been there done that

pitbull‘s song with ne-yo, time of our lives has been incredibly effective when i’ve used it in class this year.  listen to pitbull’s dedication at 3:55…

this is for everybody going through tough times; believe me, been there, done that


been there done that is a reduction of the present perfect i have been there (and) i have done that . it’s used to convey that an experience is not new and perhaps even boring. pitbull is telling his fans that he is famliar with tough times.

go through means experience or live.

carly fiorina been there done that
carly fiorina in last night’s debate (mark j. terrill/ap/corbis)

republican presidential hopeful carly fiorina used the expression in last night’s debate on cnn.

i have been very honest about this from the day it happened. when u challenge the status quo, u make enemies. i made a few. steve jobs told me that when he called me the day I was fired to say, hey, been there, done that twice.

in other words, when fiorina was fired from hewlett-packard in 2005, steve jobs could empathize (understand her feelings) because he was fired from apple.

william saffire been there done that
william safire: been there, done that

by william safire published in the new york times in may of 1996 verifies that the phrase went viral as a result of this commercial for diet mountain dew

the extreme sports dudes never actually say been there done that but the first line is “done that” and the third line is “been there”.

safire also observed that been there done that was competing with an existing expression, same old same old, which indicates boredom from repetition. the two idioms are alike, but they are not interchangeable. safire included an example from a 1988 rolling stone interview with stephen stills.

stephen stills neil young been there done that
stephen stills and neil young as members of buffalo springfield (henry diltz/corbis)

stills is the author of for what it’s worth, a song released in 1967 that was inspired by social protests of the day.  when asked how the song applied to the social environment at the end of the 80s, stills replied “same old same old“, i.e. nothing had changed.

the same month in the same newspaper by timothy egan about author jon krakauer‘s experience climbing mount everest in 1996 been there done that is a mountain climbing term. egan asked

[who] would not love to point to a picture of the 29,028-foot roof of the planet and utter the words that originated in mountaineering: been there, done that

utter means speak.

the article reported that krakauer did not plan to write a book about the disastrous experience he and other climbers went through. nevertheless, a year later his popular book into thin air was published.

into thin air been there done that

the movie everest is not a direct adaptation of into thin air, but it is based on the same ill-fated (finished bad) expedition. one of the characters in the movie is jon krakauer.

john krakauer michael kelly
jon krakauer(left) is played by michael kelly (right) in everest []

and the sense of accomplishment (reaching an objective) described at 1:23 in this trailer sounds similar to what egan asked nearly twenty years ago

a few more days, for the rest of your life you’ll be a guy that got to the top of everest

dr. dre‘s been there done that came out in 1997 (the same year as krakauer’s into thin air,). it was the first single he released on his own label aftermath.  aftermath refers to the environment after a traumatic situation. dre’s selection of aftermath as the name of his brand was influenced by his experience in gangster rap group nwa and at iconic gangster rap label death row records.

the lyrics talk about dre’s various experiences and his personal wealth, and the end of the video, like time of our lives, reminds fans that dre also represents been there done that when talking about poverty (being poor).

straight outta compton been there done that
one of the storylines of this successful movie follows dr. dre’s trajectory from nwa to aftermath records

not everyone thinks been there done that is a cool thing to say though. paul rudd‘s opinion in the movie role models definitely represents an attitude many other people have. at :40 he includes been there done that with asap and 24/7 as fashionable expressions that people overuse.

paul rudd is called a dick by the barista (nina hellman), his girlfriend (elizabeth banks), and he calls himself a dick too. dick means penis, but in this case dick is an insult used to indicate rudd is insensitive, a jerk.

banks also tells rudd he has lost the ability to take joy in life. rudd later reflects on this criticism with his friend, played by seann william scott.

do u know what 24/7 and asap mean?  which been there done that example is most useful for u? share your feelings under leave a reply


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