June 29, 2009

Should the World Cup Ban Those Horns?: The Confederations Cup was a tuneup for next year's World Cup, but the tune of the vuvezela horns -- plastic trumpets played incessantly during matches by South African fans -- are striking a sour note with some people. "One vuvuzela -- a loud, tuneless blast -- sounds something like a foghorn. But a stadium full of vuvuzelas, all tooting simultaneously, is either a most exhilarating and exciting sound or a noise so irritating that it borders on being painful, depending on the listener," writes the Los Angeles Times. "It's been compared to a deafening swarm of wasps. Or a herd of flatulent elephants." The horns originated with a Chinese women's basketball team, according to a manufacturer that proclaims, "You only hate them if you don't have one."

posted by rcade to soccer at 01:30 PM - 17 comments

Yes !

posted by tommytrump at 02:15 PM on June 29

No. It's part of the thing. You ban those, then what? No singing. No applause etc...

Nah, fuck it, it adds to the spectacle.

posted by Drood at 02:42 PM on June 29

Ban the vuvuzela, but allow any other musical instrument in. It sounds unfair, but vuvuzelas suck. Vuvuzelas don't add to the spectacle, they replace it with lame.

posted by Aardhart at 02:46 PM on June 29

While watching the game yesterday, my wife made me mute the TV because of the incessant buzzing in the background. She said that even after it was muted, she could still hear the buzzing.

posted by holden at 02:58 PM on June 29

I'd read the stories and thought 'what's the big deal', but having just watched the video - ban ban ban. There's nothing musical or cultural about playing a game in a beehive.

posted by kokaku at 03:40 PM on June 29

At times I found it hard to hear the announcers over the sound of those things. So I say keep 'em.

(Kidding. They suck. And banning them is nothing like banning applause.)

posted by inigo2 at 03:51 PM on June 29

I made it my ringtone.

posted by smithnyiu at 03:52 PM on June 29

Ban them? No, then you'd have to ban others like the English guy with the trumpet who plays the theme from the Great Escape for 90 minutes.

Provided England qualify. It's still annoying, but he's classically trained, you know.

posted by owlhouse at 05:18 PM on June 29

Hell, no, the fans have a right to have fun. You want quiet, play in an empty stadium!

posted by jjzucal at 06:27 PM on June 29

The noise is insufferable on TV, but that shouldn't be the deciding factor - if they add something to the live experience then they should stay, but if they're as irritating in the stadium (and I can't see how they wouldn't be even worse live than they are on TV) then ban them.

Having said that, it's an African world cup and from what I've seen of the African Nations Cup in past years, African supporters seem to love the incessant noise.

posted by JJ at 07:02 PM on June 29

They can ban the vuvuzelas for being annoying right after they ban Tommy Smyth.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 07:22 PM on June 29

I think they'd be crazy not to ban them, with the exception of games where South Africa is playing. It's bad TV. You can't hear the crowd react to anything. Even on goals the horns drown out the cheers within seconds. Part of what makes the World Cup so great is the response from the crowds.

posted by rcade at 07:36 PM on June 29

Can anyone argue in favor of the vuvuzela without using a slippery slope argument?

If they ban the vuvuzela, they will ban whistles, megaphones, boom box stereos, and my bitchin' Camero with the best sound system you'll ever see! No one will be allowed to clap or cheer. All the spectators will have to where suits and ties and speak in a whisper, and only at halftime. The stadiums would have 20,000 hall monitors and only 12,000 soccer fans.

Ban the vuvuzela! The vuvuzela creates soccer atmosphere like microphone feedback buzzing creates music. A little bit is fine (I love Nirvana, for example), but you can't have 90 minutes of nothing but that shit without rhythm or melody and call it a double album.

No one wants to ban fun. No one wants to ban noise. Banning the vuvuzela would make the games funner to watch at home and in person. If you've ever been to a hockey game at the old Chicago Stadium, a football game at the Big House, or an important soccer game anywhere, you should be able to understand that games can be loud and fun without vuvuzelas.

There is not a meaningful tradition of vuvuzelas. They were pushed at soccer games in the USA in the early 90s in ignorant efforts to create soccer atmosphere. Now, they aren't around and US soccer crowds are enthusiastic and fun, with most MLS games having many supporters singing and chanting throughout the game. The OP article says that they weren't used in South Africa until a decade ago.

If the South Africans truly love them, let them in for the games with South Africa. But if Brazil is playing South Korea, I'd like to hear the Samba drums and Korean chants.

If you can't understand that it is possible to ban vuvuzelas without banning everything else, I don't know what to say to you. You really do not have anything to add to this thread.

posted by Aardhart at 07:55 PM on June 29

Whether or not the spectators "should" have them to enjoy the game, TV viewers should not be accosted by the noise. TV audio engineers ADD background sound to the telecast to give viewers the feeling of being at the game. While it would be awfully sterile to have only the announcers voices and no background sound, the balance could be adjusted. There's no reason why the TV audio engineers couldn't compensate for the annoying buzz. Even creating a digitial filter would not be all that difficult. The broadcasters are trying to give us the feeling of being at the game, but it the constant buzzing adds nothing to the viewers experience.

It's like a rock concert broadcast. If you attend the live event, you're likely to have a drunk guy singing off key at the top of his lungs in the row behind you. On TV, audio engineers make sure the the concert audience is at best a dull roar of applause between songs.

posted by wmorrison27 at 09:19 PM on June 29

wmorrison27 is thinking what I am. The TV tech geeks have 12 months to figure this out, that should be enough time.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:30 PM on June 29

She said that even after it was muted, she could still hear the buzzing.

Yes. That's the second-worst part. The worst part is it made me realize . . .

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

W.B. Yeats was an idiot.

posted by yerfatma at 02:03 PM on June 30

Oh stop crying people, I didn't hear anyone complain about the excessive noise when the damn Thunder Sticks where brought into the fold in basketball games and those things are as annoying. The vuvuzela actually made the Brazil sqaud sound like they were attacking the US in swarms, killer bees style. Buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

posted by BornIcon at 10:52 AM on July 01

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