By Melanie Phillips, March 12, 2009
Irony and satire are risky literary devices. As I know to my cost, some people always fail to get the joke by taking such conceits literally. In these dangerously discombobulated times, when the giving of offence to certain minority groups can be a capital offence, such a sense of humour failure can cost you dear.
The latest victim of this syndrome is the playwright Richard Bean, whose play at the National Theatre, England People Very Nice, received rave reviews — and then was denounced as “racist”.