Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Giving the FInger

Power Line has been all over the remarks by Indra Nooyi, president and CFO of PepsiCo, at the Columbia Business School graduation.

Nooyi likened the globe to the human hand with Asia as the thumb, Africa as the pinky finger, etc. The United States was represented by the middle finger. Sayeth Nooyi:
However, if used inappropriately--just like the U.S. itself--the middle finger can convey a negative message and get us in trouble. You know what I’m talking about. In fact, I suspect you’re hoping that I’ll demonstrate what I mean. And trust me, I’m not looking for volunteers to model.

Discretion being the better part of valor ... I think I’ll pass.

What is most crucial to my analogy of the five fingers as the five major continents, is that each of us in the U.S. – the long middle finger – must be careful that when we extend our arm in either a business or political sense, we take pains to assure we are giving a hand ... not the finger. Sometimes this is very difficult. Because the U.S. – the middle finger – sticks out so much, we can send the wrong message unintentionally.

Unfortunately, I think this is how the rest of the world looks at the U.S. right now. Not as part of the hand – giving strength and purpose to the rest of the fingers – but, instead, scratching our nose and sending a far different signal.

Makes me proud to be a Coke drinker.

9 comments:

Lawjedi said...

My family hates Pepsi anyway. This only makes our love for Coke more salient.

Fersboo said...

This just confirms my impression of them. I was a tax consultant for them a few years ago and felt pity for their employees. Their only saving grace that kept me there for 3 months was their serving Taco Bell 3 days a week in their cafeteria at cheap prices.

Sarah said...

Darn it! Diet Pepsi with lime is really, really good. Now it's ruined for me.

arrScott said...

What, exactly, is so bothersome? Most of the people in the world who think about the United States do think of us about like Nooyi describes. That's just a fact, as anyone who has travelled or lived abroad recently can confirm.

As to the question of the prominence of the United States being something that can rebound to our disfavor if we are not especially careful, well, heck, that's what John Winthrop was saying when he described the New World as a "city on a hill." Because of our prominence, there would be no hiding our sins and failures.

for wee must Consider that wee shall be as a Citty upon a Hill, the eies of all people are uppon us; soe that if wee shall deale falsely with our god in this worke wee have undertaken and soe cause him to withdrawe his present help from us, wee shall be made a story and a byword through the world, wee shall open the mouthes of enemies to speake evill of the wayes of god and all professours for Gods sake; wee shall shame the faces of many of gods worthy servants, and cause theire prayers to be turned into Cursses upon us

Which is pretty much a literate way of saying what Nooyi's half-assed simile was trying to get across.

Does anyone doubt that it is easy for the United States unintentionally to send the wrong messages with its actions? Does anyone doubt that much of the world's population feels like America is giving it the finger? No, no reasonable person can doubt either proposition. So what, then, is the problem here?

louielouie said...

off topic post:
you mean the finger......

http://www.francesucks.com/

N.S.T said...

After reading about this on Powerline, I initially had the same reaction as you did, Jonathan, that I was proud to be a Coke man born and raised. HowEva-- as a certain philadelphia-born basketball blowhard(cough...Screamin' A. Smith...cough) might say-- it isn't as if Coke has a perfect history of standing for things which sit well with me. If I'm not mistaken, Ty Cobb was one of their very first investors, and we all know what kind of guy Ty Cobb was. And there is also, of course, the whole new coke thing...

That Dude said...

N.S.T.,
Don't put Screamin' A Smith on Philly. Yes he is a columnist for the Inky, but he is a NY'er, not a Philly guy.

N.S.T said...

My bad Philly dude. Meant no disrespect whatsoever to ur city. Should've checked my facts.

sanpedrojoe1 said...

Well, we now have atop poped un-cola.