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This little staccato phrase indicates you don't think much of the something. Writers still use it, if a google search is any indication, but "Not" and "Whatever" seem to have taken over for it in spoken American English. It's best used sarcastically, to turn the description of an item against itself:

Modern medicine, such as it is, has barely advanced since we began using leeches a century ago.

You can also use it with a kind of resignation:

Welcome, my friend, to our secret hideout, such as it is.

In both cases, the speaker denigrates the object and the term used to describe it in one fell swoop. Nifty. You can even use it as a particularly harsh aside, as during the audience participation in The Rocky Horror Picture Show:

Dr. Scott: "Or my mind - "
Audience: "- Such as it is -"
Dr. Scott: "- may way well snap. And my life -"
Audience: "- Such as it is -"

I like it because it lends itself perfectly to dry wit, where you want something quieter and more refined than its American cousins.

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