Former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher used to use it all the time delivering non-responses to questions during his press conferences. It seems to have caught on with players, too, when they don’t want to say something. This one has been growing in popularity over the past several years and I absolutely love it when lemmings emulate each other jumping off the verbal cliff with meaningless vogue expressions like,
“It is what it is.”
The etiology of this vacuous, yet pre-emptive, sentence is uncertain. One conjecture is that it is a mutation of Popeye’s self-affirmation, “I am what I am and that’s all what I am.” The transmogrification to the third person singular neuter probably took place in the late 20th Century, in conjunction with the general sanitization of the language at the behest of the political correctness movement. However, not much is known about when or why the conjunctive phrase “that’s all what I am” vanished from the inane construct. It does seem somewhat redundant to this Turkey. This one is almost, but not quite, as trite as another of my all-time favorites: “It is all good.”
In context, it works something like the following:
Reporter: You threw six interceptions in today’s 77-0 loss. What can you carry forward from this experience?
Player: I could say a lot of things, but it is what it is.
I much prefer the direct approach to saying nothing. Inject a little humor, perhaps. For example, I witnessed the following exchange between a reporter and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach John McKay back in the 1970s, after a tough loss to the Detroit Lions.
Reporter: Coach, can you find anything positive in today’s loss?
McKay: Yes. It’ll be a lot easier to find a good parking space for next week’s game with Green Bay.
Why do I waste my time writing about this crap? I don’t know. It is what it is.
Artificially Sweetened says
I have favorite non-answers, too.
Child: Mom, are we going to the mall tomorrow?
Me: I can neither confirm nor deny that we are going to the mall tomorrow.
Too often, people are expected to talk about things they know nothing about. That’s why all this nonsense becomes commonplace. But it’s all good.
The Nittany Turkey says
Sometimes you know things you don’t know you know, you know?