The vuvuzela and the World Cup: a symbol of the end of civilization

Patrick H. writes:

I am wondering if you are going to comment on the inadvertent (and thereby revealing) comedy of the destruction by liberalism of the World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa.

The agent of liberal destruction is a horn. Specifically, a long plastic device called the vuvuzela. The employment by South African spectators of the vuvuzela as incessant accompaniment to the soccer matches on the pitch has—and I must insist I am not exaggerating—destroyed the experience of viewing the games almost completely. The use—constant, unrelenting—of this, ah, instrument, by thousands of fans produces a tuneless monotonous drone or hum that operates at the level of a roar (a bit like a bunch of great big kazoos might do—but without any melody). And it simply never stops. The effect on television presentations is remarkable. It sounds like the games are being played in a hive full of thousands of gigantic bees. All other sound is effectively eliminated: crowd roars come through dimly—probably because the vuvuzela-ists drop their horns to join in the collective huzzah when an occasional ball wanders near the net—but chants are gone. Singing: gone. Clapping, footstomping, drumbeating: all gone. Completely drowned out by this endless, incessant drone (estimated level of noise: 130 decibels). You really have to overcome your antipathy to soccer (if you have any feelings about it at all) and try to watch a game. In only a few minutes, you will be driven mad. I promise you. You will barely be able to hear the announcers.

Now this would be of no particular interest to you or your readers, I suspect, except for the moral of the story. The organizers have said they will not attempt to ban the vuvuzela from the stadium, or even limit its use, despite bitter complaints from players, coaches, televisers, and the worldwide audience. The stated reason is the usual post-modern liberal claptrap: it’s their culture; it’s their way of expressing themselves. But if you read the stories carefully (the NYT has several), you will see the real reason. The organizers believe the “fans”—black South Africans, and I’m sure you’re staggered to hear that the hornblowers are black—would react “negatively” to the banning of their instrument of sonic aggression. Which means, of course, they would react with violence. (I know, I know. What have black people got to do with violence?) The organizers—and everybody else—knows the hornblowers are ruining the World Cup for everyone but themselves. But the organizers are too afraid of their violence to ask them to stop.

I could point out the similarities to the entire liberal way of talking about blacks—and The Other in general—but this whole farce is beyond the realm of mere similarity. It is instead the perfect distillation, the very quintessence, of the post-modern, post-European, liberal world. It’s got it all: the self-satisfied in-your-face aggression by Morlocks, ahem, blacks, against everyone else; the craven, sniveling excuse-making submission of our Eloi elites; and the destruction of tradition—the historic accompaniments to the game—words and melodies sung by fans, on-field communication between players, commentary by skilled television announcers—all obliterated by this mindless roaring droning tuneless hum from tens of thousands of exultant blacks coming out to eat us alive—excuse me, to express themselves.

It would be funny if it weren’t so depressing. You see, I actually like soccer.

Ah, the soundtrack of liberalism’s self-immolation. This empty content-free roaring drone, transmitted to our quivering Eloi ears by means of a cheap, mass-produced oversized one-note kazoo. That’s the sound of the end of the world. That’s the last thing we’ll hear as the lights go out. Not a bang. Not even a whimper. Just this great big annihilating hum.

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Malcolm Pollack writes:

Your commenter is quite right about these deafening horns. I wrote this about them, here:

I’ve never been much of a soccer fan, but I’ve been watching some of the World Cup games this time around. What made the biggest impression on me, however, was not the play on the field, but the unvarying, awful blare of plastic trumpets that fills the arena. It is a horrible, buzzing drone, and it never lets up for a second.

The trumpet itself is called a vuvuzela, which I understand means, in some local tongue, “cheap piece of crap that makes a really loud vu-vu noise”.

The thing is LOUD: at its maw it has been measured, according to this Wikipedia article, at 131 dB, which is comparable to a Formula One race car in full flight. Multiply that by the seating capacity of a sports arena, and the result is an extremely large amount of totally pointless noise.

