Thursday, May 19, 2005

Nooyi's finger

I have no idea why Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo's President and CFO, thought of saying this to the graduating class of Columbia University's business school:

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 finger -- but, instead, scratching our nose and sending a far different signal.
We can do better. We should do better. With your help, with your empathy, with your positive intent as representatives of the U.S. in global business, we will do better. Now, as never before, it's important that we give the world a hand ... not the finger.

Well, guess what she got from the rabid right wing bloggers? The middle finger, of course! Check out this silly thing which was voted the most powerful blog in the US.

Now, Nooyi has issued a statement. Economic Times did a story today. Rashmi Bansal thinks that Nooyi just made a bad judgement.

BTW, read this (via Crooked Timber) about the same silly thing (referred to above) expressing its agreement with the statement "had Britain had the courage to face down Gandhi and his rabble a few years longer, the tragedy that was the partititon of India might have been avoided". We really ought to be worried when this silliest thing is considered to be the most powerful blog in the longest and most central finger in the world.


  1. Anonymous said...

    I had read about this in ET yesterday and remember thinking what a major blooper on Nooyi's part. Basically the ET article stops where your post begins. So is the Indian pink paper any more socially aware and responsible than rabid, rigth-wing blogs? ToI is a disgusting group as a whole.

  2. Anonymous said...


    Nooyi's talk, and the reaction to it are both pretty amazing, aren't they?

    Here's an interesting aside: Powerline complained that the Nooyi incident (and the rabid right's response) made it to ToI, but not NYTimes. Liberal Media Bias!

    I think their praise for ToI alone is a good reason for boycotting it! However, it would put us in the same leage as people like Powerline. Moreover, I like some columnists there (Swaminathan Aiyar, for example), so I will stick with them for a while. May be we should try to get Aiyar to blog!