Crime, once exposed, has no refuge but in audacity.
— Tacitus, Annals, Book XI Ch. 26
Usually, when characters do something illegal or socially unacceptable, they'll try to be discreet about it, keep their misdeeds small and subtle enough that either no one knows what they've done, or no one cares. Sometimes a character does the exact opposite; take their misdeeds so far over-the-top that there's no way they can't
be noticed and they still get away with it.
The key is to be so
audacious in how you violate the rules (whether they be laws or a moral/ethic code) that no one can believe you did it. If someone tells the police how you tried to stab them with a knife, you'll be arrested. However, if they tell the police how you tried to throw them into a tank full of hammerhead sharks, razor blades, and sulfuric acid; there's good odds the police will just laugh them off and not bother investigating. Alternatively, suppose you’re in a food court and start picking food off people's plates; they'll take their food back and tell you to leave them alone. However, if you dash through the food court with a wheelbarrow, tossing everyone's food into it, yelling, "Quickly! All your food in here! No time to explain!" they might be so flabbergasted by what's happening that they can't bring themselves to stop you. Basically, people have a Weirdness Censor
when it comes to human behavior; since most people follow the rules (or pretend to), someone who breaks the rules with such flagrant abandon is so unusual that people have a hard time accepting that they exist, and will try to rationalize what's happening by assuming that the violator has some sort of exceptional reason for breaking protocol; otherwise, they wouldn't even dare
to be so open about it, right?
This is usually a good source of comedy since it inverts how we normally expect people to behave. Characters who pull it off successfully usually come off as awesome.
Characters who try this and fail often get a brutal This Is Reality
moment, which can make for good Cringe Comedy
They're not Getting Crap Past the Radar
. They're crashing the crap through the front doors and out the back doors of the radar installation in an armored model of the Oscar-Meyer Weinermobile, painted as a penis, with sunglasses-wearing flaming skull decals on every flat surface and a Hieronymus Bosch reproduction on the door, hood-mounted machine guns blazing, Motorhead
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 and Appeal To Audacity
Has nothing to do with using this program
when you're tired of dealing with ProTools or Soundbooth.