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File:Refuge.png

It's so absurdly offensive it's hilarious! There's a scantily dressed corpse, an unrepentant murderer who thinks this murder was hilarious, a transgender Nazi wearing swastika pasties, and The Joker's scowling!


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"This is so offensive... that it really isn't offensive any more!"
Marzipan, Homestar Runner
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Characters can get away with outrageous acts by making them overblown to the point of absurdity. Toning them down to realistic levels would be more offensive, either to logic or to morality.

This is because, for works and characters both, pushing things past a certain level automatically knocks things into Genre Blindness. If it's genre convention, then it's okay. But if it's toned down to moderation, then the audience will think about it — and the thought makes it cease to be okay.

The name comes from a quote from the Roman historian Tacitus (Annals, book XI ch. 26):

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  "Crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity."

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This isn't Getting Crap Past the Radar. This is crashing the crap through the front doors and out the back doors of the radar installation in an armored car with sunglasses-wearing flaming skull decals on every flat surface and a Hieronymus Bosch reproduction on the door, hood-mounted machine guns blazing, Motörhead blasting on the jury-rigged PA system, the tires leaving tracks painting sex and violence on the floor and walls and one arm hanging out of the window making a rude hand gesture.

Compare Sarcastic Confession, which works on a smaller scale. The Bavarian Fire Drill is also related to this: it works because no one thinks to question the (false) authority of the ones pulling it, and may be unwilling to believe or admit that they were conned afterwards. May be used to maintain the Masquerade. Setting up a Kill Me Now or Forever Stay Your Hand situation is a subtrope.

Has nothing to do with using this program when you're tired of dealing with ProTools or Garageband.

See also Crosses the Line Twice, Refuge in Vulgarity, Serial Escalation, Refuge in Cool.

Related to Gallows Humor.


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And remember, they don't insult anyone... they insult EVERYONE!

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