Tuesday, July 31, 2012

It is what it is.

Last night during the Olympic 100 Meter Women's Breast Stroke, there was a official's error at the start, and one American swimmer, responded to an errant tone and jumped in the water at the wrong time.

Then, a couple of minutes elapsed before the race went off for real during which the officials rejiggered their devices and made sure everything was now in apple-pie order. After those minutes, the chime chimed and the swimmers swam their race.

The swimmer who mistakenly dived in finished, I think, fifth. Her American team mate finished with the Silver. Afterwards the pair were interviewed by a suitably blonde and vapid "reporter."

Did the mishap effect you, the swimmer was asked.

"It was bad, real bad," she replied. And then she uttered it: "It is what it is."

There are many stupid things to say after a set-back or a tragedy. And most people, when rebounding from one, utter one or another banalities. But, it is what it is, perhaps, takes the cake.

It seems to me a perverted variation on the Old Testament's "I am that I am." Which, coming from Yahweh, I can understand. Or even Popeye's "I yam what I yam and I can'ts be no more."

But 'it is what it is' is so stunning in its banality. It's not nearly as good or as real as "shit happens." The worst part of it is the feeble self-help quality it embraces.

Listen. You've trained your whole life for an event. The starter fucked up. And you're left out of the money.

Can't you muster a little anger? Can't you curse the gods? Or at least the officials?

In our plasticene world we have skipped all of Kubler-Ross' stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and taken an express train to acceptance.

This is the HR-approved reaction to all miscreance and slights large and small. It is what it is.

I'm having none of it.


Rich Siegel said...

On advertising: It ain't what it was.

Phil Koesterer said...

As far as banalities go, I've always found "it is what it is" to be admirably stoic.

Anonymous said...

It shows an almost zen-like maturity to refuse to give in to the anger. Who benefits? She won't feel any better by getting angry. They're not going to give her a medal for complaining.

These things happen. The worst you can do is make it personal.