Friends of political commentator and The Weekly Standard editor, Bill Kristol, say he's gone a bit "off the rails" after a trip to Peru. While there, he and his associates took part in a ceremony, thinking it would cement their connection with one another. The ceremony, not known to Kristol when he agreed to it, turned out to be a shamanic ayahuasca journey. Nervously, once he realized what it involved, he decided to try anyway.
"He was hesitant but didn't want ruin it for the rest of us", says a friend. The event lasted several hours and many of the participants had a transformative experience.
"I felt like I was weightless, looking at my perceived problems in a new light. It was intense at points but it felt like a breakthrough" says another friend who participated. Kristol, it seems, experienced a different type of transformation.
"He believes he's literally the actor Billy Crystal. This sounds insane, but I think he had a meltdown during the ceremony". Reportedly, a shaman mistook Kristol for Crystal while they each shared their names and interests with the group before the ceremony begun.
"It was awkward but kind of funny to be honest. The Shaman nodded and said "Oh, yes. I know of you." and bowed in reverence. Kristol got a kick out of it until the shaman started talking about cowboys and city folks and how funny the actor is. Unbeknownst to Kristol, the shaman was referencing the 1991 blockbuster featuring Billy Crystal and Jack Palance.
"You should have seen the look on Kristol's face. I don't get why he'd be offended by that but he got pretty flustered!" Once the ceremony ended, Kristol appeared to be having an identity crisis that hasn't yet subsided.
"He seemed normal until we were back at the hotel grabbing dinner. The waiter asked where we would like to be seated and Bill was like 'we can sit wherever, okay, you don't have to give me the star treatment'. I was confused because usually only very politically engaged people ever recognize Bill--not quite a star, you know?" Kristol's associate went on to say that the former Chief-of-Staff to Dan Quayle started listing Billy Crystal movies to the waiter.
"I thought Bill was messing with him, but he was 100% serious." said the associate. "The waiter smirked and pretended to know what he was talking about. They both laughed, but Bill's laugh got really loud and opera-like. It was weird. When we sat down, Bill put on a pair of pink sunglasses. I said 'Bill, what's gotten into you?' He just nodded and stuffed his face with chips and salsa. It didn't stop there. When we left, he offered to sign a napkin for the management. He chose one that he used during dinner. 'It's more valuable that way!' He says. They offered him a free dessert to distract him from his theatrics."
"This is actually fairly normal behavior for someone who's experienced what Mr. Kristol did" says a noted social psychologist. "The indigenous Peruvian shaman hoped that through the ritual, Bill would rediscover himself. Kristol now feels that the old Bill is gone and the new Bill is beginning to blossom. I believe he subconsciously chose the actor Billy Crystol to represent the new Bill. There's no need to judge his path. Let him learn. Let him play. Let him dance. Let Bill become Billy."