What an unpleasant surprise to see Robert “Wedgie” Fulford mentioned in Twitter dispatches this week.
It’s been two decades since Wedgie played Boswell to Toronto society from his National Post pulpit. (Fulford was so far up the establishment fundament that after he was awarded the Order of Canada in 1984, he wore the pin on his pyjamas.)
In recent years, Wedgie has been replaced by more contemporary conservative deep thinkers, thus sparing Post lip movers his weekly eye splitters.
His recent exhumation came via a New Yorker profile of David Cronenberg by Toronto critic Adam Nayman.
According to Nayman, Cronenberg’s 1975 breakout film, Shivers, was both a success story and a scourge for the Canadian film industry: “[I]n the cultural journal Saturday Night, the novelist Robert Fulford excoriated Cronenberg as an opportunist gaming the system.”
Much derisive laughter from legions of Fulford haters. The New Yorker had been caught in a rare fact-check error as Fulford has been many things (editor, critic-at-large, Frank Wanker of the Month), but he’s never written a novel.
As for the “Wedgie” sobriquet that has dogged Fulford all these years, Frank takes no credit. In fact, an actual novelist, Margaret Atwood, bestowed it upon him.
In her 1991 short story, Uncles, Atwood prompted a feud with Fulford after she used the sanctimonious fraud as the model for Percy Marrow, described in the story as a “peeled potato with a little tuft of fuzz on top” and nicknamed Wedgie.
They haven’t spoken since.