“Indian-American corporate honcho Indra Nooyi” is how “Indians Abroad” describes the next CEO of US multinational PepsiCo. We non-hyphenated Americans just know her as one of the most powerful “middle-fingered“ women in America.
It’s time; time to switch back to Coca-Cola, or else, with each swallow, be haunted by Indra Nooyi’s description of you, Mr. and Ms. American imbiber of her cola drink, as “the long middle finger.”
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.
It has been more than a year since Ms. Nooyi, in a carefully constructed speech, came up with the middle finger analogy to describe Americans. Soon afterwards, she and her husband were honored guests of the Bushes: Guess Who Came to Supper – At the White House? At that time an American military officer serving in Baghad was so offended that he wrote the following to PepsiCo:
I found Ms. Nooyi’s graduation comments offensive, not to mention off-base, because the central theme of her speech was that America is, in essence, “flipping off the world.”
In the meantime, I will stop consuming PepsiCo products and encourage others to do the same. Please remember, it is this country, and the brave men and women who defend it, that provided the free enterprise system that allowed your company to become a global corporate power. I would hope that Pepsi senior executives would show more respect for this great country. Perhaps the troops who enjoy your products would hope so as well. (The Weekly Standard)