26 June 2009

OT: Vuvuzela

Please forgive my two non-DCU posts in a row, but you must understand what with the horrible display by our club last weekend and the interesting things happening on the world stage.

I personally don't understand the vuvuzela haters. I guess some people have no ability to filter out these quiet buzzing sounds from the ubiquitous noisemakers in the stands during the Confederations Cup matches. Apparently, they are called vuvuzelas. I want one.

From the very first seconds of the very first Confederations Cup match that I watched this year, New Zealand v Spain, I thought, "what is that interesting sound?" and then promptly filtered it out. In a similar way, when I lived in Rosslyn, under the flight path of the planes approaching National Airport, the noisy planes bothered me for about a week. Then I didn't hear it anymore.

Anyone who has been to a live soccer match knows that it is an event of experiences. There is the game itself, but there are songs, Roman Candles, smoke bombs, drums, horns. Oh yeah, and drunk supporters too.

People are upset about these horns.
The world football governing body, FIFA, wanted to ban the use of vuvuzelas during the World Cup 2010 because of concerns that hooligans could use the instrument as a weapon and that businesses could place advertisements on vuvuzelas. However the South African Football Association (SAFA) made a presentation that vuvuzelas were essential for an authentic South African football experience, and FIFA decided in July 2008 to drop the ban. Vuvuzelas will be allowed at matches during Confederations Cup 2009 and World Cup 2010 in South Africa.

I think Deadspin's take is reasonable. You may think they are annoying or whatever but GET. OVER. IT. because when a bunch of Europeans come into SA and start bossing the "riff raff" around, uh, no. They close their commentary with this:
Why can't South Africans enjoy soccer like normal folks—with racist songs and flare guns!
But be warned before you check out the comments, there is some ignorant shit in there.



At 26 June, 2009 16:25, Anonymous Grunthos said...

So if Americans decided it was a cultural expression to play 130 decibel death metal at matches, would that be acceptable too?

If broadcasters can't come up with a way to filter out that bleeping sound, then yes, they should be banned. *You* may have some wonderful ability to push it into your mental background, but for most of us, it's insane. The sound is *not* "atmospheric", it is *not* a minor part of the viewing experience, and it is *not* acceptable.

I'll grant you, I will probably have the sound off anyway, so I don't have to listen to Tommy Smyth. But the principle stands.

At 27 June, 2009 03:40, Anonymous Bootsy said...

I'm one of the haters, and I can't comprehend someone who actually enjoys watching soccer on TV liking them. I hate the damn things. But it's not because they're loud and annoying. Lots of things -- hell, lots of people -- are loud and annoying, even (especially) at soccer matches. It's not because they're loud and annoying. It's because they absolutely, completely, utterly destroy the game-related atmosphere at the matches. Destroy it.

Think that's an incorrect or unfair statement? Think they don't hurt the atmosphere? Here's how to show yourself that you're wrong:

If you have any of the Confed Cup matches around (on a DVR or something), turn one on and watch it. Note the constant sound, like a beehive, from the horns. Keep that in mind.

Now, keep watching, and note what happens when someone makes a great tackle, or a great save, or scores a goal. The answer is: nothing. Absolutely nothing. Nothing changes, ever. If the crowd reacted to that goal that was just scored, you couldn't tell. The amplifcation of the feeling of the game's ebbs and flows, valleys and peaks, that normally occurs from hearing the crowd react just as you do is gone. It's replaced by *undifferentiated* noise -- a steady drone that is completely unrelated to what's happening on the field.

Oh, I'm sure *some* people are going "ooh!" or cheering or audibly reacting to the play in some way. But you can't ever hear any of them, because it's drowned out, overwhelmed by this constant, undifferentiated noise. As far as its contribution to how the match *feels to watch*, there's no difference between the horn noise and constant-volume sound piped-in white noise over the speakers. The contribution to the atmosphere by the crowd noise -- the noise of the crowd reacting to the play -- is gone. And that truly, truly sucks.

At 27 June, 2009 09:08, Blogger rke said...

I'm not terribly bothered by them. I don't "get" them (agree with Bootsy that they don't seem to react to the game) -- but if that's their thing, so be it. Cultural immersion, blah blah blah.

More to the point, I'm not worried for the World Cup - because there will be a LOT of international fans at those games. So you'll have less vuvuselas, more songs, and bigger crowds following the games.

In that context, they'll be a bit of South African texture under a more familiar crowd sound.

At 29 June, 2009 10:18, Anonymous Skippy said...

I sort of tuned them out as well, so they didn't bother me. But I do have to agree that they don't react to the game at all and would throw in that if the noise was that bad on the TV, it must be horrible in the stands. Not that I am going to the World Cup (and if any of you are, don't tell me because I might kill you and wear your skin for a year to steal your tickets), but the South Africa soccer association might consider limiting the horns on their own for the World Cup. You know, out of consideration for the foreigners. That way that Italy fixes fewer matches and Germany tunes down the xenophobia around big soccer tournaments, sure they're part of the domestic games, but it doesn't need to be quite so dominant.

At 29 June, 2009 23:57, Blogger Kevin D said...

It's cool with me. But I see that everyone else hates them, so I think the proposed compromise (ban them from all games except those involving South Africa) makes sense.

At 30 June, 2009 22:38, Anonymous Tafadzwa said...

I've been to African football matches, and the atmosphere is fantastic. Drums. Chants. Singing. Enthusiasm. Rhythm. Which is why I hate the vuvuzela - because it completely drowns all that out and replaces it with a monotonous hornets' nest.

You ever see a hornet with rhythm?

Please. Ban. Vuvezelas. A South African instrument that has only been around for ten years does not deserve to ruin the reputation of African football music.

Banvuvuzela dot com has a place to cast your vote on the matter. (No I don't work there. Found it yesterday.)


(1) You can bring a vuvuzela into the stadium if you pay 100 or 200 rand. Money goes to the South African Red Cross.

(2) Vuvuzelas are only allowed for matches where South Africa is playing.

(3) Free drums and drumming lessons for our culturally deprived South African cousins :)

At 30 June, 2009 22:59, Anonymous Fut said...

Hi Bob,

South Africa does not need the vuvuzela, they have great football songs anyway:


At 01 July, 2009 04:41, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The vuvuzela remains! It has nothing to do with being African, but being human!


At 09 July, 2009 07:37, Anonymous grey said...

Viva Vuvuzelas!


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