Blowhards and blow horns

Oh those vuvuzelas. Love them or hate them. Right now, they rule.

Before the FIFA World Cup began this year in South Africa, I wonder how many people knew about the vuvuzela – other than world soccer (football) fans. Did you?

What it is

Traditionally made of horn, the vuvuzela is now a two-foot long plastic horn producing an incredibly loud, high-decibel, monotone sound. It is a symbol of South African soccer where the sound supposedly reflects the enthusiasm of team supporters.

viral vuvuzela, 2010 World Cup, football fans, social media loves the vuvuezela, MLB bans the vuvuezela

The intensity of that sound caught the attention of the global soccer community during the 2009 FIFA Cup. Now, the vuvuzela is at the center of the world’s attention. And not in a good way.

The best rivalries usually involve teams: England v USA or Spain v Portugal. That’s playtime next to this brouhaha: the vuvuzela vs the world. FIFA, the governing body, was under tremendous pressure to ban the vuvuzela from the World Cup altogether. In the end, FIFA ruled that it would be improper to ban the horn in its own country. World – meet the vuvuzela.

Most players dislike them. Broadcasters scream for their removal. And, at nearly 127 decibels, referees can’t be heard on the pitch.

Outta here

Around the world, anyone owning a vuvuzela and looking to share the experience with others better think again.

  • In Newcastle, England, a premier hotel chain banned them.
  • The officials who run Wimbledon said no thanks.
  • The Florida Marlins gave away vuvuzela-like horns, to the chagrin of everyone on the baseball field.
  • We don‘t think so, said the NY Yankees, seeing a pattern, and enforced a ban on them immediately.
  • All of Major League Baseball then followed with a vuvuzela ban.

Without mincing words, Time Magazine went right for the jugular and published “World Cup: 5 more reasons to hate vuvuzelas.” Not feeling the love there either.

Toot toot

Yet this detestable piece of plastic generated booming sales in overseas stores, and online sales everywhere else. What was this vuvuzela phenom? Vuvuzela became the ‘first-ever’ World Cup trending topic on Twitter. Hundreds of vuvuzela pages, both pro and con, were created on Facebook. YouTube’s latest hoax trumpeted the addition of a dedicated vuvuzela button. (Not.)

Welcome to Life 2.0 in a socially networked world. Not to worry, a couple more weeks and the global love will be gone.

Image and sound file from Wikimedia Commons: The files are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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