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Question of the day: Is the vuvuzela a cultural delight or just plain annoying? [Updated]

June 14, 2010 | 10:41 am

Three reporters from around the Tribune Co. weigh in on the South African horns that have been ubiquitous at the 2010 World Cup. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times

The vuvuzelas are loud, annoying and incessant. But they aren’t going anywhere.

FIFA was asked last summer to ban them from the World Cup -- and refused. They were asked again over the weekend -- and refused. So get used to the vuvuzelas because they’re here to stay.

And that’s a good thing because, for better or worse, the South Africans have adopted the cheap plastic horns as their own, turning them into something uniquely South African. The roads into Soweto, the massive township on the southwestern edge of Johannesburg, is lined with brightly painted statues of vuvuzelas, for example.

So, long after this tournament ends, it’s likely few will remember how the games were played. But everyone will remember what they sounded liked.

George Diaz, Orlando Sentinel

I suppose there are a few other things in life that challenge our threshold for audial pain more than the buzzzzzz of the vuvuzelas during World Cup matches.

A Jeff Van Gundy unfiltered mix tape.

A musical tribute to the Baha Men, the visionary artists who gave us “Who Let the Dogs Out?”

But who am I kidding? I would rather have Jack Bauer rip off all of my fingernails than listen to the annoying drone of the vuvuzelas for an entire soccer match.

Some “purists” insist that we should not offend our gracious World Cup hosts. The sound that signifies pride in the nation's heritage and support for its national team, Bafana Bafana. But there are plenty of ceremonies and events honoring South Africa during this tournament.

Spectators should not be subject to this kind of torture. As for the viewing audience, bless the mute button, for it is a Godsend.

Dave Hyde, Sun Sentinel

More vuvuzelas, I say. Vuvuzelas to drown out the announcers. Vuvuzelas to fill your head with circling mosquitoes.

In elevators, let’s have vuvuzela music as long as the World Cup runs. In offices, Vuzu-zak.

In history, let the story be retold how the vuvuzelas kept playing when the Titanic sank, how Bill Clinton learned the vuvuzela as a boy, how Venezuela derived from Vuvuzela.

Can a Major League Baseball team replace cap night with vuvuzela night just so America can see what fun it must be to sit in a World Cup stadium? Can Florida State accompany the tomahawk chop to vuvuzelas?

Can we hear from the most accomplished vuvuzela player in South Africa?

More vuvuzela this World Cup, I say. And, please, more aspirin. Lots more aspirin.

[Updated at 11:15 a.m.:

Paul Doyle, Hartford Courant

Let’s call the incessant sound of the mass vuvuzela onslaught both a cultural delight and a tad annoying. We can both appreciate it as a South African tradition and be driven to watch World Cup matches with the TV on mute.

But let’s stop the complaining and let’s end calls for a vuvuzela ban. South Africa has the World Cup and that’s what they do, so fans, announcers and players should get used to it.

Look, the blaring music piped into every NBA building is excessive and annoying. Not all of us are fans of Neil Diamond’s corny “Sweet Caroline,” but we endure it at Fenway Park. And we’d all prefer arenas everywhere take “Crazy Train” and “Rock & Roll, Part II” out of the rotation.

We live with the annoying distractions and concentrate on the event. If this is the sound of soccer in South Africa, so be it. We’ll enjoy a few minutes of the host country’s culture before turning down the volume.]

Photo: Fans blow vuvuzelas in support of the Netherlands on Monday. Credit: Monirul Bhuiyan / AFP/Getty Images