When the USA soccer team takes to the field against Ghana at the World Cup on Saturday, only one thing's certain: The ubiquitous drone of the vuvuzela will drown out American fans' cheers. The sonic assault from the controversial plastic horns has so far been loudest at the games featuring African teams — and Ghana, as the home continent's last remaining team in contention, may well inspire a new record. Players from France and Argentina have blamed the vuvuzelas for poor performances, but its distracting din is just one reason to hate the infamous instruments. (Watch the "Fellowship of the Vuvuzela" viral video.) Here are 5 more:
1. Vuvuzelas are bad for you
The vuvuzela can spread cold and flu germs, a London medical college told the AP, and, over time, can damage ear drums. Playing the instrument even left one South African woman with a ruptured windpipe. "I thought I was blowing it right but perhaps I was trying too hard," Yvonne Mayer told the Daily Mail, understandably dismissing the horn as not "much fun."
2. They've inspired a terrible dance single
Never one to waste an opportunity, the canny Brits have created a "novelty dance music song about vuvuzelas," reports Miles Raymer at The Chicago Reader. "Blow That Vuvuzela" is "predictably terrible...though I will point out that the B-flat drone of the typical vuvuzela is perfectly suited to trance music." The song, which manages the rhyme "Nelson Mandela" with "busty Nigella," is tackling the U.K. charts.
3. They're taking over digital media
There's already a webpage that allows you to browse the internet to the sound of a vuvuzela. Now YouTube has added a "vuvuzela button" for those eager to watch videos accompanied by the horn's monotonous noise. Got an iPhone? Download a vuvuzela app. Twitter user @the_vuvuzela also posts unique tweets in the voice of the instrument. For example: "Anthems over. Game on. BZZZZZZZZ...."
4. More are coming...
Abandon hope that vuvuzela fever will end with the World Cup, reports Anne Applebaum at The Washington Post. "The Chinese have been manufacturing the noise-makers like crazy." One million vuvuzelas have been exported to South Africa, and more are being shipped around the world. Fans of the English Premier League will be dismayed to learn the instrument is predicted to "ruin the English football season next autumn, possibly forever."
5. ...and they've begun to invade America
Despite its reputation as a soccer-skeptic nation, the U.S. may be next. The Florida Marlins gave away 15,000 "vuvuzela-like horns" at a recent game against the Tampa Bay Rays, much to the chagrin of supporters. Perhaps foreseeing a craze, Yankee Stadium has even enforced a ban on the instrument.