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Don't Hate Me
Because I'm Beautiful

A Commercial In Context

by Gerald Grow

Copyright © 1988
Last modified 03-28-1996


In analyzing a single line on a single television commercial, the author seeks to provide the most fundamental requirement for interpreting meaning: a context that makes sense of it.

Because the line turns on "hate" and because it uses some of the strategies that have led critics to label advertising as a form of religion, terms from the traditional moral vocabulary have been used in interpreting the commercial.

The commercial is analyzed as a "mythic" way for ritually discharging envy. Despair, envy, and hate are considered as potential byproducts of the cognitive strategies employed in certain types of advertising.

Publication history: This paper was presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Portland, 1988.

A revised and shortened version of this paper, without the illustration, was published in Images in Language, Media, and Mind, edited by Roy Fox (National Council of Teachers of English Press, 1994).

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful -- by Gerald Grow


The Company She Keeps: Values in Commercials
Advertising and Sermons--A shared strategy

The Two Faces of the Ideal
The Two Faces of Envy

Advertising as Mythology
Beauty, Hate, and Religion
The Broken Connection

Figure 1 -- The Context for "Don't Hate Me Because I'm Beautiful"

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