Ahh, the Vuvuzela. What a profound choice to be the symbol of this World Cup. When we forget the teams that come 2nd to 32nd we will remember them. Their atonal sound (or b-flat tonal apparently – my wife used her iPhone piano to figure it out, and wikipedia confirms it)drowns out every other memory I have of any on field action in the six games I’ve watched so far.
The wikipedia article is in the throes of comedic vandalism as fans turn to the web to vent. Here’s what was in the description when I visited a few minutes ago:
“Vuvuzelas have been controversial. They have been associated with permanent noise-induced hearing loss, cited as a possible safety risk when spectators cannot hear evacuation announcements, and potentially spread colds and flu viruses on a greater scale than coughing or shouting. Commentators have described the sound as “annoying” and “satanic”  and compared it with “a stampede of noisy elephants,” “a deafening swarm of locusts,” “a goat on the way to slaughter” and “a giant hive full of very angry bees.”.
The sound level of the instrument has been measured at 127 decibels contributing to football matches with dangerously high sound pressure levels for unprotected ears. A new model, however, announced on 14 June 2010, has a modified mouthpiece which is claimed to reduce the volume by 20 dB(A).”
Here is an excerpt of Wikipedia’s description of their sound:
“BBBBBBBZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ”
Some culturally sensitive numbskulls are suggesting that the Vuvuzela is a cultural icon. It’s not. There’s nothing uniquely South African about an annoying plastic trumpet that only plays one note. It’s not old enough to constitute “culture.” Claiming that the Vuvuzela is the epitome of South African culture is the equivalent of claiming Justin Bieber as the pinnacle of US music.
But look out – the vuvuzela has been given out to so many people free of charge that it’s probably going to be making its way back to your home country, where it may invade your favourite sport. If I were Australian Customs I’d be adding them to the dangerous goods list…
What Australia needs for its 2022 World Cup bid is an iconic national instrument that barely anybody plays, that requires little effort to pick up, and that would make an annoying noise if played en masse. I propose the wobble board. It’s cheap, readily adaptable for commercial purposes, and has an element of cultural cringeworthiness attached to it. Rolf Harris could be the face of our bid.
It’s even in our national museum. It’s not some fly-by-night pretender to the cultural crown.