There’s no situation so bad that Quadrant cannot make it worse. The once-influential right-wing magazine has, in recent years, become a fever bunker of deranged resentment and obsessiveness. Even so, they did not hitherto stoop to wishing for the violent death of their opponents. That changed with the Manchester bombing, when the publication’s “online editor” Roger Franklin — a preening swamp-man who likes to introduce himself as a “right-wing deathbeast” — hoped that a bomb would go off at Q&A:

“Life isn’t fair and death less so. Had there been a shred of justice, that blast would have detonated in an Ultimo TV studio. Unlike those young girls in Manchester, their lives snuffed out before they could begin, none of the panel’s likely casualties would have represented the slightest reduction in humanity’s intelligence, decency, empathy or honesty.

“Mind you, as [Q&A panelist] Krauss felt his body being penetrated by the Prophet’s shrapnel of nuts, bolts and nails, those goitered eyes might in their last glimmering have caught a glimpse of vindication.”

If I am reading that last paragraph correctly, Franklin is fantasising about the killing-by-nail-bomb of panelist Lawrence Krauss (whom Franklin calls “Richard”), and summoning up an (inaccurate) physical image of him, in order to make the suggested spectacle more visceral. Given that Franklin yearns for violent mayhem in the Q&A studio, he is presumably enthusiastic for the death of the program’s predominantly young audience because he didn’t like the panel’s attitudes to … a bomb at a gathering of young people. Very sane.

Uproar ensued on Tuesday morning as Franklin’s late-night rant circulated. By evening, the copy had been changed, with Krauss’ correct name substituted in, and the desire for a lethal nailbomb to go off in a studio full of people changed to: “Life isn’t fair and death less so. What if that blast had detonated in an Ultimo TV studio? …”

The slavering fantasy whereby the allegedly bug-eyed Krauss was torn apart by flying metal remained, however. One would say cooler heads prevailed, but there are no cooler heads at Quadrant. Most likely, one of the editors got a bit twitchy about how close Franklin had stepped to the law against encouraging terrorist acts.

Quadrant likes to whine about the enemies ranged against it. With Franklin uploading his psychotic nighthoughts, and Keith Windschuttle — one-time LSD-advocating Pol Pot supporter — returning as editor, there is no need of them. The magazine is a 10-instalments-a-year suicide note of Australian conservatism. (Franklin’s vile comments were defended by … Chris Kenny, of course). Quadrant lost its Australia Council funding last year. It may be reapplying for it in due course. Many pieces published on the internet disappear immediately. Franklin can be assured that his first draft effort of this one won’t.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey