Clairo is a Pretty Girl - so why so much hate?

Clairo—in real life, Claire Cottrill, 19, a freshman at Syracuse University—has surged to fame with a viral song “Pretty Girl.” The song is about a messed up relationship where she had to be a “pretty girl” for the guy.

But the song’s winning formula is the video clip with its low fi production, flat affect, and sugary electronic beats. Clairo is in her bedroom, dressed in daggy tracksuit tops, singing to her laptop. Who of us hasn’t done this?

But the song is also fascinating for its familiar internet narrative arc. Someone gains internet success. People gush their praises. But then the haters start their hate.

Why are we like this? Why can’t we celebrate the success of others? Why can’t their joy be our joy?

Instead, we flip it around. Their joy is our pain. And their pain is our joy (Hello Schadenfreude—I’m looking at you).

This familiar arc just feels wrong. But it makes sense at the same time.

Because if all we are is atoms and molecules. If all we are is just another species of life on this planet. Then this is a totally justifiable reaction. In the law of the jungle we fight tooth and claw to bring each other down. Assert our dominance. Take down any rival.

In the law of the jungle, Clairo is the pretty girl. So we need to take her down.

But what if we don’t live in a jungle but a kingdom? With a God who loves us and made us? Who gifts us life, so we don't have to fight each other for it?

What if our God comes to us as Jesus? Who washes his disciples' feet? Who heals the one who comes to arrest him? Who dies for us so we might live?

His joy becomes our joy. Our pain becomes his pain.

And his beauty becomes our beauty, so that when someone prettier than us comes along, we can rejoice with her rather than take her down.



Isaiah 61:3


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