I’m not suggesting that spectators at the World Cup should sit in silence and applaud politely when goals are scored. The voice of the crowd is an important part of events like this. But stadium noise is usually a densely composite sound that varies continuously as events on the field unfold. It is a confluence of tens of thousands of emotional human utterances. Its individual components span the full range of the human vocal apparatus, and the attentive listener can pick out of the sound of the crowd individual people saying things. Sitting in the stands, you hear the voices all around you clearly and separately, while those farther away begin to blend into the general roar. Even that general roar rises and falls, and clearly expresses shared sentiments in the form of boos and cheers. It is a rich, complex, and deeply human sound.

But the vuvuzela offers none of that. It doesn’t even vary in pitch; it just brays away on a constant, deafening ___. It expresses no individuality, no thought, no emotion. It expresses nothing at all, except an urge to make noise. And that noise is disturbingly non-human: it is the sound, not of a stadiumful of people getting together to cheer their champions to victory, but of a world-devouring swarm of insects.

Richard B. writes from England:

Just had to comment on Patrick H’s email on the monstrous vuvuzela and its symbolic importance. I’m sure you know Shelley’s Ozymandias but do you know that his friend Horace Smith wrote also wrote a sonnet? Being a Londoner I have always found that last lines particularly poignant but the whole thing is superb. Here it is:

“I am great Ozymandias,” saith the stone,
“The King of kings: this mighty city shows
The wonders of my hand.” The city’s gone!
Naught but the leg remaining to disclose
The sight of that forgotten Babylon.
We wonder, and some hunter may express
Wonder like ours, when through the wilderness
Where London stood, holding the wolf in chase,
He meets some fragment huge, and stops to guess
What wonderful, but unrecorded, race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

James P. writes:

Patrick H. writes:

“That’s the last thing we’ll hear as the lights go out. Not a bang. Not even a whimper. Just this great big annihilating hum.”

That’s if we’re lucky. If we’re not lucky, the last thing we’ll hear is a mob of Morlocks “reacting negatively” to some perceived injustice or simply expressing their hatred of Eloi:

In the first incident, Shane McClellan said he was walking home around 2 a.m. on May 25 when two men, one black and one Filipino, asked him for a light.

They then robbed him and beat him for four hours, whipping him with his own belt while saying things like, “How do you like it, white boy?” and “This is for enslaving our people,” according to the police report.

Shane McClellan, who is white, said the two men also poured Four Loko energy beer on him, burned him with a lit cigarette and urinated on him, police said.

Gintas writes:

I’ve been reading a newsgroup completely unrelated to soccer, and the World Cup came up. Everyone despises these horns, so I’ve been saved the trouble of bothering to watch some games to try to figure out what is so great about soccer. Can you explain to me why I should be excited about the World Cup, other than that it’s shoved in our faces all the time as “the most popular sport in the world”? I’m fine with the rest of the world liking it, but there’s a Liberal determination to make Americans like it, too.

LA replies:

The left does not want America to be different from the rest of the world. While the left believes in the self, conceived as a bundle of impulses and desires, it does not believe in real individuality, whether of a person or a country.

LA writes:

Meanwhile, Time tells us: “Forget the Noise; South Africa’s a Success.” Anna writes:

Regarding the vuvuzela: granted that South Africa is “host” of the World Cup, but it’s really loud and clear they don’t give a hoot about their guests.

Rick Darby writes:

You shouldn’t be talking about the vuvuzela and the World Cup, you should be talking about Sarah Palin’s breasts. Oh, hang on, my mistake. I mean, thanks for talking about vuvuzela and the World Cup.

Now, nothing could get me to travel to South Africa. Not even if someone gave me a free ticket to see Sarah Palin’s breasts—oops, sorry. I mean, even if someone gave me a free ticket to the World Cup games. Number one, like the typical introvert I am, I have zero interest in sports. Number two, there are about 100 countries I’d rather experience than South Africa.

But no doubt thousands of Europeans have made tracks to the C-cup … damn, I mean the World Cup. They will have the chance to experience up close and personal the state of emotional development of African blacks. Non-stop vuvuzela (that sure sounds licentious, puts me in mind of Sar—uh, wait, never mind). Surely the sports tourists will return to Britain, France, Italy, and wherever with a more realistic understanding of the Dark Continent and, by extension, what open-door immigration from it will mean for their own cultures.

