all about

by Paul Niquette
Copyright ©1996 Resource Books All rights reserved.
all about  Slangy, hyperbolic expression of purpose or meaning.
 "That's what this game is all about." 

Thus spoke the late Jackie Gleason's character to Paul Newman's in The Hustler.  He might have been referring to winning or to wagering -- I don't remember.  And it doesn't matter.  Minnesota Fats' antecedent could just as well have been confidence, conquest, judgment, nerve, honor, whatever.
The game of pool is more likely about all of those meanings and certainly not all about any one of them.  Same for nuclear war, by the way.
One of life's ironies is that a dubious utterance such as "all about" can firmly establish its verity like a weed in the garden of inventive language.  "Name of the game" is another example.  "Growth is the name of the game" oversimplifies business.  So, too, does just about any other "name of the game."
"Economic recovery is what cutting taxes is 'all about'."
"Cutting taxes is what economic recovery is 'all about'."
Either way, a well-intended use of "all about" trivializes a complex issue.  It almost doesn't matter what you say the Presidency is "all about," you are bound to have inadvertently belittled a great institution.
 You may choose to regard each entry in 101 Words I Don't Use as merely an expression of personal preference.  On the other hand, if you're looking for authoritative prohibitions, then be my guest.
 "Volition," the most beautiful word in any language -- that's what this book is all about.

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