Our kids bring permission slips home for all sorts of things, and sometimes we really don’t even bother to read them before penning our name and moving on – but thank goodness Daily Show writer Daniel Radosh makes a habit of reading what he’s signing, especially when it comes from his son, Milo.
The teen needed signed permission to read Fahrenheit 451 as part of his book club. One of the most divisive and important books of the 20th century, the novel takes a hard look at government censorship in the wake of the Nazis, Stalin, and McCarthyism…and the irony was just too much for Radosh to pass up.
So, he sent this response back with the slip:
“I love this letter! What a wonderful way to introduce students to the theme of Fahrenheit 451 that books are so dangerous that the institutions of society—schools and parents—might be willing to team up against children to prevent them from reading one. It’s easy enough to read the book and say, ‘This is crazy. It could never really happen,’ but pretending to present students at the start with what seems like a totally reasonable ‘first step’ is a really immersive way to teach them how insidious censorship can be. I’m sure that when the book club is over and the students realize the true intent of this letter they’ll be shocked at how many of them accepted it as an actual permission slip. In addition, Milo’s concern that allowing me to add this note will make him stand out as a troublemaker really brings home why most of the characters find it easier to accept the world they live in rather than challenge it. I assured him that his teacher would have his back.”
This is completely hilarious, but also insightful and spot-on. I can only assume that one day Milo will look back and laugh about how smart his dad was (is) and at himself for being such a typically embarrassed teen.