An American company hops flat-footed all over foreigners’ feelings once again with that charming combination of incredible ignorance and crass insensitivity for which they are justly famed. In this case, however, it is an impeccably Democratic bunch of sanctimonious sandal-wearing hippies who have come a cropper, as Ben & Jerry’s is forced to apologize for their Black and Tan ice cream.
Any American reading this will recognize the reference to a popular combination of stout and pale ale, downed in large quantities in Irish bars across the US. Anyone on the other side of the pond, however, will recognize the nickname of the infamous British militia used against the Irish in the early 1920s to try and suppress the republican revolt that led to independence in 1922.
How the guys who machine-gunned the crowds at Croke Park became a staple of Irish-American pub culture I don’t know, but I have had to warn fellow regulars at my local on several occasions under no circumstances to walk into a bar in Ireland and order a Black and Tan. They tend to file my patient explanations under “quaint local colour” rather than “how not to get my head kicked in”, but they’ve all returned in one piece so far, which is all I ask. After all, some of them owe me money.
Sadly, nobody thought to tell Ben & Jerry’s, perhaps because those insufferably right-on lefties badly need a good kicking. Next time they feel like lecturing the Republicans about foreign policy perhaps they’ll remember this one and keep schtum for a change.
Black and Tan as a drink, by the way, is not bad at all…
Some Black and Tans, yesterday. “Creamy and with a whirl of chocolate”. Yummy!