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The term knuckleball is borrowed from the American sport of Baseball, in which it refers to a pitch that can be difficult to hit precisely because the ball does not spin. According to a physics lecture on a University of Texas web site,

"Probably the most entertaining pitch in baseball is the so-called 'knuckleball.' Unlike the other types of pitch we have encountered, knuckleballs are low speed pitches (typically, 65mph) in which the ball is purposely thrown with as little spin as possible. It turns out that knuckleballs are hard to hit because they have unstable trajectories which shift from side to side in a highly unpredictable manner."[1]

Similarly, a rhetorical "knuckleballer" disarmingly pitches a proposition without trying to "spin away" any of its negative aspects, while offering an alternative, more positive interpretation and appealing to one's reluctance to think of oneself as cynical or condemning.


The writer of this conclusion to an online opinion piece is credited as a research analyst for a London-based market research firm (which, however, does not list Coca-Cola as a client on its web site):

"In light of these issues [including allegations of environmental degradation and an alleged sexual-harassment case involving a senior company executive and a former Miss Universe with whom the company had had a product-endorsement contract], Coca-Cola's decision to create an advisory board was an interesting move. From a cynic's standpoint, it could be argued that the company's decision to create an advisory council and then populate it with high-profile figures immediately affords it some protection from criticism, and gives it easy access to the country's decision-makers -- a useful asset in the face of social or legal action. Furthermore, it provides Coca-Cola with the opportunity to create a more easily identifiable Indian brand, not unlike Hindustan Lever, and as such reduce the propensity for its market to regard it as 'foreign'."

But do not judge Coca-Cola too harshly just yet:

"Less cynically, the creation of an advisory council is something of a precedent. This is the first such move by a multinational operating in India, and may demonstrate a realization that foreign multinationals need to be more attentive to local concerns and show greater awareness of social responsibility if they are ultimately to succeed in the local marketplace."[2]

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