Thursday, April 9, 2015

#99 / It Is What It Is

The Easter edition of The New York Times Magazine, published last Sunday, had an engaging article titled, "Note To Self." Well, that was the title used in the print edition. Online, the very same article was called "How 'You Do You' Perfectly Captivates Our Narcissistic Culture." Under either title, it's an article worth reading. Among other things, this article taught me a new word: "tautophrase." It appears that a Times columnist, the late William Safire, came up with that. Click this link to read his 2006 column on the subject.

While I think tautophrases like "I am what I am," "You do you," and "Haters gonna hate" are marginally better than the somewhat similar phrase that I truly and profoundly dislike ("It's all good"), I am not happy with these self-referential characterizations. Not because they are "narcissistic," either. Because they will lead us astray, and ascribe "necessity" to what is merely "typical."

We don't really have to kill the frog.

Let's try to remember that!

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