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  • Writer's pictureSimon Cadavid

Capitalist Johnny Appleseed

Let's be real: the legend of Johnny Appleseed as it is taught to American youngsters presents him as a damn dirty commie, with his generous, unfiltered spreading of the seeds of socialism throughout America via literal apple seeds. The sensibilities of a modern American audience could use a reimagining of this story, where Johnny buys, tills, and sells tracts of land, enabling other God-fearing freedom-lovers to produce capital and establish a vibrant free market.

In the original story, Johnny Appleseed is a simple man who brings appleseeds along with him in his journey across America, traversing nature and human settlements along the way, planting them in open places in forests, along roadways, and next to rivers and streams (basically, anywhere there was fertile land). He was portrayed as a dreamy wanderer who wanted to create a land with so many apples that none would go hungry. He collected seeds for free from cider mills, and preached God along the way with his trusty Bible at his side at all times. I think there are several issues with this story that could be altered to speak to today's Americans. For one, ever since the post-WWII "Golden Age of Capitalism" throughout the 50s and 60s, people appreciate a story where people work for what they earn and privatize what they earn, giving it away at their discretion and for whatever price they choose. The market decides whether the price is right, so to speak. So instead, it would make sense to have neo-Johnny Appleseed buy tracts of land from their respective owners, work those lands and plant the seeds on them so that he can literally grow his assets, and liquidate his assets by selling them off to other hard-working Americans. In this version of the story, it simultaneously promotes the American values of freedom and individuality, while also deriding socialism, which directly encourages impressionable young children to sit on their behinds and expect government handouts like welfare. Clearly that is disastrous for our economy and therefore our society. It is important, however, that we reboot this classic instead of writing a new story, because it takes an old narrative that every American is familiar with and envisions it in a way that promotes good messages of self-fulfillment and personal responsibility.

One message from the original story of Johnny Appleseed that should be kept in this reimagined story, however, is that he was a God-loving man and preached his message to those who would listen. There are several reasons for this. Aside from the fact that Jesus was anti-socialism (it explicitly says so in the Bible, go read it if you don't believe me), America still has a very large Christian population, and regardless of the future audience-member's religious background, this country was founded upon Judeo-Christian values and that is reflected in such essential documents as those written by the Founding Fathers. This way, the story will not be completely perverted from its original telling that everyone loves and is most familiar with.

Irony aside, I took some liberty with this re-inspiration compared to those we discussed in class, such as Japan limiting discussion of foreign powers in certain stories in order to control information, but I think it gets at the same idea that certain stories will end up reformed based upon what society (and therefore, the government) want to reflect from their values.


Note: If it wasn't clear, this was meant to be vaguely satirical at certain points and written from the perspective of a rather scheming individual who likely has hidden interests.

Another note: I'm not an economics major, so I may have thrown in certain terms incorrectly, although they're mainly there for embellishment.

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4 Comments


jcbarn
jcbarn
Nov 08, 2021

I love your reimagining! I think that the embellishments you did were very tasteful, & did not at all detract from the effectiveness of the pitch. I think the studio executives would be a fool not to produce the story of Commie Appleseed.

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hsheldo
hsheldo
Nov 08, 2021

I really liked the changes you made! The capitalism one fit in perfectly because it is such a large part of our society. Overall great read.

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Arabelle Konrad
Arabelle Konrad
Nov 06, 2021

I thought this was a pretty great read! I especially thought the line, "Jesus was anti-socialism (it explicitly says so in the Bible, go read it if you don't believe me)" was especially hilarious. One thing I would like to mention, though, is that Johnny Appleseed was an actual person, so I think it would have been interesting if his actual life was mentioned in this version of his story. Like, the scheming individual could use Johnny Appleseed's real life as further evidence for his claims, or something like that.

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EB
EB
Nov 08, 2021
Replying to

I need a name for you so you can get participation credit...

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