Friday, April 21, 2006

The Land Of Ben And Jerry's Black & Tan- A Plastic Paddy's Paradise

Plenty has been said in recent days about the new Ben & Jerry's Black & Tan ice-cream, but perhaps what ought to be more 'offensive' to the Irish is the cringeworthy press release which accompanied its launch.

Clearly unaware of the meaning of the term in Ireland, the company ironically dressed the product up as some sort of Irish treat, presumably due to the stout its taste seeks to emulate.

For example, the headline of the press release reads: "Erin Go Bragh! Taste What's on Tap at Ben & Jerry's - Toast St. Patrick's Day with New Black & Tan Ice Cream."

Such phraseology is enough to strike a chord of fear in any Irishperson!

The quality piece of work then goes on to read: "If you are a beer aficionado, then Black & Tan is for you. And even if your name isn't Paddy O'Reilly, we suspect that once you've tasted the way we've blended real cream stout ice cream with a whirl of dark chocolate, you'll be dancing a jig."

Christ Almighty. After decades of our politicians courting their American counterparts, and millions being spent by Bord Fáilte, is this still what Americans think of us?!

It can be understood that they may have overlooked the Black and Tan analogy, but surely there must be no excuse for the stereotyping of the Irish as green-waistcoated leprechauns. Ok, maybe down the country such descriptions may be accurate, but most of us have cleaned the cowdung from our shoes and now work in things called 'buildings'.


Madradin Ruad said...

It is indeed cringeworthy - but some of the blame belongs with our media and our politicians who ham it up dreadfully when across the pond. Then - to be controversial - look at what we do when it suits us - that nonsense on St Patrick's day, Irish traditional music has been mangled horrbly and the horrors of the barbi doll syndrome in Irish dancing is a disgrace. Blech!

El Matador said...

"horrors of the barbi doll syndrome"

I know! Have you seen the state of those children with the big curly wigs and the half a bag of cement/ makeup slapped on their faces?! What exactly has that got to do with Irish culture? It's just tacky and detracts from the skill needed to perform good Irish dancing. I suppose we can hardly blame Ben & Jerry!

Madradin Ruad said...

I find the dancing thing quite sinister
el matador. There's a sexual element that should be kicked into touch.

El Matador said...

There's nothing wrong with children taking part in Irish dancing per se- it's a good pastime. But it's the whole American Beauty Queen element to it which I find worrying.

Madradin Ruad said...

Yes - that's the part I find sinister.

El Matador said...

I'm heading out to the pub later- going to get a black and tan to see what all the fuss is about. Of course, I'll just ask for it in terms of its constituent parts, as opposed to using the 'B & T' phrase ;)

jimmy cleveland said...

I'm headed to the local pub later, too -- I'll order a few black & tans, order a few Irish car bombs, plug the juke with insipid U2 songs, and drink till the Irish-American princesses look good. Then, on my walk home, I'll drape myself in one of the many tricolors that adorn my block, and puke. Thank God it's Friday.

El Matador said...

A bit like a night out in the Holylands then. Classy ;)

Madradin Ruad said...

Must admit - it was common enough to hear it ordered in London Pubs when I was there in the 90s - including "Irish" bars I frequented in Kilburn and the Cricklewood broadway - and I never heard anybody take offence. Mind you, plastic paddies were thin on the ground ;)

Aileen said...

El Mat

You can't make comments about Plastic Paddies and not attract Mad's attention ;o).

That American Beauty Queen thing with children very very disturbing. I think that that is why so many of were prepared to beleive that JonBennet Ramsey was murdered by her parents, which is now seems not to be the case. Are the americans just more nieve than we are and they do not get the shiver of disgust at what seems to us to be the sexualisation of children.

Q said...

Please refrain from considering Americans as one group. We are not a homogenous lump of humanity without culture, sense or manners. If you are angry/annoyed about being stereotyped (and, I would agree you should be), don't express yourself in stereotypes of others.
In answer to Aileen, we are not all naive and most of us are just as disgusted as any sensible person would be by the sexualisation of children in its many guises -- be it beauty pageants for children or the design of certain toys like the Bratz dolls.