Sunday, November 16, 2014

How Do You Feel About The Phrase "It Is What It Is"?

This saying causes me to cringe akin to pointy fingernails dragging ever so slowly across a chalkboard. Maybe that's a little bit melodramatic. It drives me nuts though, and I bring it up because I heard it said several times this last week. How do you feel about it? 

Without commenting on the fact that it's meaningless and redundant, nothing good seems to precede its use. Like, “I just cleaned the house for you. It is what it is.” Or, “I bought you that book you were drooling over. It is what it is.” Or, “We’re going on a date tonight. It is what it is.”
It doesn’t work that way. It is always something more disappointing in the realm of, “The dog keeps eating your socks then throws them up on the rug every morning. It is what it is.” Or, “Your parents can’t come (to whatever). It is what it is.” Or, “I’m sorry you didn’t get the job/promotion/anything you really wanted. It is what it is.” 
Today, conversing with my better/kinder/nicer half during a several hour long drive, I asked, "Why do people say this?" His response surprised me, because he consistently approaches matters from a glass-half-full prospective. Though it concisely explained how I feel about it. 
“Bill Murray recently said when people use the phrase consider it synonymous with 'you’re screwed,'” he said. This made me laugh.

Now, I don’t know if my husband’s reply was a “butt fact” (butt fact =  saying something with authority, so it sounds believable, but it is most probably made up, and not based in any sort of fact). I didn’t have the energy to  “google” it either. It sounds about right though.

There is definitely a negative connotation to “It is what it is.” It basically means suck it up ‘cause it is probably not changing. You can't improve the situation. It is usually less than good news. 

It’s the inherent hopelessness it seems to convey, at least to me. Residing to a fact. It just doesn't feel happy. Maybe that’s what I don’t like about it. 

Maybe my lamenting is over the top. It's Sunday; my day to write off the tip of my tongue.
I say, "It just is."

It spares me the shivers.


Jack said...

What can I say, it is what it is.

Unknown said...

I use the expression it is what it is a lot - and usually because something is pretty sucky but can't be changed. It's never something good that is what it is. My cringe phrase is "in a perfect world", to me it implies that things could be improved but the person saying it doesn't want to put out the effort to change things.

Gina said...

It just is.

Gina said...

That's what I'm talking about. Negative! I hear you on your cringeworthy phrase. Who's to say what is perfect, anyway. How do they know our level of effort to evoke the change?

Jack said...

Very few things just are.

Gina said...

I agree. Life is much more complicated than a simplistic phrase such as "it is what it is" or "it just is".