Did you hear that awkward sound at the Oscars last night, the one right after Matthew McConaughey offered his thoughts on the meaning of life, family and, perhaps, Pilgrim’s Progress? Here’s the quote that is getting so much cyber-ink today:
“First off I want to thank God, because he’s the one I look up to, he’s graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human kind. He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late (British actor) Charlie Laughton, who said, ‘When you got God, you got a friend and that friend is you.’”
The only really mysterious part of that is the “and that friend is you” part at the end of that section of the speech where McConaughey pointed out toward, but slightly above, the rather shocked audience. Was the actor — previously known more for his ripped torso than his theological views — saying that individuals in Hollywood, if they embrace God, can finally come to peace with their complicated relationships with, well, themselves?
The confounded editorial team at the Time entertainment section tried to sum up the mini-sermon this way. Here’s the headline:
Explaining Matthew McConaughey’s Confounding Acceptance Speech
We parse it all for you — “Amen and Alright Alright Alright”
After winning for his role as Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyer’s Club, Matthew McConaughey launched into a semi-bizarre tale about his inner life. Here is what we learned:
1. He needs someone to look up to, something to look forward to and someone to chase.
2. He wants to thank God, who he looks up to. God is all about gratitude.
3. He wants to thank his family, who he looks forward to. His deceased father, he believes, is celebrating with a big pot of gumbo and a can of Miller Lite. His mother, still with us, taught him how to respect himself.
4. The person he chases is himself, 10 years into the future. He knows he will never catch up, but he wants to find out who that guy will turn out to be.
5. To all of that, he says “Amen,” ”Alright, Alright, Alright” and “Keep on Livin’.”
Now, if you watch the whole speech — which I urge you to do — it seems that the Time entertainment team was hearing most of his words, but failed to grasp the meaning of this particular meditation. For example, what’s up with the “God is all about gratitude” part, unless Time is saying that the “all about” reference is slang noting that God is pro-gratitude.