SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. — In a stunning move from a company known for its liberal politics and opposition to violence, Ben & Jerry's has announced an ice cream flavor in honor of former Secretary of Defense James Mattis as part of its monthly "Flavors of Courage" awards.
"At first I was skeptical of [Mattis]," said Ben & Jerry's CEO Matthew McCarthy at a flavor christening ceremony with Mattis. "I mean, 'It's fun to shoot some people?' Between the Marines and the Trump administration, I thought that was all I needed to hear. The guy's not exactly Wavy Gravy or Wesley Clark."
"But after he came out against someone I disagreed with politically, I started looking at him more carefully. 'Saint Mattis.' 'Mad Dog.' I realized that was just an over-the-top ultra-conservative persona being projected onto him by people who didn't know him at all. The truth is we need more principled liberal military leaders like Tim Mattis!"
"It's Jim, actually, and I've never affiliated with any party," said Mattis, but his words were drowned out by the cheering crowd as McCarthy ate the first spoonful of If You Fudge With Me I'll Kill You Almonds®.
"I wish they'd gone with my initial recommendation for Civil Crunchtrol of the Miliberry," said a visibly tired Mattis. "It was pretty clear the flavor didn't matter as much as the name, so I just dumped some Oreo bits on strawberry and focused on naming it. To be honest, I don't even really like ice cream."
Despite praise from McCarthy, others at Ben & Jerry's say the award would have just gone to someone else with a military background if it hadn't gone to Mattis.
"We've always embraced controversy, and our stance on force was evolving long before now," said Eric Fredette, First Among Equals of Flavor Gurus at Ben & Jerry's. "In the 90s, we read P.J. O'Rourke saying the Marine Corps had promoted more peace than all the Ben & Jerry's ever sold, and we've been trying to disprove that for years."
"We took a look at some of the world's hot spots and quickly realized what they really needed was a Ben & Jerry's," Fredette continued. "We knew we had to get our brand out there. That didn't go as well as we'd hoped, so we started thinking there might at least be a supporting role for the Marine Corps in creating peace."
Fredette is most likely referring to a 2015 incident in which several flavor gurus were sent on a goodwill mission to northeastern Nigeria with hundreds of gallons of Peach In Our Time®.
They were then held at gunpoint and forced to develop the controversial Coco Haram® flavor, a mixture of coconut, peanut butter, pretzel, and chocolate ice cream widely criticized both for being manufactured by captive labor and for being an unimaginative variation on Chubby Hubby®.
"After 2015, we were just looking for a politically acceptable military figure to help us illustrate the idea that sometimes force is justified," said Fredette. "We had a flavor planned to honor President Obama called Cone Strike, but he didn't want to participate."
"We were going to go with Jim Webb after he talked about killing a guy during the debates, but then Trump got elected and that kind of took all our energy for a while. We were almost ready to give up on the project, but then it turned out Mathis was a hardcore liberal this whole time."
"Wait, is it Mathis or Mattis?" asked Fredette. "I've been saying Mathis this whole time."
Still, not everyone is pleased with Mattis. Some conservative Marines have taken the Ben & Jerry's award as evidence that Mattis has betrayed the ideals they previously believed defined him.
"I used to worship General Mattis, but after he came out against someone I agreed with politically, I realized I had just built him up in my mind to fill some kind of emotional need," said LCpl. Colt Becker while deleting a meme depicting Mattis as Siddhartha Buddha saying "If you meet the Buddha on the road, be sure to fucking kill him."
"Man, this is like meeting my real father all over again."
If You Fudge With Me I'll Kill You Almonds® will be available in stores by early July.