Friday, May 20, 2005

Pepsi schmepsi

What ever happened to the Pepsi generation? Did they all join, or does Pepsi simply imagine so? The President and CFO of Pepsi recently made a commencement address at Columbia Business school. And stirred up a mess that reminds me of when, as kids, we would shake up a warm Pepsi and spray it on each other.

She then defended her remarks. And this is when the Pepsi really goes flat. To my reading, she only dug the hole deeper. After reading her predictably wimpy non-apology, I felt compelled to respond.

Here is the email I sent to Pepsi's Board of Directors. I might have sent it to someone else, but this is the only email address I could find.


I'm sure you have been inundated with comments regarding Ms. Nooyi's recent public address at Columbia Business School's commencement ceremony. Please bear with my own observations.

I read Ms. Nooyi's public statement regarding the negative reaction to her speech, and find myself ever more dismayed. She seems shocked at the reaction, assuring us she only means the best for America. Indeed.

I read the speech text posted on the Pepsi web site. The offending text is this:

"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."

In her reply, she seems to suggest she only meant to say the middle finger represents America's " of importance in the world", and to emphasize America's leadership position. In her original speech, she offers anecdotes of Americans overseas being boorish and insensitive. She fails in her published defense to recognize her own obvious reference to America's role as representative of a vulgar gesture-- a point she emphasized in her original remarks.

Does she not comprehend her own words? How a predictably one-sided description of America offends those who see their country as the historic deliverer of freedom and prosperity to the rest of the world? We are "the finger"?

The idea she would deny the obvious vulgar and insulting intent of her own remarks is further insulting to anyone who reads plain English. "You know what I’m talking about", to use Ms. Nooyi's own words. Better that she simply remain silent than to affront us with this non-apologetic "regret" and denial.

Regret just means you are sorry you got caught.

No one doubts Ms. Nooyi is patriotic. That is not the point. It seems whenever someone espouses a Leftist or equally idiotic-- or simply mindlessly anti-American-- sentiment, and are criticized for such remarks, they claim either they are being censored or accused of being unpatriotic.

No, she is simply being criticized. I certainly don't have a reason to believe Ms. Nooyi is unpatriotic, but it seems obvious she at least had a foolish moment. And her defense of her Columbia speech only assures us she is still clueless as to why others are offended.

I do believe, when an official screws up, they ought to at least make their apology real and sincere. Or just shut up altogether.

And I'll start buying Pepsi products again when Pepsi stops selling this bullshit.

Roger Snowden

Besides, that stuff is bad for you anyway.

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