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I happen to see the following three episodes in today’s Washington Post, all of which seem to me related to derogative usage of words or actions:

  1. The Navy is expected to relieve Capt. Owen Owen Honors as commander of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise as a part of an investigation into a series of videos made by Honors that use anti-gay slurs and mimic masturbation.

  2. Despite the fancy sounding name, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee has almost zero legislative authority. All they can do is hold hearings. While most members of Congress have no interest in being on the committee, it seems to be a dream post for media hogs like Issa and Joe Lieberman.

  3. ESPN host calls reporter 'sweet baby': ESPN, the sports network where male announcers have repeatedly faced disciplinary action in high-profile episodes of sexist behavior, has benched yet another host for his remarks to a female colleague.

Although Quote 1. is self-explanatory, what does ‘media hog’ of Quote 2. mean? Does it mean “those who wish to stand out in media exposure? How derogatory the word is?

What kind of connotation “sweet baby “in Quote 3 have in this particular case? How offensive is it?

I’m afraid my questions are insensible, but it is difficult for non native English speaker like me to fathom exact degree of destructiveness of derogative English words.

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There's a term similar to "media hog" called media whore. I don't like "media whore", because it's disrespectful of prostitutes. –  Andrew Grimm Dec 10 '12 at 2:39
    
Are you sure he was actually calling the reporter that? One possibility is that it's a euphemism for the expression "sweet baby Jesus". –  nitro2k01 Mar 26 at 12:55

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

A media hog can be either someone who watches or listens to all kinds of media without paying much attention to their content, or someone who likes media exposure just for the sake of it. In your quote, it is the media exposure. It is no more offensive than its definition is: it implies that someone is vain. It is especially effective because the insinuation is impossible to disprove.

Sweet baby is a pet name you could use for a woman. When used by a man for a woman he is not intimate with, such a pet name often evokes a traditional male-female distribution of roles, in which the woman is inferior in skill and power. Emancipated women do not like this if it is used without irony. They might reply "I am not your baby, you troglodyte". I don't think it has any more specific connotation.

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Cerberus. Thank you for your detailed input. One question, when you say 'someone is vain', which does it mean, 'empty, superficial person' or 'conceived, ostentatious person? Yoichi Oishi –  Yoichi Oishi Jan 5 '11 at 1:41
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@Yoichi: I think I meant both. Superficial and conceited often go together. Someone superficial will often pay more attention to what others think of him than to things that "really matter", such as dealing with important political issues. // Some people are superficial without being conceited: they just like silly jokes and are not interested in discussion. Others are conceited but not superficial: they like to study hard to go to a prestigious university to impress their peers. Or they might be conceited about their clothing but still interested in quantum mechanics. –  Cerberus Jan 5 '11 at 2:47
    
Cerberus. Many thanks. I think now I got a clearer idea about a person being vain, the type I don't want to belong to. Yoichi Oishi –  Yoichi Oishi Jan 5 '11 at 5:32
    
One of the informal (and derogatory) meanings of "hog" is "greedy person"; so a "media hog" is somebody who is greedy for the media - either consumption or, more likely, exposure. And I think that "vain", when used of a person today, always implies "conceited". –  Colin Fine Jan 5 '11 at 12:54
    
In the early '70s in San Antonio, I heard a guy dismissively address a woman as "darlin' girl." Whew! –  Pete Wilson Mar 20 '11 at 11:16

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