Vuvuzela horns are annoying part of World Cup

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, June 17, 2010

The drone echoed over the World Cup soccer pitch and hit the tweeters of the surround sound speakers like a swarm of drunken bees.

It sounded like a swarm of angry hornets, an animal moaning in pain or the sound of a nasal printing press.

It drilled into the psyche like a diamond bit, causing physical pain and annoyance on a scale not seen since Hanson came out with the sickly sweet ode to nothing known as “Mmmmm-bop.”

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In “Dumb and Dumber,” Jim Carrey’s character claims he can make the most annoying sound in the world. Sorry, Jim, these horns have got you beat, calf-roped and hog-tied.

The noise drowns out cheers. The commentators. Dialogue between coaches and players. Radar and GPS signals. And any coherent thought in your head. It makes Mississippi State’s cacophony of cowbells seem like melodious ear candy in comparison.

It’s dorkier than a ruffian wearing an Ain’t Skeered T-shirt with a mullet shining a laser pointer at a college football game.

It’s a flutophone on steroids — Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa-class ’roids.

Casual fans watching the excellent World Cup match between the U.S. and England wondered, “What the heck is that racket?”

That is the insistent buzz of the vuvuzela, a long plastic horn that erupts with 127 decibels of monotone goodness. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Adminstration, 84 decibels can cause permanent hearing damage. An aircraft carrier flight deck clocks in at 150 decibels. Imagine that, a plastic horn that can compete with carrier ops. It’s the answer to a question no one asked, like the reason why Taylor Hicks won American Idol a few years back. I guess someone thought Michael McDonald should have a grey-haired clone with really bad dance moves and no career post-Idol.

Loss of hearing isn’t the only problem with these blasted horns that will likely supply the soundtrack to eternal torment in Hades.

According to a recent Associated Press story, the vuvuzela can spread disease as spittle containing influenza and common cold germs can take up residence inside the horn and be sprayed on spectators nearby.

Since it’s winter in South Africa, it’s a real health concern.

Oh happy joy.

Defenders claim that the horns are a South African tradition and that banning the plastic horns, made in China, of course, would prevent fans from enjoying the true South African footballing experience.

If that’s the South African footballing experience, bring ear plugs. And ear muffs. And some ear buds hooked up to an MP3 player playing white noise.

It just makes you want to reach for the mute button.

Steve Wilson is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. You can follow him on Twitter at vpsportseditor. He can be reached at 601-636-4545, ext. 142 or at