Friday, January 18, 2008

It Is What It Is

Quote of the day:
“Put your hands up.”
--Benny Benassi and the Biz

There was one cliche listed by the LA TImes on January 1st that I disagree with. I’m not sure it’s possible to disagree with a cliche. But what the heck.

“It is what it is” may be overused to the extent it can be called a cliche, but there is a very good reason it’s used so much.

Ontologically, the phrase is redundant. Saying just “it is” is all that’s necessary. “It is what it is” is just saying “it is” twice.

The LA Times said, “We defy anyone to explain how this phrase contributes anything to logic or language.” They are 100% correct. But it’s still not exactly a cliche.

It’s not a cliche because it is a necessary statement to some of us at different times in our lives. Why would a redundant, seemingly senseless statement be necessary?

It is necessary because, at times, we literally forget that something “is.” It may be deliberate, it may be unconscious, but we behave sometimes as if “it isn’t” or “it is, maybe.”

As a result, we need the redundant reminder that “it is what it is.” Or, the reverse, “it isn’t what it isn’t.”

What is not true, or at least illogical, is “it is what it isn’t.” Or “it isn’t what it is.” Both of these statements say simply “it isn’t,” which we know is not true because “it is.”

Or, if that goes over our heads, “it is what it is.”

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