June 15, 2010

In Defence of the Vuvuzela

The People versus Vuvuzela

Part 1: Horny at the World Cup

Today’s Toronto Star website asks: Should vuvuzelas, the native horn that has become the defining feature of the World Cup, be banned from stadiums?

And with nearly 15,000 votes finds that 61% of voters say Yes, while 39% say No (to hell with 3rd party candidates "Maybe" and "Who gives a crap?").

Though the vuvuzela buzz on television during World Cup games is slightly noticeable, like all things annoying, we get used to it, and perhaps even grow to like it. The issue is being blown out of proportion (get it?), as what was a minor annoyance on television has become a race issue via the syllogistic reasoning of Internet forums:

Major Premise: Vuvuzelas are traditional African horns.

Minor Premise: North Americans don’t like hearing them on TV.

Conclusion: North Americans hate Africans.

That leap is more annoying than all the vuvuzelas in Durban.

I personally voted that, No, they should not be banned. As BBC sports commentator Farayi Mungazi said the sound of the horn was the "recognized sound of football in South Africa" and is "absolutely essential for an authentic South African footballing experience." Good enough for me.

We should all suck it up (although we wouldn’t get much of a sound from it if we did. Get it?)

One small step for vuvuzela. One giant leap, for plastic horns.

Part 2: Noises Off!

This got me thinking about noises. The ones we like, the ones we don’t, and the ones we think we like but really, shouldn’t. This list will be a work in progress. Someday it will be comprehensive. Perhaps this list will be my contribution to society.

Feel free to add to or disagree with this completely subjective list. Though if you disagree too loudly, you’re bound to end up on the Electric Sax list.

The Vuvuzela Category (Noises that aren’t so bad that “people” seem to hate): Afternoon lawn mowers, Billy Joel’s 1990s music, Michael Buble, Snapping gum.

The Bagpipe Category (Noises that are bad that “people” seem to romanticize): Cicadas, John Secada, Tap Dancing, Elton John’s songs from The Lion King

The Electric Sax Category (Noises that are horrible and under no circumstance should be allowed to exist): Wet hands on a balloon, Fran Drescher’s Voice in The Nanny, the sound quality of local car dealership commercials coming out of Buffalo, New York, a mouth chewing bread, teenagers talking on a bus

The Baby Laughing Category (Noises that really aren’t that great, but people love): Synth Pop, Carol Channing, Drum circles in parks, Proficient violin


June 9, 2010

On Notice: World Cup 2010

Put that Canadian pride aside and be ready to see the Portugal flags from space: the World Cup is coming! Time for Spartan to resurrect. Starting this weekend, Spartan will be one of a batrillion blogs capturing the sights, sounds and debauchery of futbol.

During my MFA, I heard a lot of crazy bullshit. Most of it was someone repeating back to me something I just said. One thing that stuck was the wisdom of Canadian playwright Guillermo Verdecchia who told me "Absence of culture is still culture." It's true except during grand International spectacles like the Olympics and the World Cup of Soccer when those with an absence feel a void. Unlike the Olympics, the World Cup never allows us to exercise the Canadian jingoism instinct. Many of us have to do some digging at these times.

Toronto is a city of world cup nations (there must be Hondurans here somewhere), and I am a boy who can lay claim to culture exotique every four years. Mama is Italian and Greek. Papa is German and English. All four countries are in the 2010 World Cup (and Canada never will be again, which is good - we need to suck at glamourous sports to keep the equilibrium). For the next month, Spartan will follow one boy looking for his cultural roots, commenting on hooligans, and acknowledging the cool parts, all the while, only marginally caring about soccer.

For the record, unless they lose to South Korea in the first game, Spartan supports:And, if like the Greek economy, they tank, I'll be throwing all my elbows into supporting:

Spartanly Yours,