“It is what it is” is a valid observation in any situation, irrefutably, but as a motto in life, as adopted by the Pennsylvania North Schuylkill High School Class of 2019, it’s an odd choice, except as a class prank. It is what it is, nothing to be done about it. Prejudice, greed, violence, ignorance—not my problem. I’m curious to know the thought processes that led an entire graduating class to want to be known and remembered by this sentiment. 

The expression is a reboot of earlier shallow dismissals. It goes back to the casual “Whatever,” back to the goofy smile and, “What, me worry?” It is at best an expression of disinterest and resignation, and at worst, cynicism . Taking that path through life is a sure ticket to nowhere worth going. And if it is what it is, it would follow that it was what it was. Forget about it, Jake, it’s America.