don’t hate me because I’m Y

This seems have originated with this 1980s Pantene shampoo commercial: “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.” X variants from the web include superfly, childfree, nerdy, adorable. The idea in the original commercial was that you don’t need to envy someone for having quality X because you can attain X yourself. Modern variants often carry this meaning as well. Many instances are orthographic, phonetic, or morphological plays on the word beautiful itself: viewtiful, bootyful, bloggerful, indicating that most people are aware of the original referent when using this snowclone.

Some non-linguistic analysis of this commercial can be seen here, in the context of literature and metaphor, with “advertising as a form of religion.” I don’t want to stray too far from linguistic discussion to comment on this, but I would like to note that as a phrase becomes a cliche, as a snowclone is, its rhetorical strength can be bleached away. So while there may be moral undertones to the original advertisement, the modern snowclone is not necessarily advising readers to avoid the sin of envy, or judging the speaker for his X-ness.

[This snowclone was pulled from Arnold Zwicky’s list on the Unblogged Snowclones post at Language Log.]


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