“It is what it is” is essentially a tautology, but it has become a catchphrase for a variety of sentiments. From Doug “Uncola” Lynn at theburningplatform.com:
I was in a gathering of folks when a dispute escalated between a husband and wife over what has now become the title of this article. During our discussion someone recited those words and the wife divulged how much she hated that statement. After quietly listening to the exchange for a few moments, the husband spoke up and said: “Well that must be more proof of how opposites attract, because I LOVE that phrase and I say it all the time!”
Which may have been part of the reason why the wife disliked the expression, but I wasn’t about to go there.
Instead, I mentioned how that particular shibboleth of sortswas surely defined in the minds of the beholders. On the one hand, its utterance could be an excuse – even a fatalistic expression derived from laziness or defeatism. Or, like the purveyor of produce in Ayn Rand’s epic tome, “Atlas Shrugged” – when Dagny Taggart asked the grocery vendor why she didn’t move her product from out of the sun and into the shade and her reply was: “Because it’s always been that way”.
Oh, the world sucks? Of course it does. Why bother.
It is what is.