Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury’s popular dystopian novel about book censorship, was written as a response to the paranoid political climate of the McCarthy era. But its message is apparently just as relevant in modern times as when it was first published back in 1953. Some students are still not allowed to read the book without a permission slip from their parents.
Daniel Radosh, a dad and a writer at The Daily Show, was asked to sign a note to permit his son to read the classic novel for his school book club. Apparently over the years parents have been concerned by the light swearing contained in the book (like “hell” and “damn”) and the depictions of Bible burning. But the irony of parents trying to censor a book about book censorship was not lost on Mr. Radosh.
His bread and butter is, of course, irony-spotting as a writer for a topical humor-based news show. So he signed the permission slip and attached his own note, praising the teacher for “immersing” the kids so thoroughly in the world of Fahrenheit 451. Take a look below at his perfect response to the hypocrisy.
“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.“
tfw your kid’s school makes you sign a permission slip so he can read Fahrenheit 451 📚 🔥 pic.twitter.com/t9lmD8vKTu— Daniel Radosh (@danielradosh) October 24, 2016