This is the third installment in an ongoing series called Idiot Sportswriters. In this series, we call out the lazy, irreproachable blowhards that consider themselves “experts” in their respective fields. You can check out the other posts here.
I am a huge fan of Phil Mushnick. For years, Mushnick has fearlessly challenged the idiocratic sports media on their tendency to put money/sponsorship above the games being played, and their complete disregard for the viewer experience.
But from time to time, even he is wrong.
I just had the roast duck with the saffron risotto. What did you have?
Mushnick’s Friday (6/19) column in the NY Post (Can’t We Just Watch The Games?) offers a popular take on vuvuzelas, the South African noise makers that are omnipresent at this year’s World Cup:
And the sound of 1,000 vuvuzelas being blown in unison is not appreciably lower than 10,000. A fraction of the audience can wreck it for all — for those who bought tickets, those watching on TV, those listening on radio.
FIFA knew what was coming. Cup qualifiers produced the same drone. But for all its blowhards, FIFA did nothing, not even a polite but firm request to check your horn at the door.
We can agree that the brain rattling B♭ created by the vuvuzela is not the most alluring sound in the world. But contrary to Mushnick’s insistence that FIFA did nothing to stop the vuvuzela insurgency, you only need look as far as FIFA.com to discover that the vuvuleza buzz was not an oversight. Back in 2009, FIFA made a conscious decision to allow the instrument because of its place in South African cutlure:
From the beat of the samba drums in Brazil to the ringing of cow bells in Switzerland to the Mexican wave, the idiosyncrasies of several nationalities become apparent at football matches. South Africans are no exception, as those who have descended on the country for this year’s FIFA Confederations Cup have discovered.
The vuvuzela is a vociferous air horn that reverberates around arenas with rare energy. It is also a proud and permanent symbol of its patrons.
When it comes to the 2010 World Cup, the breadth of South African culture is on display. It’s one thing for Yankee Stadium to ban vuvuzelas, but what if MLB disallowed baseball gloves or caps at the ballpark? How about those little ice cream helmets? Fuck that – those things are part of baseball culture. Much like vuvuzelas are part of South African soccer culture.
If I’m FIFA and I’m forced to decide whether to disallow the use of SOUTH AFRICAN HORNS during a World Cup game IN SOUTH AFRICA, lest annoy some salty old American sports writer with an 8:30pm bed time, I think I made the right decision.
Maybe I’m desensitized because I live in a shit hole apartment and my dryer makes the most annoying “eeeeek” sound in the world with every turn, but I think we should suck it up and let the vuvuzela have its 15 minutes of fame. After July 11, it will be gone forever anyway.