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Matthew McConaughey revealed that Jordan Peterson helped inspire his new book and discussed cancel culture on Peterson’s podcast released on Sunday.
The controversial Canadian psychologist spoke with the
star about McConaughey’s life and career, the trappings of fame and Louis C.K.
Here are the highlights of their conversation.
Inspiration for Greenlights
McConaughey told Peterson that he based his new autobiography Greenlights on journal entries he kept since he was a teenager.
In the process of writing the book, he said he took numerous solitary trips into the desert. “I headed off with 15 gallons of water, I don’t know how many pounds of red meat and my favourite libation and I went away into the desert,” McConaughey said.
He also revealed that Peterson’s lectures on humility and vulnerability had helped to inspire him to write the book in the first place. “A lot of what you said gave me confidence to go, ‘I’m going to put my story on paper.’”
Peterson and McConaughey mostly avoided political topics, but at one point, Peterson offered his thoughts on comedian Louis C.K.
In 2017, C.K. was accused of sexual misconduct by five women who said that he had masturbated in front of them or attempted to. C.K. later admitted the allegations were true in a statement.
Following the scandal, C.K. was dropped by his manager, and Netflix, FX and HBO cut ties with the comic. The film
I Love You, Daddy
, which he starred in and directed, was also scrapped.
“If flawed people were incapable of creativity we wouldn’t have any creativity,” Peterson said. He then brought up C.K., who Peterson said was ‘pilloried terribly,’ suggesting he didn’t deserve the treatment he received from fans and the media. “Well there’s plenty of people that do unseemly things but very few of them are as masterful a comedian as Louis C.K.”
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Peterson said it’s unhelpful to dismiss people simply because they are flawed. “Yes, I think you’re leaning into a lot of what we call cancel culture today,” said McConaughey.
McConaughey added that cancel culture should shift focus to rehabilitation. “In the name of rehabilitation, we have to have a world in which we’re able to grow and evolve if that’s what we’re trying to do,” he said. “I’m not for repeat offenders or tyrants but if someone screws up and sincerely wants retribution, I think it’s fair to give it to those people.”
McConaughey has come under-fire from progressives in recent months for criticizing what he calls “illiberals” for their “arrogance and condescension.”
McConaughey appeared on Russell Brand’s
Under the Skin
podcast in December and discussed American politics and Hollywood elites. “Many people in our industry, when Trump was voted in four years ago, they were in denial that it was real. Some of them were in absolute denial,” said McConaughey. “Now you’ve got the
that’s in denial.”
McConaughey said he wants people to attempt to find political middle ground rather than antagonizing those with different political views. “There are a lot [of people] on that ‘illiberal left’ that absolutely condescend, patronize, and are arrogant towards the other 50 percent.”
McConaughey’s book also deals with his upbringing in Texas and the complicated relationship between his mother and father. The couple divorced twice and married three times, and often had physical confrontations. McConaughey’s father, who he mentions in the book as one of his greatest inspirations, died in 1993 while McConaughey was in the process of shooting the cult classic
Dazed and Confused.