, and sweet Jesus I’m glad the curtain has closed.

  1. tarot spain says:

    What an all ’round well written blog post.

  2. Ganymede says:

    Jenni, you’re a brainwashed potential Judas Goat sucking up to whatever the dishonest mainstream Ziomedia proclaims as true. Ergo, you can’t detect truth when you hear it. Something you’ve never heard is “offensive,” so you support a controlled media that prints, like the damnable NYT, “only news fit to print.” You smugly think you know it all already. You lack the insight to see the obvious, that the MSM is a tool for the unscrupulous powerful to control the minds of the sheeple by lies, omissions and half-truths about sensitive topics that all people should be entitled to know about. As Java says, you have an agenda. You act like a Kommissar feeding off Pravda (lies as truth). In fact the truth which often comes out of Pacifica is conveniently and unresearchedly labelled hate, or hate speech. This attitude relieves you of the expenditure of energy necessary for analyzing what is presented. You serve the powerful mattoids of the world, i.e. the NWO, which squashes the real truth about the evils of that NWO. You are pathetic. Keep serving Satan.

  3. Java says:

    To Jenni Moore:

    Contrary to your personal agendae, except on their editorial and commentary pages, the purpose of “mainstream” media is to report the news, not [dis]encourage or [in]validate it.

  4. Jenni Moore says:

    That’s because mainstream media doesn’t want to encourage or validate the opinions of neo-Nazis. The news is not that the Pacifica Forum is being too harshly attacked for its content. The news is how offensive some of the participants are.

  5. Java says:

    Okay, I think it’s Love-All.

    Not sure you’re right to assume there are no devils advocates. Still, I have to admit I’ve never read a newspaper article that included information about the position of the devils advocates at Pacifica Forum.

  6. C.T. Behemoth says:

    No, you wouldn’t. My only point is about what the forum provides, not what individuals provide. If PF sees itself in a certain light, then it should do what it can to cultivate that. Unfortunately, it seems that a lot of the time, the speakers at PF are one-sided and use their position’s location relative to society as the counterpoint. You’re right that people should show up and speak if they want to provide counter-arguments. I just think that PF could do itself a favor if it went out of its way to provide them on its own (even if someone argues a point as the devil’s advocate). Then, you’d have fewer critiques about PF pushing a particular point of view and a better defense against people who don’t like PF for one reason or another.

    I just read your argument as blaming people outside of the forum for what is available in the forum.

    Maybe I read your argument wrong, but that’s where I’m coming from there.

  7. Java says:

    C.T., my argument may have been phrased poorly.

    Had I, centuries ago, introduced a controversial theory that the world is the shape of an orange, would I really have been expected to compromise my conclusions with “a complete point/counterpoint discussion” to accomodate
    the Torquemadas of the status quo?

  8. C.T. Behemoth says:


    Your argument is specious because you are, essentially, requiring people to come to Pacifica in order for Pacifica to live up to its name. IF, on the other hand, Pacifica was more interested in balance and other accusations against it, I would think that instead of demanding that other people show up to provide it, that Pacifica would provide the balance on its own. Perhaps this balance is provided at times, but the forum meetings I’ve been to have been conspicuously devoid of any balance or counter-point of view(s).

    Hence, your approach is a convenient dodge of the issue. At least, as you articulated it above.

    Pacifica would quiet a lot of its critics if the balance was provided in the actual forum without some apparent assumption that the balance is in the mainstream (silent majority) that doesn’t attend the forum or “engage a speaker with their their opposing point of view.”

    I don’t have it out for Pacifica. I could care less. Still, your original argument was pretty absurd as a response to the accusation that Pacifica

  9. Java says:

    Regarding C.T. Bemouth’s convenient word game: “Very convenient approach. I don’t have to be intellectually honest because other people aren’t doing it for me.”

    I think we’re having a Man-in-the-Mirror moment.

  10. OG OCfan says:

    You old people are ADORABLE.

  11. Bishop Williamson says:

    Is this the same David Frank who put together a “Holocaust Denial Symposium”/Testimonial-Fiesta, to “counter what Mark Weber brought to UO campus”? (Weber spoke on Mersheimer/Walt’s “The Israel Lobby and U.S.Foreign Policy”.)

    …The SAME David Frank that stated before 100 attendees, [that]
    “When I even think of the Pacifica Forum, I just fweel so … durwty”./? (EVEN THOUGH HE’D NOT EVER SET FOOT IN A PF.)

    Nor has this man EVER spoken to Pacificaars, I wonder–from where, he has gained “information” enough to put together an “academic” debrief, on the Forum?
    And I am (also) interested in your “insane claims” claim, Dane, would you be so kind as to expound on what you are referring to, when you write that here (in this post)?.

  12. C.T. Behemoth says:

    I lay that at the feet of those who choose not to attend or engage a speaker with their their opposing point of view.

    Very convenient approach. I don’t have to be intellectually honest because other people aren’t doing it for me. Pretty sad.

    In other news…..

    This e-mail made the rounds today:

    Dear Colleagues,

    Not too long ago, I asked David Frank to develop a campus-wide academic debrief on the issues raised by the Pacifica Forum controversy. Next week the first of a series of academic events on the First Amendment and social justice will be offered.

    Tuesday, March 2 at 7:00-8:00 pm in the UO Gerlinger Lounge the UO Debate Team presents a formal debate in its Challenging the Campus Consensus series: Resolved

  13. Dan Levitan says:

    The blog is great. They’ve been doing a pretty good job so far. Sure, they could add a bit more snark at times…especially when it comes to booze. But, I like how Dane, Drew, and the crew have been covering this whole thing.

    Keep up the good work.

  14. Sudsy says:

    Obligatory “The OC used to be better” comment. Drink!

  15. Old Senator says:

    the commentator blog used to be so cool; now, there are barely any new postings that are interesting to read. Where should i get my humorous news from in the morning?…

  16. Java says:

    Referencing your description of the non-appearance of the National Socialist Movement at the Pacifica Forum, you reap as you sow. Eugene has a so named Anti-Hate Task Force, which along with The Black Tea Society, other activist groups generic protesters from the UO generated a rumor mill and a hydra of mythic proportions. As a result, UO administration beefed up security for that particular non-occasion.

    And for what? To protect River City from a handful of First Amendment diehards, most of whom regularly regularly take one another to task?

    And you refer to “insane claims?”

    If the Pacifica Forum “fails to offer a complete point/counterpoint discussion from equally opposite sides,” I lay that at the feet of those who choose not to attend or engage a speaker with their their opposing point of view. I’ve walked in often enough and done just that.

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