It started with Judge Judy. For real.
The Lady of the House likes to watch Judge Judy on afternoon television. I’d always resisted such cheesiness, but last year during my extended visited, I let down my guard and succumbed. Afternoon television was a mindless, mild distraction, something to listen to while I was making hats or hemp jewelry.
We noticed at the end of each case, when the plaintiff and defendant were interviewed, more and more people were saying, It is what it is. Usually the loser said it. It is what it is, meaning, basically, Ain’t nothing I can do about it now.
Is this a thing on Judge Judy? we asked each other. But then it started creeping up on other afternoon reality-television shows too. Is this a thing now? we asked each other.
Then people in the real world started saying it to me. My rock guy in New Mexico (who watches TV, but otherwise is pretty clueless about the current cultural zeitgeist) said it to me while we were talking on the phone. It is what it is. My boss in California told me it was her favorite saying when we were talking about a work issue. It is what it is. Then I saw it in one of those liberal-grown-up-hippie-consumer-items catalogs I’d pulled out of the trash to cut up for collages. It is what it is on shirts. It is what it is on bracelets. It’s definitely a thing now.
So I cut out the words from the catalog–It is what it is–and glued them down with bits of bright color and sent the collage to the Lady of the House. It hangs over her desk.
It is what it is.
Unless it’s not
I Know it drives me crazy like people saying “just saying”
It’s true. It IS what it is.
I love it. I say it all the time. Its sort of a zen surrender to the moment thing for me. It’s just what it is to say: “It is what it is”.
I don’t say that too much but agree with David above. Somethings in life are out of your control, but how you react to whatever is going on is the key. Twice my car has broken down on me, but I was close to family and things could of been a lot worse. It does me no good to get all upset, it is what it is and just deal with it the best I can and move on.
I like the idea that “it is what it is” is a zen surrender to the moment, a chance to realize that life could be worse. I don’t like the idea that “it is what it is” means the there’s nothing we can do about anything anyway, so why bother. I guess attitude really is everything.
What about…..the new normal……..just don’t like these quips……they get overused like so many other expressions over the years.
Isn’t it interesting, Jennifer, how the very words we use go in and out of fashion?
I remember when the thing to say was “It’s all good.” That one really set me on edge. I always wanted to shriek, “It is NOT all good.”
Or what about “my bad.” What happened to “I’m sorry.”
Language changes for sure, but writers are warned to avoid cliches. I think as soon as a saying is on a shirt in a catalog, it’s time for a writer to avoid using it.
That is gorgeous! I love it! Also funny because I just said that to someone about a situation at work today. I guess it is a thing! It just sort of crept up on us! I didn’t think of it that way until I read this post though.
Thanks for the kind words about my collage, Liselle. I guess sayings do just kind of creep into the language, and then eventually creep out.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
The writers on The Wire were pretty big on that sort of line. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoyq88niVEU
I’ve never seen The Wire, Megan, so I guess I missed it contributing to this cultural phenomenon. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.