Tan update

by Henry on April 21, 2006

Via reader Joe, Ben and Jerry’s have done more than Winston Churchill ever did; they’ve apologized for the Black and Tans.

DUBLIN – Ice cream makers Ben & Jerry’s have apologized for causing offense by calling a new flavor “Black & Tan” — the nickname of a notoriously violent British militia that operated during Ireland’s war of independence. The ice cream, available only in the United States, is based on an ale and stout drink of the same name. “Any reference on our part to the British Army unit was absolutely unintentional and no ill-will was ever intended,” said a Ben & Jerry’s spokesman. “Ben & Jerry’s was built on the philosophies of peace and love,” he added.

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Crooked Timber » » What would we have done?
04.27.06 at 9:53 am

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1

rilkefan 04.22.06 at 12:16 am

Is this something I should be aware of when ordering a drink in an Irish pub?

2

Antipholus Papps 04.22.06 at 4:05 am

That’s hilarious!

3

derrida derider 04.22.06 at 4:07 am

Bloody gutless wonders.

4

Brett Bellmore 04.22.06 at 7:36 am

If there was a beverage by the same name, why would it even occur to somebody to suppose that the name of a foodstuf was a reference to a military unit?

Yup, gutless wonders. Some people just go around looking for reasons to be offended. They should be ignored, or if that’s not possible, ridiculed. In fact, “a deep respect for human beings” pretty much demands telling such people to bugger off. Otherwise you’re implying that they’re such morons they can’t understand why they’re wrong to complain.

5

fargo north, decoder 04.22.06 at 8:26 am

C’mon, fellas, why so defensive? And why so old school? Hasn’t criticism of Empire long since moved on from handwringing over violent encounters between crudely posited binaries to ambivalent critique of shifting sites of cross-pollination and hybridity in which we all–children of Empire–find ourselves continuously complicit?

Enough foolishness. Check this: In the States, in the nineteenth (and maybe earlier?) century a Black and Tan was a bar where black men could hook up with white women. Possibly the original was 153 Bleecker Street in the Village, which was actually named the Black and Tan; I don’t know what’s at the address nowadays, but you can read about it in Herbert Asbury’s _Gangs of New York_. Legend has it that a couple of spots that are still open in the Village became established this way, catering largely to sailors; I think maybe the Ear Inn on Spring might have been one of them and the others are probably disguised these days as superficially old-school but actually Johnny-come-lately Irish pubs.

Isn’t that much better? Black and Tan: How’s that for peace and love (not to mention profit)?

6

Daniel 04.22.06 at 8:31 am

apparently “Khmer Rougeberry” and “The Passionfruit Of The Christ” have been dropped from the development schedule too.

7

dearieme 04.22.06 at 9:17 am

All rather odd: what were the Black-and-Tans but an earlier manifestation of a War on Terror?

8

Donald Johnson 04.22.06 at 9:32 am

I thought the apology was kinda goofy while others upthread seem to think it shows their lack of manly fortitude. Perhaps if Ben and Jerry’s launched a preemptive invasion of Ireland they could regain the respect of Brett and derrida. A small price to pay–they should go for it.

9

otto 04.22.06 at 10:01 am

WSC didn’t apologise for the Black and Tans: but he did prevent the Nazis making Ireland a client state by keeping the UK in the war. So I think he nets out ahead in his contributions to Irish freedom.

10

Jake 04.22.06 at 2:13 pm

Perhaps it was all exacerbated by their using “Croppies Lie Down” for the theme song to their website.

11

tom 04.22.06 at 3:04 pm

A few years ago the Guinness(USA) people had no problem marketing a Black & Tan “kit” comprising six bottles of Guinness, six of Bass, and a little plastic spoon to pour the Guiness over to get whatever the correct effect is. I still have a couple of the spoons.

12

KCinDC 04.22.06 at 6:15 pm

Tom, the effect is just a layering. There’s a photo (and more info) on Wikipedia.

13

nick s 04.22.06 at 6:47 pm

Some people just go around looking for reasons to be offended.

Oh, go and have a pint of Old Gun Owners Are Psychopaths. Very hoppy, with a nice malt finish.

14

jamesonandwater 04.22.06 at 6:48 pm

Ugh, another vote for gutless nonsense; were any real Irish people really offended by an ice cream flavour?

15

Quo Vadis 04.22.06 at 7:34 pm

This is actually very interesting from a marketing perspective. Previously one didn’t have to worry about the global market impact of local marketing programs because people in other markets would be unlikely to learn of them.

I suspect that unless this was an intentional effort by someone with media access to discredit B&J (which seems highly unlikely), this may be another consequence of the informal globalization of information via the Internet.

16

Jon H 04.22.06 at 8:10 pm

In that case, I doubt they’ll be putting out an omega-3-enriched herbally oriented organic ice cream called Rape Swirl.

17

Matt Weiner 04.22.06 at 10:56 pm

Introducing it for St. Patrick’s Day does seem remarkably clueless.

18

mykej 04.23.06 at 3:14 am

Next thing you know they’ll drop Ku Klux Kream.

19

EWI 04.23.06 at 8:21 am

WSC didn’t apologise for the Black and Tans: but he did prevent the Nazis making Ireland a client state by keeping the UK in the war. So I think he nets out ahead in his contributions to Irish freedom.

Er, Churchill had to be talked out of invading Ireland during the war (another scheme was a plan to gas the east coast of Ireland in the event of a German invasion).

So no, he doesn’t “net[] out ahead”.

20

Iron Lungfish 04.23.06 at 12:04 pm

Yup, gutless wonders. Some people just go around looking for reasons to be offended.

Some people go so far as to get all offended at other people for trying not to offend other people, which is just really pathetic.

21

otto 04.23.06 at 12:08 pm

Even if he had indeed ordered the invasion of Ireland, WSC would still have netted out ahead on Irish freedom, just as if UK had invaded Norway before the Germans (they tried to), WSC would still have netted out far ahead in terms of his contribution to Norwegian freedom. Compared to keeping the UK in the war in 1940, all of these considerations are very secondary.

22

josh 04.23.06 at 4:23 pm

So, how do they deal with the problem of Orange (TM) Shops in Ireland?

23

Cryptic Ned 04.23.06 at 4:37 pm

Introducing it for St. Patrick’s Day does seem remarkably clueless.

Why would that be, if Ben & Jerry’s (like almost all Americans) had never heard of the Black & Tan militia?

To us, Black & Tan refers to the combination of stout and ale. Stout is synonymous with Guinness, and Guinness is synonymous with Irish beer. Therefore, St. Patrick’s day is by far the best day to introduce the new Irish beer-flavored ice cream.

24

engels 04.23.06 at 5:55 pm

I don’t think pleading ignorance works as a defence against charges of cluelessness.

25

Cryptic Ned 04.23.06 at 6:52 pm

I don’t think pleading ignorance works as a defence against charges of cluelessness.

Okay, then introducing it for St. Patrick’s Day is no less clueless than introducing it for any other day.

26

Daniel 04.24.06 at 1:37 am

were any real Irish people really offended by an ice cream flavour?

Henry and Kieran are both Irish and AFAICT real.

27

otto 04.24.06 at 6:55 am

We’re all Irish, of course.

28

James Wimberley 04.24.06 at 12:03 pm

Now Ben and Jerry’s should apologise to the British Army. The Black and Tans were a police militia, set up by the Royal Irish Constabulary.

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