Hah. I’ll put money on it: the next World Cup, wherever it is—Boston, Newfoundland, Seattle, Louisville—will be full of fans blowing their vuvuzelas for all they’re worth. The liberal army marches on its lungs.

Mercedes D. writes:

The description by Patrick H. of the vuvuzela noise that is ruining the World Cup reminded me of this passage from Letter 22 of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis:

Music and silence—how I detest them both! How thankful we should be that ever since our Father entered Hell—though longer ago than humans, reckoning in light years, could express—no square inch of infernal space and no moment of infernal time has been surrendered to either of those abominable forces, but all has been occupied by Noise—Noise, the grand dynamism, the audible expression of all that is exultant, ruthless, and virile—Noise which alone defends us from silly qualms, despairing scruples, and impossible desires. We will make the whole universe a noise in the end. We have already made great strides in this direction as regards the Earth. The melodies and silences of Heaven will be shouted down in the end. But I admit we are not yet loud enough, or anything like it. Research is in progress.

LA writes:

Ilana Mercer is commenting on Patrick H.’s comment.

JP writes:

I would only add to this that I’ve also noticed that the MSM only publishes photos of whites blowing on those things when they write about the problem. Drudge has linked to several articles and they all show non-Africans blowing on the horns.

The other blaringly racial issue that jumped out at me while watching the matches so far is that all five African teams have white European head coaches. I only remark on this because the media is making such a big deal about the African teams who are playing. When the Serbian player screwed up, giving Ghana a penalty kick (which pretty much guarantees a goal) the sports media had a collective orgasm over the fact that this was the FIRST African team to win a game in a World Cup on the African continent. Whoop de do.

Ben W. writes:

Pleasant little white town in South Africa, where children can play in the street and people don’t have to look over their shoulders.

Kilroy M. writes from Australia:

When I started watching some of these matches, I wondered what that incessant hum was. The description of giant wasps fits perfectly. I didn’t understand why it is incessant—doesn’t the novelty wear off for these people? Are they so easily amused? Is this the first time they have encountered such a thing? The vuvuzela has been used in soccer matches I’ve attended in Australia and Europe—but it’s used differently. Spectators toot-toot the thing, they toot it in unison with a chant, for example, there is a clear function to it—it isn’t mindless. I think the way it is employed by these blacks represents a certain lack of behavioural restraint. The spectators just don’t know when enough is enough. Patrick H is right—the football experience (“soccer” to you Americans) is in large part the fraternal atmosphere of the team—the chants, songs, colours. All of this is drowned out, all for the banality of purposeless nuisance. Behold: black “civilisation.”

LA replies:

The complete lack of modulation in the loud noise fits what Eugene Valberg said in his talk at the first American Renaissance conference about his experience in an African hospital. The television on his ward was extremely loud. When he asked that the volume be turned down, it would be turned all the way off, in response to which someone else would turn it back on to full blasting volume. He asked over and over for people to turn it down a little, rather than all the way off, so that it wouldn’t keep going back and forth between off and full volume, but it didn’t happen. His point was that Africans had no concept of gradation. . It was either on all the way or off all the way.

Robert B. from Minnesota writes:

“Not a bang. Not even a whimper. Just this great big annihilating hum.”

Funny he should say that, as the use of horns of this kind as a prelude to war is quite ancient in Africa. It was done to put fear into the enemy before the close of battle—the idea being that they just might run off the field and thus conquer without risking their own deaths.

This is quite different from the European tradition of beating drums, playing fife or even the Scottish pipes—all of which were used to keep soldiers moving together in time and in no circumstances were so loud that an officer’s orders could not be heard.

June 16

LA wrote to Rick Darby:

This is funny and well written, I’ve just posted it with a pointer to it on the main page. But with some embarrassment I have to confess to you, I don’t think I’m entirely getting the joke. what is the idea behind someone trying to think about the World Cup while he’s really thinking about Palin’s breasts?

Rick Darby replies:

No, I’m not that subtle. I just wrote it as an exercise in style, an etude. My only intention was to give you and, I hope, your readers a laugh.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 15, 2010 12:01 PM | Send

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