The Greatest Story Ever Told, by David Brooks

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The Greatest Story Ever Told, by David Brooks

Postby admin » Sun May 27, 2018 1:01 am

The Greatest Story Ever Told
by David Brooks
University of Chicago Maroon
April 5, 1983

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William Freemarket Buckley was born on December 25, 1935 in a little town called Bethlehem. He was baptized an Episcopalian on December 28 and admitted to Yale University on the 30th.

Buckely spent most of his infancy working on his memoirs. By the time he had learned how to talk he had finished three volumes: The World Before Buckley, which traced the history of the world prior to his conception; The Seeds of Utopia, which outlined his effect on world events during the nine months of his gestation; and The Glorious Dawn, which described the profound ramifications of his birth on the social order.

Buckley attended nursery school at the School of Soft Knocks, majoring in Art History. His thesis, “A Comparison of Michelangelo’s David and My Own Mirror,” won the Arthur C. Clarke award for Precocious Criticism and brought him to the attention of world luminaries.

His next bit of schooling was done at Exeter, where he majored in Pre-Yale.

Buckley’s education was interrupted by World War II, during which he became the only six-year-old to fight in Guadalcanal and to land on the beaches of Normandy. Combat occupied much of his time during the period, but in between battles he was able to help out on the Manhattan Project, offer advice at Yalta, and design the Marshall Plan. His account of the war, Buckley Versus Germany, perched atop the New York Times Best Seller List for three years.

Upon his return to Exeter, Buckley found that schoolwork no longer challenged him. He transferred his energies to track, crew, polo, golf, tennis, mountain climbing, debate, stock brokerage, learning the world’s languages, playing his harpsichord and, of course, writing his memoirs. By this time he had finished his ninth volume, The Politics of Puberty, which analyzed angst in the international arena and gave advice on how to pick up women. A friend at the time, Percy Rockefeller-Vanderbilt III remembered, “Everybody liked Bill at Exeter. His ability to change water into wine added to his popularity.”

The years at Exeter were followed by the climax of his life, the Yale years. While at Yale he majored in everything and wrote the bestseller, God and Me at Yale, which was followed by God and Me at Home, and finally, God and Me at the Movies.

His extracurricular activities at Yale included editing the Yale Daily News, serving as President of the University, and chairing the committee to have Yale moved from New Haven to Mount Olympus. He also proved the existence of God by uttering the Cartesian formula, “I think, therefore I am.”

While a senior, Buckley founded the publications which would become his life’s work: one was a journal of politics entitled The National Buckley, and the other was a literary magazine called The Buckley Review. Later, he would merge the two publications into what is now known as The Buckley Buckley.

On the day of graduation, Buckley married Mis Honoria Haight-Ashbury and fathered a son and a daughter (Honoria helped) both of whom would be named Yale.

As any of you who read The New Yorker know, life for Mr. Buckley since then has been anything but dull. On any given morning he will consult with a handful of national leaders and the Pope, write another novel in the adventure series, “Bill Buckley, Private Eye,” chat with a bevy of Academy Award winners, write a few syndicated columns, and tape an edition of his TV show, “Firing Pin.” He also tames a wild horse, chops down trees to reduce U.S. oil imports, and descrambles some top secret Soviet spy transmissions.

In the afternoons he is in the habit of going into crowded rooms and making everybody else feel inferior. The evenings are reserved for extended bouts of name-droppiong.

Last year, needing a break from his hectic fast lane life, Buckley sailed across the Atlantic in his yacht, the HMS Armsrace. In one particularly riveting scene, the Armsrace runs out of gas in the middle of the ocean and Buckley is forced to walk the rest of the way.

Buckley has received numerous honorary degrees, including an M.B.A., and L1.D., a Ph.D., an M.D. and an L.H.D., all of them from Yale, of course.

During his two days at this university, Mr. Buckley will meet with students, attend classes, deliver a lecture and write four books.
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