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Monday, May 21, 2012

The Phrase That Makes You Sound Like A Douchebag | Zoë Triska, Huff Post Books

"It is what it is." 

Once upon a time, I dated this guy. He was a complete douchebag. ... [T]here's one thing that should have tipped me off immediately to his sliminess: When asked about commitment, he would consistently say, "It is what it is."
"What does that mean?" Triska asks. I've also wondered that when I've heard people say, "It is what it is." Her answer (emphasis added):
You're essentially saying that you're not strong enough to either be honest or offer up any kind of solution. It's an acceptance of defeat, resignation. It makes you look like a douchebag ... and a moron.
Let's be real here: "It is what it is" is simply a way to evade making any true effort in a conversation or contribute anything remotely important. People only say it to feel like they've contributed something orally to a conversation, when in fact, they have contributed absolutely nothing at all
Zoe quotes William Safire on the subject:
"It is a deliberate tautology (the Greek tauto means "the same") designed to define itself by repetition of itself. Because it needs a name, let's call it a 'tautophrase.' Often accompanied by a shrug, it is used to deflect inquiry with panache."
She notes that USA Today coined it as the most "overused phrase" in 2004 and 2005. And she notes that clients of a California company that represents marketers and advertisers picked it as one of the "most annoying, overused phrases in the industry."

I especially like what movie director Billy Frolick think when he hears people use that phrase. He directed the 2001 movie "It Is What It Is" (emphasis added):
My reaction is often that the [phrase user] can't think of anything intelligent to say. Maybe they are A) out of breath B) not getting enough oxygen to their brain, or C) there isn't much brain to get oxygen to.
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