Saturday, September 26, 2009

National Cliche

It is what it is.

I am sick to death of hearing this. One hears it twenty times a day, and enough already. In the first place, as Sister Helen would point out with a crisp whack of her ruler, it is bad form to end a sentence with is. Although, she would have phrased it in such a way that it didn’t end in is.

In addition, this poorly structured sentence has virtually become the national catch phrase in these trouble times, and a poor reflection indeed of our can-do spirit.

My research has also revealed that it was authored by the Bush administration in an effort to justify its unfettered free-market policies: “We can’t rein in those crazy bankers because it is what it is.”

Once it entered the national lingo, it lulled us into a passive acceptance of their contemptible policies:

Dick Cheney: “We can only keep America safe by plucking out prisoners’ fingernails and wringing their nuts.”
American People: “Oh, well. It is what it is.”

Which raises another point: frequently it is not what it is, and it never was. A more appropriate national catch phrase for the Bush years would have been “You’re a lying bastard.”

Bush: “We have to invade Iraq because Saddam caused 9/11.”
American People: “You’re a lying bastard.”

Hear the difference?

I would like to propose a new catch phrase that reflects the new administration’s crisis mentality and interventionist policies: “Holy shit. We better do something about that.”

Now I know what you are thinking: the use of the S word in the national cliché will lose the religious right. Guess what? They are already lost. Let them go shit in their hats, as my Uncle Vinnie used to say. Come to think of it, this could also be the new national catch phrase as it totally reflects the level of bi-partisanship in the land.

However, I concede the point and now am prepared to offer a compromise: “Holy Barrack. We better do something about that.” This captures the near Gandhian status the president has achieved, particularly with the younger voters.

Or at least that’s how it was as of last January when Kathie cancelled my subscription to the New York Times. Now the only news I get is from my web browser. So while I know what Gavin MacCloud has been doing since the Love Boat sank, I am a little sketchy on political developments.

Kathie: “I am canceling your Times subscription because reading it only makes you depressed.”
Jerry: “Oh well. It is what it is.”

1 comment:

Mary Lois said...

I'm still trying to figure out how to say "It is what it is" without ending the sentence with "is." How about this: "What it is, is it." Does that have the same ring?