As they say, American as apple pie. Applesauce, apple cake, apple pancakes, apple-slaw, apples in smoothies, apple cider, and just plain yummy crunchy, juicy apples to eat. An abundance of apples has blessed our house thanks to many young hands from Saint Genevieve’s Catholic Church that picked hundreds of pounds of Honey Crisps from an orchard last week.
Hundreds were donated to nearby charities and a few extra boxes ended up with Dennis and Jo Doyle and Mary Bean’s next door, and we were lucky recipients. Thanks! Apples-to-neighbors, what could be more American than that?
In his pivotal novel, “The Botany of Desire,” Michael Pollan explains the historical heritage of the apple, whose origin is genetically traced to Kazakhstan. He also provides an interpretation of the true story of Johnny Appleseed. Most notably, that despite the folklore, the original apples that John Chapman (Appleseed) spread across the American frontier, were not eating apples, but prized for the hard cider they produced. Additionally, historians note that his image as a jolly, poor wanderer may be an embellishment, a tall tale from the drink Americans chose to imbibe.
A pious and humble character we are told, but Mr. Chapman was an astute land baron, claiming homesteads by planting trees wherever he went. And then promptly selling them off once the trees began producing. He accumulated significant holdings. So, while we espouse his virtuous character as a charitable harbinger of juicy delight and piety, he was a true entrepreneur, a capitalist at heart, dressed in tattered clothes. What could be more American than that?
Speaking of American, the Broadway release of “Hamilton” to Disney + viewers in July sparked a fever that has spread faster than the coronavirus (unless you are an 18-year-old on a college campus — I would venture to believe COVID-19 is more widespread than streaming parties of “Hamilton”). Seems like everyone I talk to (which has shrunk to about five people beyond my neighborhood, given my quarantine habits) is talking or singing about “Hamilton.”
The “Hamilton” fever finally struck this house Friday night after nearly a week of troubleshooting why Disney+ wouldn’t work on our “Smart TV.” Apparently, LG TVs made prior to 2016 are not “smart” enough for Disney+. So, here we are, owners of a huge consumer product — a digital streaming TV that is less than 5 years old and it needs to be replaced because the software cannot be updated to stream the newest digital channels coming online. What could be more American than that?
Remember when you could buy a TV and it would last like 30 years? Or a vacuum and never replace it? Or a washing machine and dryer and it outlived your mortgage? This no longer holds. Fourteen years a homeowner, we are on round two of all the above. As technology consumers, we have been left absolutely prey to a predatory system whose hunger will never be satisfied. I know what you’re saying, “just opt out, unplug, go offline.” In theory, I like that idea, and I dream about a tech-free existence. But then, I have two boys while Disney+ has Star Wars and Marvel. I can’t possibly compete with Baby Yoda and Black Panther. What could be more American than that?