Dumb and Dumber with vuvuzela

With the 2010 World Cup now in full swing, you can always expect there to be a few controversial games where the ref blows a call or a vicious tackle goes unnoticed. At this year's event, though, there is one thing that is sure to be the most polarizing and divisive part of the tournament: the vuvuzela!

UPDATE:
Check out the second part of all the vuvuzela meme madness!


Vuvuzela
Meet the vuvuzela, an instrument you've never heard of before last week and now hear (or hear about) eight hours a day. Depending on who you ask, the vuvuzela is either the symbol of South African national pride or the most annoying instrument in sports fan history. Both fans at the match and television viewers at home have loudly and roundly complained that the instrument, when used en masse, sounds like a marauding group of rabid bees swarming down on the field. You know there's an issue when the instrument's Wikipedia page has a subsection entitled "As an annoyance during matches."


4chan's NSFW /b/ forum (the primordial soup of memes) is playing the vuvuzela drone on every page, but you can hear the instrument in action in this brief video. It's okay. We'll wait.



And here's what it sounds like at a live game:



So, naturally, the internet has had a field day with this Instrument of Irritation. After much debate, World Cup organizers decided against banning the instruments, meaning the vuvuzela meme and internet mockery will continue for at least another three weeks. Multiple fake Twitter accounts have been formed. iPhone apps have been inexplicably created and downloaded over 750,000 times! Vuvuzela Time allows you to browse any website with that incessant buzzing in the background (Thanks Daily Wh.at!). Downfall-esque memes have been created, most notably in Ukraine Parliament Reacts to Vuvuzela Ban. And Digg has offered this hysterical, and let's be honest, fairly accurate, instruction manual on when to use the vuvuzela:


Many South Africans will counter that the blowing of the vuvuzela is a symbol of their national history and culture, based on the blowing of a kudu horn to bring village elders together. Still, the backlash has been heard far and wide as sites like Banvuvuzela.com and Antivuvuzela.org have cropped up to protest the instrument. Below, Urlesque presents the most comprehensive roundup of all things vuvuzela on the web.


Games

Despite, or possibly because of, its irritating sound to many Western ears, a number of vuvuzela games have sprung up in the past week (and we use the word "game" as loosely as humanly possible). The ostensible goal: see how long you can blow the virtual horn with your mouse. The real goal: to ensure you are never invited to another work social function again.

The Vuvuzela Game: No mouse button holding. Just a simple test to see what your endurance threshold is.

Virtual Vuvuzela

Blow Me - We Love the Vuvuzela

Instant Vuvuzela

Please tell us this is real (via Reddit):




And our personal favorite: Vuvuzela Button (complete with three levels and choice of color)

(click through to play -- WARNING, there's an annoying autoplay ad)
vuvuzela button


Music

Most of the chatter surrounding the vuvuzela lies in whether the one-note instrument should be banned from all matches. To be fair to the other side, there are people making some interesting music with the vuvuzela as the anchor.

Vuvuzela Orchestra: A South African group who can make the instrument sound not just tolerable, but downright funky.


Humongous Vuvuzela Playlist: A non-ironic playlist of the best vuvuzela music, including Thorsten Drücker Orchestra's 'Vuvuzela'.

Vuvuzela Funk: the title says it all.

Vuvuzela Funk by Marflix

Vuvuzela Radio Station: Okay, not really a radio station, but it's hard not to laugh at the intentionally funny site which, as you may have guessed, is just one note blaring nonstop.

Vuvuzela


Commerce

As with any Internet meme, where there's smoke, there's someone with a website willing to sell you water. Feel free to purchase any of these gems and then years from now, upon finding it in a corner of the basement, wonder what the hell it means.

Buy Vuvuzelas Online
: Where you can buy in groups of five or over 1,000. Our favorite part of the site: "Vuvuzelas are the official blowing tool for World Cup 2010." Was this a heated battle that we never heard about stateside?

Buying Vuvuzela: Original Sound of South Africa: We'll let you debate what's funnier: the automatic Amazon.com customer review on the site that says "Anyone that buys a vuvuzela needs to be casturated (sp?), anyone that sells these should be locked up" or the "See more technical details" link. Blowing into a plastic horn does look like it should come with technical instructions.

Stylish Vuvuzela T-shirt

Pro-Vuvuzela T-shirt

Grabist.com's minimalist shirt says it all

Anti-Vuvuzela T-shirt

Pro- or Anti-Vuvuzela T-shirt (depending on how you look at it)

But the Urlesque "Brass Balls" Award goes to Neil van Schalkwyk, a South African entrepreneur who "brought the vuvuzela to the mass market" and has now "partnered with Uthango Social Investments to sell ear plugs to fans for R25 [$3.30 USD] a pair." Well played, Mr. Schalkwyk. Well played.

Vuvuzela


Filtering Out the Noise

While the BBC tries to figure out how to transmit the games with the loud buzzing omitted from the broadcast, a surprising number of websites and programs have appeared to fill the void, offering tools you can use to decrease or nearly eliminate the amount of vuvuzela noise on your television. We won't even pretend to know how this works, but for some people, this is a godsend sent down from on high as a blessing for virtuous living. (If you're a sound geek, Isophonics.net gives you the technical dirt that can pull this off.)

How to Filter Out Those Annoying Vuvuzelas - We'd be remiss not to start out with our brethren over at Asylum.com.

Vuvuzela Filter Using Fedora

Vuvuzela Noise Filter App for Mac OS X

Vuvuzela Killer: The Graphic Equalizer

Prosoniq's Realtime Vuvuzela Filtering Plug-In

How to Tune Out the Vuvuzela Buzz on a Samsung TV

Vuvuzela soccer


Dueling Facebook Apps

On Facebook, the battle between vuvuzela supporters and protestors has begun to rage. In this corner: Virtual Vuvuzela Gifts, encouraging fans to send pictures, apps and anything else vuvuzela-related to friends. In this corner: Ban the Vuvuzela, which encourages supporters to "show how much you hate those Vuvuzelas, or at least the everlasting deafening wall of noise they create. Like this page if you just want to watch nice games of soccer and want your hearing spared."

Of course, if you're still on the fence, or just hate soccer, you can join the Ban Football From Vuvuzela Concerts page.




The Defense

Not everyone is bemused, annoyed or pissed off at the instrument. For the other side, check out the following impassioned defenses:

Wall Street Journal
: Vuvuzelas Under Attack at the World Cup

Deadspin: In Defense of the Vuvuzela

Huffington Post
: A Case for Vuvuzelas to Keep Blowing at World Cup 2010

Salon: Let Them Blow Their Cheap Plastic Horns

But when it comes down to it, whether you think the polarizing instrument is a welcome addition to the game or a brutal distraction, I think we can all agree that this is probably the best use of the vuvuzela.

Vuvuzela

UPDATE: Check out Urlesque's original clip of the vuvuzela invading your favorite internet memes.