About “It”

Consider these sentences:

Wilson nailed it.

Jones just doesn’t get it.

It’s about ethics in games journalism.

It’s not about politics.

It. And: about. This kind of language is useless — worse than useless, in fact. Substantively, such phrases say nothing more than “I agree” or “I disagree,” but they add a layer of blurry obfuscation. Whole vast complexes of ideas and experiences disappear in the dense fog generated by a two-lettered pronoun. Wilson nailed what? Jones doesn’t get what? Put your brain in gear and figure out what you mean by “it.” Then write or say what you’ve decided you mean. Maybe then you can contribute something more than the mere announcement of what team you’re on.

About just thickens the fog further. What is this “it” that can only be “about” one thing? What does it even mean for an it to be about? All you’re really saying when you employ this locution is, “I would prefer us to debate certain topics that are different than the topics other people want to debate.” Again: vacuous.

So don’t use these locutions, ever. Just remember: It’s about clarity of thought and precision of expression.