This blog is not into the muckraking journalism style of Woodward and Bernstein, or even really into "journalism" in general. But there comes a time every once in a while where you need to write an Expos-A. This happened recently to Pun City, when it read that Phonograph's AJ "Ronk" Romens denies all knowledge of the Sconnie-Coastie debate.
The truth is, Phonograph not only knew of the debate, but was personally embroiled in the debate. In 2002, Romens was enrolled in a American Jewish History course at UW-Madison. Also enrolled in this class was a Jewish New Yorker named "Chuck." Chuck was the type of guy that assumed he was going to get an A in the course just because he was Jewish. This is a tolerable assumption (albeit incorrect), as long as one does not disrupt class or ramble about topics unrelated to class. As it turned out, Chuck did tend to disrupt class and go on pointless diatribes. Beyond this, Chuck would also argue with the Teaching Assistant.
At this point, you may be asking yourself, "What does this have to do with the Coastie debate?" That would be a fair question. Well, here is where the plot begins to thicken. At the end of one of his long-winded, pointless comments, with practically the entire class thinking he was a complete dolt, Chuck looks straight at Romens and concludes his remarks with "If you keep looking at me like that, I am going to go over there and punch you in the face."
This is clearly not an acceptable reaction in any case, however this was especially perplexing given that Romens was not looking at Chuck any differently than he might look at an oak tree or a fridge. Or possibly a college student falling asleep in discussion class.
Naturally, AJ's response was a stunned, "What!?" At this point, the Teaching Assistant stepped in and cut the turf war short, before Romens could take this punch. If this wasn't bizarre enough, later in the same class period, Chuck decided to talk about the disproportionate amount of out-of-state students that live in Madison's private dorms, the State Sider and the Towers. To punctuate his remarks, Chuck briefly mentioned how this group of students often are segregated, then pointed to Romens, exclaiming "And this guy knows what I'm talking about!"
At this point, Romens again issued a denial, stating "No." Chuck then accusingly said to Romens, "You knew, you knew." Romens deferred to the TA, throwing his arms up in an exasperated stance. The TA asked that both Chuck and Romens remain after class. After the discussion period had ended, the TA asked if there was something going on between them. Chuck claimed that he didn't have a problem with Romens, and AJ explained that he didn't even know this guy.
Unfortunately, there were no more flashpoints in the Chuck-Romens rivalry, only a few unfriendly glances. Rumor has it that Romens' insistence on bringing free weights and drinking motor oil in each class curtailed any ideas Chuck may have had of revisiting the unpleasantries. After a time, Chuck stopped going to class, and the greatest rivalry in Jewish-American history sputtered to its end.
The result, however, was Romens decisively declaring his allegiance to the Sconnies in the debate, as well as a lifelong disdain for the Coastie extremists like Chuck.