Actor Matthew McConaughey, in Rio for the Olympics, stopped by NBC’s “Olympics Late Night” to chat with Ryan Seacrest this week. His wife Camila Alves is Brazilian, so Seacrest asked McConaughey how he thought Rio was doing as a host city for the 2016 Games.
“I think they’re doing damn well,” he answered. “Now look, the compass for Brazilians, and you Brazilians know this, your compass is desire. It just is.”
Well, if that’s not the official quantitative measure of success, I don’t know what is! (That compass of desire is probably why we see all those scantily clad Brazilian dancers shaking their stuff every time we turn on NBC’s Olympics coverage.)
Oddly enough, in a roundabout way, the Academy Award winning actor suggested that Rio didn’t really deserve to be chosen to host the 2016 Games.
“Let’s remember, Brazil wasn’t chosen because of outstanding qualifications. That’s not why it was chosen,” he continued. (Apparently, it was because of its outstanding compass or something.)
But then McConaughey went on to opine about the negative press leading up to the Olympics. “We heard a lot of things leading up to these Games that now feel like partial propaganda — you know, as far as the scares and the negative press that was out.”
It was rather humorous watching how quickly Ryan Seacrest shut that line of conversation down. It appeared that the host saw what was about to become a sanctimonious, politically tinged lecture, and he quickly changed the subject to avoid offending female viewers who, according to the NBC braintrust, only want fluffy stories and rainbows and kittens during the Olympics.
Next page: Watch the video and find out what McConaughey is missing in Rio.
While the sheltered McConaughey has been running around the Olympic Village, schmoozing with the glitterati and elite athletes, there’s a drug war going on just a few miles away. The New York Times reported today:
Much of Rio is reveling in the excitement of the Games. Well-heeled partygoers are quaffing caipirinhas alongside supermodels and astronauts at lavish Olympic soirees hosted by sponsors like Omega, the Swiss watch maker. Thousands of soldiers are patrolling Rio’s upscale seaside districts to ease fears of muggings and other crime.
But in the shadow of the Olympics, a slow-burning war between drug gangs and the nation’s security forces is taking place. As the casualties mount in the favela where Richard lives with his family, the Games seem — to them and thousands of others in some of Rio’s poorest areas — like they are taking place in some distant city.
And while McConaughey is likely staying in a five-star resort, Olympians are reporting terrible conditions in the Olympic Village, with “blocked toilets, leaking pipes, exposed wiring, darkened stairwells where no lighting has been installed and dirty floors in need of a massive clean.” In addition, concerns about the Zika virus are very real, despite the dismissive attitudes of the fans who jeered “Zika! Zika” at American soccer star Hope Solo, who was seen wearing protective clothing. Oh, and the air is filthy in Rio and there are dead fish in the lagoon at the Olympic Park.
McConaughey might want to take a deep breath of that putrid Rio air and re-evaluate his claims of “partial propaganda.”