Words of Wisdom, McConaughey-Style

Fear has a new address.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen May 6, 2015 Published in the May 2015 issue of Houstonia Magazine

On May 15, Oscar-winning actor and native Texan Matthew McConaughey is scheduled to deliver UH’s commencement address, donating his princely speaking fee to charity (see box). Below, what appears to be an early draft of the McConaughey Address, as obtained by Houstonia spies.

All right, all right, all right!

Thank you for inviting me to be here with y’all. Before I begin, I want to say I know there’s been some chatter about the money I was paid to talk to you today. Let me tell you, I’ve been talking to college kids since way before anybody paid me to. I didn’t do it to be cool, I didn’t do it to make a statement. I just liked it. That’s because y’all are the ones who have found my frequency. That’s a scientific fact. 

You all get it. You get it because you don’t believe in the real world yet. I’m sure a lot of people have been mentioning that to you lately, the real world. What is it, exactly? It’s a fugazi. You know what a fugazi is? It’s ephemeral. It doesn’t exist. [Whistling sounds.] It’s not on the elemental chart. 

We are programmed to believe that each of us has a path we have to follow. It’s all the same dream, a dream about being a person. And like a lot of dreams, there’s a monster at the end of it. 

Let me give you an example. When I was in college at the University of Texas, I thought I was going to be a lawyer. That’s true, it’s on Wikipedia, y’all can look it up. But I didn’t go to law school. I decided to be an actor instead. Most of the time I was convinced that I’d lost it. But there were other times I thought I was mainlining the secret truth of the universe. And it turns out I was, my friends. 

Instead of becoming a lawyer, eventually I starred in a little movie called The Lincoln Lawyer. And then, a few years later, I’m making commercials for Lincoln. What does that tell me? That time is a flat circle. And sometimes you gotta go back to actually move forward. At the end of your life, all the things you thought were periods, they turn out to be commas. There was never a full stop in any of it. You gotta just keep livin’.  L-I-V-I-N.

On March 31, the news that UH would pay McConaughey $135,000 went into worldwide release. And, well, the reviews are in!

“That money could have supported scholarships or faculty hiring!” —

“I’ve had the instincts to help since I was a kid. I was raised that way!” —Matthew McConaughey

“The university has let the cat out of the bag!”Houston Business Journal

“Frankly, in this age of collegiate administrative bloat, universities have probably spent more money on dumber sh*t than commencement speeches by Oscar winners!”Jezebel

“It is pomp. It is pageantry. It is impressive and spectacular. It is joy and pride for your family, and it is precedent-setting for generations to follow!” —University of Houston

“Wasn’t Pauly Shore available?” — Commenter qkqk81b5115 (via

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