God Damn Independents
While I was at Cornell, I wrote a story for the Cornell literary magazine. And that was picked up by Mike Curtis, who became an editor at Atlantic Monthly. And so, Mike and I became friends. And when he went onto Atlantic Monthly, I had that connection. And at Cornell, I hung around with Richard Fariña, he ended up marrying Joan Baez’s youngest sister, Mimi Baez. Richard and I were part of a — sort of a Cornell anti-establishment kind of movement.1 We were just part of the college town community, and we were connected with a bunch of what were called GDIs, which meant God Damn Independents, as over against the frat boys. So, we were called GDIs. That gives you an idea of cultural distinctions. Anyway, we were non-conformists, and/or fancied ourselves as non-conformists and not really part of the fraternity scene.
One of the things I remember mostly that kind of got me into it, was going down by the Willard Straight Memorial building, which was this student building. Willard Straight was — well it was a big place. It was huge, and it had a music room, and all kinds of facilities. And I went down there and there were a bunch of fraternity boys out in front of it singing “Fry, fry, fry the Rosenbergs.” And they were basically going after Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and saying that they should be electrocuted. And that was the fraternity approach to that whole Rosenberg situation.