Matthew McConaughey modifies famous catchphrase in message to Texans: 'Mask, vax, just keep livin'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·4-min read

Alright, alright, alright — Matthew McConaughey is a master at adapting his catchphrases.

The Oscar winner, 51, was trending Tuesday on Twitter for his response to Texas Governor Greg Abbott saying he has now tested negative for COVID four days after testing positive. Abbott credited the vaccine for a "brief and mild" infection. 

AUSTIN, TEXAS - JANUARY 21:  Matthew McConaughey participates in a Q&A after a special screening of his new film
Matthew McConaughey tells Texas to "mask, vax, just keep livin'." (Photo: Gary Miller/Getty Images)

Austin's famous resident replied, "Glad you’re now testing negative for Covid Governor Abbott. Thank you for mentioning that 'the vaccination you received made your infection brief and mild.' Health to you, Cecilia, Texas, and beyond."

McConaughey ended his message with, "Mask, vax and just keep livin'."

"just keep livin'" — styled in lowercase "because life is nobody's proper noun," the star's said — has long been McConaughey's personal mantra. He wrote in his book Greenlights that while making Dazed and Confused, his first major film, in 1992, his dad, Jim McConaughey, died suddenly (while having sex, but that's a different story). When McConaughey returned to set four days after the wake, he was shooting one of the final scenes, on the football field, and he and director Richard Linklater talked about "life, loss and what it's all about."

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves' j.k. livin foundation was joined today by partners from Samsung and Best Buy to encourage kids to lead active lives and make healthy choices at a Los Angeles high school.  New Samsung technology was installed throughout the school by Best Buy's Geek Squad.  (Photo by John Shearer/WireImage)
Matthew McConaughey adopted "just keep livin'" as a personal mantra in 1992. (Photo: John Shearer/WireImage)

"'I think it's about livin', man,' I said" to Linklater, McConaughey recalled. "Even though my dad's no longer physically here, his spirit is still alive in me for as long as I keep it alive. I can still talk to him, do my best to live by what he taught me, and keep him alive forever." 

And when he shot the scene, which he wasn't initially supposed to have any lines in, his character, David Wooderson, memorably advised Randall "Pink" Floyd on signing the no drug pledge to stay on the football team. He ended by saying, "The older you do get, the more rules they're gonna try to get you to follow. You gotta just keep livin', man. L-i-v-i-n'."

So McConaughey — who famously ad-libbed "alright, alright, alright" in the same film — said after that he just started saying "just keep livin'" to guide himself through his grieving. He felt so connected to it, it became a guiding point in his life as he navigated good and bad times

He went on to use "just keep livin'" for the name for his charitable foundation. He says it at the end of most interviews or peppered throughout. It even made it into his Academy Awards acceptance speech.

The Dallas Buyers Club star has toyed with the idea of running for office — specifically Abbott's job — in his native Texas, but hasn't made a definitive decision. (Abbott has said he's taking McConaughey's possible run "very seriously.") So McConaughey's response to Abbott's COVID comments had his followers debating whether or not he should make a run.

A sampling:

Of course, commenters also debated whether "mask, vax and just keep livin'" should be the protocol in Texas, where Abbott has controversially banned vaccine and mask mandates despite the high number of COVID cases there.

McConaughey, who is not affiliated with a political party, has been urging Texans to wear masks and get vaccinated all along to stop the spread of COVID. He's said that his coronavirus PSAs were "not about politics" because the "virus doesn't give a d*** who you voted for." He's also interviewed Dr. Fauci about the vaccine, and urged people to wear masks, calling them "a short-term inconvenience for long-term freedom."

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