A 2007 article by Charlie Brooker published in The Guardian, illuminating why offensiveness might be one of the most powerful tools a writer (or in our case, a theatrical production) can wield:
I hate offended people and I love offending them. They’re the very worst people on the planet…No paper wants to gratuitously offend the reader. Pity, because gratuitous offence, when performed with aplomb, is the funniest thing in the world. There’s more unpretentious joie de vivre in a single issue of vintage-era Viz than most artists or singers manage in a lifetime. I’d like nothing better than to fill the rest of this page with an unnecessarily florid description of something utterly disgusting happening to a well-known public figure – an 850-word fantasy in which, say, David Miliband unexpectedly develops extreme and explosive diarrhoea while entertaining a group of foreign dignitaries in a pod on the London Eye on the hottest day of the year, to take just one example. But I can’t, because a tiny handful of you would complain.
In my view, the delight such an unnecessary and puerile description would give to myself and others far outweighs the pain it would cause these oversensitive life-spoiling idiots. The offended people.
I hate offended people. They come in two flavours – huffy and whiny – and it’s hard to know which is worst. The huffy ones are self-important, narcissistic authoritarians in love with the sound of their own booming disapproval, while the whiny, sparrowlike ones are so annoying and sickly and ill-equipped for life on Earth you just want to smack them round the head until they stop crying and grow up. Combined, they’re the very worst people on the planet – 20 times worse than child molesters, and I say that not because it’s true (it isn’t), but because it’ll upset them unnecessarily, and these readers deserve to be upset unnecessarily, morning, noon and night, every sodding day, for the rest of their wheedling lives.
Note I used the word “sodding” there, because even though every single one of you knows precisely what word I meant to use, I’m not allowed to use it in print in case the whiny/huffy Axis of Feeble decides to piddle its pants with dismay at the sight of a commonplace assembly of letters. And they must be appeased at all times.
What these nitpicky, sexless complainists fail to realise is that sweary tastelessness is a celebration of life, as soaring and majestic as a gospel choir in full flow, and no amount of tedious squeamishness can alter that. Potentially offended reader – you are the offence. In fact you’re a four-letter word beginning with “c” and ending in “t”. Yes. That’s right. You’re an absolute clot.