McConaughey didn't get his way on guns, now he's upset

McConaughey didn't get his way on guns, now he's upset
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Matthew McConaughey stepped into the gun control spotlight in the wake of Uvalde. As a native of the city, he was an obvious choice to be the face of the narrative. He’s famous, good-looking, and a respected celebrity without a long history of scandal and a nice guy image.

However, making it in Hollywood and being able to understand the nuances and differences in various political positions are very different things.

McConaughey didn’t really accomplish much of anything with his efforts. Now, he’s speaking out about it and what he has to say actually betrays his ignorance.

Academy Award winner Matthew McConaughey reflected on the aftermath of the Uvalde shooting in May 2022 and his subsequent White House address.

McConaughey wrote an opinion piece for Esquire detailing his emotional connection to the massacre in the town he grew up in until he was 10 years old.

“I’m sickened by the spate of mass shootings in America — especially those at schools, which are supposed to be some of the safest of spaces for our children and the closest extensions of our own homes. But this time felt different, more personal,” McConaughey wrote of returning home to Uvalde, Texas. “Now, for the first time, my innocent childhood memories of Uvalde felt naive — more like dreams than memories, slightly hazy and suddenly overly sacred. Times like these make us all feel a bit more foolish. We hug our kids a little longer, knowing their innocence won’t last as long as ours did, hoping their children won’t know the same.”

McConaughey was forced to confront a truth about American politics: “It sometimes feels like politicians don’t really want solutions, because solutions would put them out of a job.”

Of course, that’s the cynical view of someone who really doesn’t understand the issue in its totality.

Like many, McConaughey delved into the issue based on horror and emotion. He wanted to reframe the debate as “gun responsibility,” but then did nothing but push the same tired talking points we’ve heard for decades.

Yet he’s wrong.

Politicians may or may not personally want solutions, but they want to be reelected. You can’t just ignore what people want indefinitely and stay in office. At some point, you’ll get voted out. You’d better at least look like you want solutions.

And when we’re talking about dead kids, everyone wants them.

What McConaughey isn’t grasping, though, is that people have very different ideas about what those solutions might be. He wants bans on AR-15s, whereas I want schools hardened so maniacs can’t literally walk in off the streets and start murdering children.

Those are very different proposed solutions.

But McConaughey thought he could waltz in with the glitz and glamor of Hollywood and politicians would swoon to appease him. It didn’t work and now he’s trying to do something to salvage his effort, to make it look like he didn’t abandon the anti-gun sentiment in Uvalde.

However, not everyone is convinced that he made the right move.

Celebrity hubris and narcissism know no ends, and maybe it’s a good thing, at least for me. To be fair, if celebrities didn’t double down on those qualities, we would have a lot less to talk about.

For example, Matthew McConaughey in Esquire this month: “After Uvalde,” screams the cover, and the actor dressed in a white suit wades in knee-deep water.

So now the magazine cover. What a popped collar and pocket square have to do with Uvalde, who knows?
Or his rolling one sleeve and in the water is a metaphor for who knows what.

We found it on Instagram. I hope I told it well. Then he tagged the stylist, groomer, visual director and a few others.

Nothing says selfless warrior for the common man like tagging your groomer. You know what’s missing from his post? His essay. So we went and found it.

There are a lot more pictures. Again, who knows what this has to do with fighting for the Uvalde victims. Doesn’t he have anyone smart enough around him to say this is a bad look?

It is a bad look, though I think author Leland Vittert and I would describe it as wrong for different reasons, though Vittert makes excellent points.

For me, it’s a bad look because McConaughey stepped in like a savior but lacked the understanding of the issue to actually address anything. He simply thought that emotion and celebrity would cause people to bow to his will, only no such thing happened.

That’s because he stepped into a debate that’s been around for a long time. He called for moves that weren’t new. We’ve debated everything he wanted ad nauseam and already know where all of that will go.

His sin was hubris. He thought he brought something new to the table, and when that failed, he wanted everyone to know it wasn’t his fault.

Well, it was, because he didn’t educate himself from the start.

Reading a script and remembering lines is a far cry from spending years studying and understanding an issue, but unfortunately for McConaughey, he still doesn’t get that.