All of authority was up for grabs, every piece of it. The authority of the church, the authority of a rabbi, the authority of the institution like Williams, Cornell, Columbia, you name it. All of that was up for grabs — the notion of police power, the notion of government, the notion of whether or not it was appropriate to take the burgeoning industry of telephone credit cards and call mom in Switzerland for Williams students. A question that he wanted unpacked because at the end of the day that would shape who we were. The claim was you rip off The Man. Students were stealing credit cards and they would be published in the Rolling Stone or some sort of a street paper and the credit card belonged to some movie star, and you got the numbers. So Bob wanted to talk about that. Because at the end of the day Bob fundamentally wanted us to understand something that’s very powerful for those of us who went to Williams and lots of liberal arts colleges, the notion of alienation. He wanted us to understand that. He wasn’t going to let Freud and Marx carry the day under the description of what alienation meant. He wanted us to say, “No, it’s not us and them. It’s us.”

At the end of the day students were often impatient with Bob’s question. You have to understand, we were right in those days. Not because we were careful and studious and had engaged in examination. We were right because we were sincere, period. We felt it, so we were right. Vietnam was wrong because we didn’t want it. It wasn’t contextual. We hadn’t understood Vietnam. We didn’t understand the military’s role in U.S. history. We understood nothing. Bob Gaudino loved that. I mean that was an opportunity. That was an invitation. He wouldn’t let you get to a judgment until you’d done the hard work. He resisted it like the plague. So we were all impatient. I mean in order to be with us you have to tell us that Vietnam is bad. And of course he wanted to suspend those ultimate judgments because he knew we were too quick to make them.