April 2, 2013

Long-headed.

Long-headed?! Meade questions my word use in a previous post. It came to mind because I was just law-professing the famous Supreme Court case Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, within which the long-headed lawprof-turned-justice Felix Frankfurter — explaining that the Constitution's Framers "were not inexperienced doctrinaires" — wrote:
These long-headed statesmen had no illusion that our people enjoyed biological or psychological or sociological immunities from the hazards of concentrated power. It is absurd to see a dictator in a representative product of the sturdy democratic traditions of the Mississippi Valley. The accretion of dangerous power does not come in a day. It does come, however slowly, from the generative force of unchecked disregard of the restrictions that fence in even the most disinterested assertion of authority.
The "representative product of the sturdy democratic traditions of the Mississippi Valley" was Harry Truman, who had accreted a little too much power.

The (unlinkable) OED defines "long-headed" — definition #2 — as "Of great discernment or foresight; discerning, shrewd, far-seeing." The historical examples include:
1711   R. Steele Spectator No. 52. ⁋3   Being a long-headed Gentlewoman, I am apt to imagine she has some further Design than you have yet penetrated....
1841   Dickens Old Curiosity Shop ii. lxvii. 178   Men of the world, long-headed customers, knowing dogs.
1864   J. R. Lowell McClellan or Lincoln? in Prose Wks. (1890) V. 173   Mr. Lincoln is a long-headed and long-purposed man.
Searching my own files, I see this in Henry David Thoreau's "Walden":
Or on a Sunday afternoon, if I chanced to be at home, I heard the cronching of the snow made by the step of a long-headed farmer, who from far through the woods sought my house, to have a social "crack"; one of the few of his vocation who are "men on their farms"; who donned a frock instead of a professor's gown, and is as ready to extract the moral out of church or state as to haul a load of manure from his barn-yard. We talked of rude and simple times, when men sat about large fires in cold, bracing weather, with clear heads; and when other dessert failed, we tried our teeth on many a nut which wise squirrels have long since abandoned, for those which have the thickest shells are commonly empty.
Now, don your frock, cronch on in to the comments section, and have a social crack with the long-headed squirrels of Althouse. Extract morals, haul a load of manure, talk of rude and simple times, or try your teeth on the toughest empty nuts. You know who they are!

20 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Yon Althouse's head has a lean and hungry look; she thinks too much. Such women are dangerous.

Hagar said...

Origin of DOLICHOCEPHALIC
New Latin dolichocephalus long-headed, from Greek dolichos long + -kephalos, from kephalÄ“ head — more at cephalic
First Known Use: 1852

edutcher said...

The only long-headed person I know of is Lurch and Ann certainly doesn't want to be associated with him.

Besides her head is rather round (Oh, no, a Roundhead!).

madAsHell said...

My first thought was Marfan's disease, but a long, horse-like head is not one of the symptoms.

traditionalguy said...

Seriously, Frankfurter's opinion is a representative of 300 years of struggling for a mid-point between two approaches to governance; that are 1)the King is king, or 2) the Law is king even over the Kings and his murderous men.

Obama I has never been anything but a King. He thinks law is a silly game that hinders his reign over us. So he uses his murderous women heading Federal Agencies, like the Atlanta Public Schools were ruled, to reign over us and dares Congress to stop his agents.

Obama controls the Senate to stop any counter to his Revolution by Deception. And his Agents have recently purchased 4 billion rounds of anti-personel wad cutter ammunition. Congress can get no answer as to what is the need for a 20 years of warfare supplies sudenly being stored up by Obama's civilian Agencies.

Bob Boyd said...

A horse walks into a bar.
The bartender looks at him and says, "Why the long face?"

President-Mom-Jeans said...

Load of manure?

God Ann, does every post have to be making fun of Garage?

bpm4532 said...

This seems to be a trait in short supply.

n.n said...

Progressive dysfunction leading to convergence.

There are good reasons why we proscribe monopolies and monopolistic practices. There are very good reasons why they are feared when prosecuted through a granted or coerced authority. At least one reason is that we don't want another French Revolution, or even an American Revolution.

Monopolies engender a dissociation of risk which causes corruption.

It is competing interests which keep the honest people honest and others from running amuck.

glenn said...

What the founding fathers, you know, those dead white guys who framed the Constitution (the little book)knew is that there are always people who chose to eat the fruit of others labor. They do this by birth if you have nobility or by being smooth talkers. Long headed is self explanitory.

Bruce Hayden said...

Interesting case. Esp. important was the one Justice (Jackson) concurrance that laid out a three prong test for whether and when the President or Congress was preeminent. Reread it a couple of times during the Bush (43) era NSA/FISA debates where the question was whether or not the Jimmy Carter era Congress could significantly limit the President's ability to wage war (issue pretty much went away, when the left gained the Presidency, despite maybe even more egregious FISA violations). The issue was never fully litigated, all the way to the Supreme Court, with them recently rejecting standing of a bunch of attorneys and journalists claiming hypothetical injury (and, unable to prove actual injury due to the classified nature of the evidence that they would have needed).

One of the interesting things about the decision is how a one Justice concurrance can move from being, just that, a somewhat fringe view, to being the accepted standard by the Court (and, thus, our judicial system) on such a fundamental issue as executive power (and the power of Congress to limit it).

Lem said...

I've heard the term "pointy-headed" as a pejorative towards intellectuals.

It may have been Rush... or Hannity.

Funny when I look up "pointy-head" on the Online Webster the "seen and heard" quote is...

What made you want to look up pointy-head? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Long-headed sounds very close to wrong-headed... and that's unfortunate... as SSM will attest.

Chip Ahoy said...

Well it's very rude when you cram it all together in summary like that. I did not realize how rude Thoreau was stretched out.

Long-headed refers to practice of cranial deformation done by Mayan nobility to set them apart from regular people with regular heads. They used boards to smash their baby's skulls during their tender formative period resulting in really cool stretched out heads that look like Egyptian Amenhotep IV's head really was shaped like his stretched Goya looking art depicted and his main squeeze Nefertiti's head really would fit inside her hat.

Your definition leaves out "wrong headed" in Japan.

Lem said...

I look up Webster because Oxford is for "pointy-headed" intellectuals.

I'm just kidding professor.

Rabel said...

Could long-headedness be considered a work-related disability for pointy-headed chin-pullers?

virgil xenophon said...

@lem/

George Wallace was the guy who coined the term "pointy-headed intellectuals" for Harvard types "who couldn't even park their bikes straight." (iirc)

virgil xenophon said...

@Lem Part II

It's always handy to have a geezer like me around who can remember things first-hand, lol.

ken in sc said...

George Wallace used to use the term 'pointy-headed intellectuals', when he ran for president. He also said there was not a dime's worth of difference between the Democrats and Republicans. He said you could shake them up in a sack and pull one out, you could not tell which one it was. He was an entertaining politician.

ken in sc said...

George Wallace was a bantem-weight boxer in college. His supporters called him the 'fighting banty rooster'.

Rob said...

And I thought long-headed was an allusion to John Kerry.