Wednesday, May 6, 2015
"It is what it is."
John McWorther, a linguistics professor at Columbia University and author of The Language Hoax, Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue, and The Power of Babel, says that the term: "it is what it is," is one of the rudest, meanest catch phrases that has caught on in the past ten years. He says, it means basically nothing.
He goes on to say that, if someone talks about something that is bothering her and you reply, "It is what it is," you're saying that there's nothing to be done about it. That you acknowledge what the person said and you have nothing constructive to add. It's so brutally vacuous.
Years ago, he says, people said, "Life sucks and then you die." That was better. At least it implied judgment. When someone is sharing her problems, you can't have perfect answers, of course, but you should show a little feeling and genuine empathy. Indicate that you have some sort of emotional investment, that you can imagine how she feels, rather than simply intoning this phrase.
Credit: John McWorther - June 2014 Real Simple Magazine