Timothy Stanley reflects on his rather common and boring name:
[O]ver the years, I realised that my mother did me a big favour by Christening me Tim. Like all oppressed minorities, I had to work harder than the other kids to achieve the things I wanted. My name turned me into a striver and it made me a little more sympathetic towards those who face discrimination on a daily basis – such as people called Balls or Boris.
It is precisely because I have such sensitivity about name determinism that I can only feel pity for someone who was christened Will Self. Working backwards, “Self” implies narcissism and even cruelty – which is apparently appropriate for our hero. Self tells us in his article about Tims that, as a child, his family used to give a car ride to a boy called Timothy Brocklebank-Fowler. This brought out his inner fascist: “my sadistic brother and I would tease him: ‘Timmy-Timmy-Timmy,’ while he futilely protested that he was a Timothy.” So a Self is entitled to pick on a Tim? That seems consistent with a career spent cataloguing random stuff that Will Self happens to hate. Brittle egos are bolstered less by what they love about themselves than what they find contemptible in others.