It isn’t what it effing is.

24 Feb

id est quo id est

I’m not a physically violent woman but when somebody says “It is what it is” I want to smack them repeatedly upside the head  and bite them till they swear never to say it again, at least not in my hearing.

What does it mean? What does it effing mean? What does it mean when someone stands in front of you like Obi-Wan Kenobi and says, “It is what it is” and why is it wrong to want to poke them in both ears with your Jedi knight light saber?

The meaning of the phrase is illegible. It lacks any relation to reality. It contributes nothing to the understanding of our lives.

The phrase belongs in a suppository of ersatz wisdom of the kind peddled by pop psychology hacks, who think that the mere repetition of words like “Love” “Happiness” “Acceptance” “Joy” “Family” will make everything that’s nasty go away, especially if you paint those words on a piece of distressed faux wood and hang it on the wall.

The signs claim and are claimed to represent the real.  This is a fine example of Baudrillard’s “order of sorcery” in which meaning is conjured so that it appears to be referentially linked to the real, but in fact simulates reality and renders meaning illegible and obsolete.

Our biggest and most difficult concepts reduced to prescriptives on distressed faux wood.

Representation used as replacement for the real. Unlike the myriad forms of art, which at their best are an exploration of the emotion and psychology of our big ideas that move, inspire, frighten and otherwise stir the human heart.

From a psychological perspective the phrase sounds to me like resignation, capitulation, the verbal expression of a depressive perception that nothing can ever change, because “it is what it is.”

Or it’s a closing down of conversation, as in, what is the point of talking about this anymore because “it is what it is.”

Well, sod off, Jedi Master. By all means say, I don’t want to talk about this anymore. That’s honest. But don’t disguise your reluctance for discussion as the utterance of a universal truth.

It isn’t what it effing is. If we have learnt nothing else these past decades, we ought to have learned the inevitable fluidity of circumstances, that nothing is or can be certain, and that one of the most damaging things we can do to ourselves or others is to demand certainty where there can be none.




18 Responses to “It isn’t what it effing is.”

  1. saraharnetty February 24, 2015 at 9:16 am #

    Good post. Loved the last paragraph. Very true.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hawkpeter February 24, 2015 at 9:48 am #

    I think you’re definitely on to something regarding the use of the term as a sort of white flag and departure of any attempt to really try to explain something. A reluctance to go any further with any investigation, explanation or reasoning.

    The worst part is when people seem never happier than when they don’t really know or can’t find in themselves any investigatory pulse; a willful ignorance.

    After that, its only a short time until the backbone is removed and the inner coward emerges.

    Is that too sh*t an attempt at a slippery slope?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 24, 2015 at 9:51 am #

      No, it’s an accurate description of the dreaded slippery slope!

      The increasing demand for certainty and security can only lead to non resilience. IMHO.


  3. paul walter February 24, 2015 at 9:54 am #


    What a spit!

    It’s actually a learned and polished technique of avoiding thinking about things a bit tricky, things that could have consequences that ripple the waters, but sometimes it is necessary to escape solipsism, part of a strategic rearranging, unless it deteriorates into irreversible denial.

    Good example on 4 Corners night. Politicians and social prejudice have dodged constructive thought and action on employment and unemployment and how it can be constructively dealt with for for decade after decade, as I can recall bitterly from younger times. Now there is system failure turned septic through cynicism and corruption and something once easily enough to be remedied is now like a rotten tooth.

    Speaking of teeth I found this out with my own teeth most recently, succeeded in ducking the chair for a time and when I least expected it, reality came from behind, biting me hard, on the arse.

    Computer tech is another thingie..clearly I haven’t learnt certain things because they require time and I might fail at what I’m about and make a foolof myself (again!!). Yet clearly, others can do things I’m not adept at, should it not be possibe to learn certain things, for a little bit of tiresome work?

    My latest conclusion is that tech reactivates a tendency to look for failure and that cannot be healthy, somehow I have to win, not just to solve a problem but restore self respect and avoid a bad tendency being reinforced further.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 24, 2015 at 12:56 pm #

      I was part of that arse-biting reality, telling you to get that tooth fixed. This is how we care for one another, even though we never meet.

      I could have said about that tooth, it is what it is. How callous that would have been! 🙂


      • paul walter February 24, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

        So, you are the one to blame for forcing me to suffer all that indignity as those barbarians with their pliers ripped out a pretty little tooth, overpowered as they were mercenary greed.

        Poooor Pauly.. what they done was nobody’s business.

        Actually what that tooth was, was painful. It certainly WAS what it was and you did well to advise me to do something any half wit with single digit IQ woukld have done ages ago- get the bloody thing pulled.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jennifer Wilson February 24, 2015 at 10:22 pm #

          lol. And you don’t feel any older do you?


          • paul walter February 25, 2015 at 3:23 am #

            How could I feel any older than I did last week?
            Its healing a bit slowly and more to come in more ways than one.

            Funny thing, bumped into a chappie who had twenty teeth pulled in one hit as part of a government scheme. I just thought, “faarrkk”, listening as he told his tale but think they gave him good dentures.

            I wonder if Tony Abbott is not akin to a rotten tooth.. got there through complacency and a bastard to get rid of if we want recovery?

            That he goes is no issue, the problem is how much damage he does before it happens.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Jennifer Wilson February 25, 2015 at 8:12 am #

              The LNP has a serious abscess and if it doesn’t pull the rotten tooth it will end up with septicaemia. Boo effing hoo. LOL


              • paul walter February 25, 2015 at 12:10 pm #

                Now see here, my good woman.

                The way things go at this site, It could be renamed, the “Ëffington Post” (haw, haw).

                Liked by 1 person

  4. samjandwich February 24, 2015 at 10:13 am #

    This made me think off my bogan neighbour who yells at her kids, and her standard riposte of “because I said so!” uttered in exasperation whenever they question why they should follow a particular instruction of hers.

    So much of our cultural background is geared towards ensuring people accept the conventional wisdom, as if there ever was any such thing/-; Perhaps the capitulation to it is another example of conservatism in action.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jennifer Wilson February 24, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

      I used to say that. In utter exasperation. They used to threaten me with the UN rights of the child.


  5. Michaela Tschudi February 24, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

    Ha! I can just imagine you saying all that standing on a crate in the Domain. I totally agree. I thought only cartoon characters talked that way, or “it is what it is” eg PopEye. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jennifer Wilson February 24, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

      I yam what I yam?! No real people all around me seem to be saying it and I’m going to start being rude I can feel it in my bones.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gina February 28, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    I had a boss once who said it often. What a moron. He used it to indicate defeat, that there was nothing more he could do, etc, out of his control. Yeah. Right.


  7. Inthegazeoftheother March 11, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

    Sounds like I can’t be bothered because I am not all that invested in the topic type of response. But the truth behind is nothing to kick to the curb: that acceptance of the way things are is a great way to avoid insanely trying to change what cannot be changed.


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