The other day, I heard a certain Alaska governor use the word telephonically to describe making a telephone call. She said that she “was scheduled to participate telephonically in a meeting ….” Spending $150,000 on clothing for her campaign and taking taxpayer money for living at home is bad enough——-but using overinflated grammar? Now she’s gone too far.
While I did find the adverb telephonically in the dictionary, I have to admit that it’s not a word I’d ever heard before hearing it from the governor. Maybe that’s because when most of us want to use the telephone, we say “I’m going to make a call.” There’s also the familiar “I have a conference call at 10” and the ever popular “Where did I put my phone!”
I asked myself why in the world someone would use the ridiculous “word” telephonically when she could have easily said “was scheduled to participate in a meeting via telephone” or “was scheduled to participate in a telephone meeting” or….. The answer was obvious: Governor Palin has fallen prey to the same disease to which so many of us have fallen prey: The desperate need to make ourselves and what we’re doing sound more important than we are or it is. It’s called being pretentious.
Nothing is functional any longer; it has functionality. No one is tall any longer; her or she has immense verticality. No one plays physical football any longer; he plays with great physicality. Storms are impactful, senses of humor are non-existent——–and now, we no longer make telephone calls; we communicate telephonically.