In late January, Matthew McConaughey appeared on ABC's talk show, Popcorn with Peter Travers, to talk about his new movie Gold. Before long, the conversation turned to a topic familiar to all Southerners: hometown pride.
McConaughey was born in Uvalde, Texas. The youngest of three boys, Matthew was raised by his lively mother, "KMac," and larger-than-life father, Jim. To this day, McConaughey's hometown Texas roots show through in his leisurely drawl, his charisma, his penchant for whiskey, and the time he spends giving golf cart rides to UT students.
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But it took a direct question from Peter Travers to get Matthew really talking about how important Texas is to him. And after reading McConaughey's heart-felt words, we're thinking about packing our bags and heading out west.
Travers: "But you know what I’ve never asked you in all the times that we’ve talked? I’ve never asked you what Texas did to create who you are. Because that’s a big influence on you."
McConaughey: “I suppose it is. And I get asked that question, and I don’t think I’ve ever had the perfect answer for it. Steinbeck says it’s a state of mind... In Texas, there is a certain honor of being a Texan that is a measure of doing something the best that you can. You have your name – McConaughey – or because you’re a Travers, you know. You have your nation – because you’re American. You have, if you’re a believer, because of God. And in Texas, you have a fourth measure. It’s because you’re a Texan.
But there is a real independence in Texas. When we say it’s a country unto its own, it is a little different from the other places in the South. We love to say, ‘Oh, we can still secede.’ We’re not going to secede. But we love to remind people of that. We love to say, ‘Oh, our capital is a few inches taller than the Nation’s capitol.’ things like this that are just a little like, ‘Hey, we are handling ourselves over here and we can handle ourselves over here.’
But also, the Texas I grew up in was not insular at all, there is a certain thing that goes about Texans that says, ‘Go, out, use your passport, go travel all around the world, go see other places, go as a Texan, go venture out there.’ You know, the rugged individual. It wasn’t insular in that way, like a lot of places in the South might be and are.
I like to say I live in Austin, Texas, because I can live where I want to."