Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Horn Of South Africa Drones On

I’m not a soccer fan, but I enjoy watching the USA play in the World Cup. The tie with England, I’m told, is as good as a win. But watching the telecast was a distinctly unpleasant experience. All you could hear was those damnable 3-foot-long plastic trumpets constantly blaring.

They’re called vuvuzela horns, and they’ve generated more talk than anything else in the first few days of competition in the World Cup. But you’d better get used to the constant din if you’re going to watch the Cup….they’re here to stay.

There was some talk over the weekend of banning the noisemakers, with complaints coming from all quarters: players, coaches, broadcasters, fans. But the South Africans love their vuvuzela horns, and even though World Cup CEO Danny Jordaan first gave hints that he might abolish them, yesterday he made it clear he won’t.

If you’re not familiar with the din and drone of these plastic noisemakers, try to imagine the sound a swarm of 20 million bees would make.

A World Cup committee member says the vuvuzela horn is ingrained in the culture of South Africa, and harkens back to tribal days when horns were used by the elders to call the tribe to a meeting. So, the "horn of South Africa" is made of plastic? Please.

That’s all well and good, say many of the other 31 nations participating in the Cup, who cite the 80-year history of the World Cup and claim they deserve better treatment from the home nation, and complain on behalf of the billions of people who are watching the games on TV.

All you can hear is those damnable horns.

The World Cup committee admits the vuvuzela horns are a “love it or hate it” phenomenon, but Monday made it clear they’re here to stay for the duration of the games.

So, Friday morning, when the US plays its next match against Slovenia, I’ll have the TV on here in my office at home, but as usual, the sound will be muted.

And that will be a good thing.

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