Friday, June 15, 2007

What's In A Name?

I was fascinated today to read that has appointed a new executive director who goes by the name of, would you believe, Dr Brilliant! I hadn't previously heard of Larry Brilliant but, as befits his name, dear Larry is a veritable polymath: "a medical doctor, epidemiologist, technologist, author and philanthropist" according to his Wikipedia entry. I'm not sure I would have wanted to go through life called Mr (or Dr) Brilliant. The name would certainly create certain expectations among one's contemporaries that might prove difficult to meet. However, maybe having a name like that gives one a certain self-confidence that others find elusive?

One of the "chosen ones" in the new UK government under Gordon Brown rejoices in the name Ed Balls. I can't imagine growing up in the West of Scotland with a name like that. I suspect it would have been a pretty painful experience. Having a somewhat provocative name does not seem to have hampered Ed's progress though life. He's certainly a rising star just now. Here we see the nice Mr Balls talking about his efforts to help disabled children.

Sometimes tell-tale names can be a bit more subtle, though. It took us years to notice that Blair was an anagram of "B liar", for example....