By this point most Americans have once again stopped pretending to be interested in soccer, and those who are still pretending will likely stop doing so in the next couple of weeks when the World Cup is over once and for all. For those who think that this, this could be the time that America finally embraces soccer, I have one word for you: Curling. Most of you forgot about that a couple of weeks after the Winter Olympics, didn’t you? There are certain things that America will never embrace, and soccer is one of them. Ignoring the xenophobic rhetoric from some, mostly on the right, soccer just does not appeal to typical American sensibilities when it comes to sports. Apart from those concerns, there is a high level of snobbery from a certain section of soccer enthusiasts who ridicule those of us who don’t like soccer as, more or less, uneducated morons. The only thing I can think of to compare it to is Apple enthusiasts, those people who blather on and on about how easy Apple products are to use, and how therefore those of us who don’t like Apple must be “stupid” for some reason.
Normally, though, the annoyance of soccer enthusiasts comes and goes by itself and leaves little in its wake. Every once in a while, though, some remnant of the World Cup somehow remains behind, like Major League Soccer, the only professional sports league so pathetic that a team from Columbus could be the national champions. This year it’s quite clear that long after the final referee’s whistle, we will be hearing the drone of the vuvuzela in our ears for months and years to come, assuming we haven’t suffered permanent hearing loss from them already. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for preserving aspects of traditional culture, but when that aspect is made out of mold-injected plastic, it has about as much tradition as a Happy Meal toy. Worse yet, unlike soccer, the (plastic) vuvuzela does appeal to the broad American mindset; it’s cheap, it’s loud, and it’s extremelyannoying. All it needs is a corporate American rebranding with a new name like the “XTREEEEEEME Noisemaker” or “Halliburton’s Happy Honking Horn” or something like that.
Mark my words; the end of the World Cup will be far from the end of the vuvuzela in American culture. Remember last summer and fall, when Tea Party protesters flooded the town hall meetings of congresspeople and disrupted them through shouting, repeating the same unfounded questions and accusations over and over again, and drowning out all hopes of intelligent discourse about things like health care and Wall Street reform? I’m already seeing those same protesters returning to town hall meetings, speeches, anything where a politician they don’t like is attempting to speak, and blowing on their red, white, and blue vuvuzelas (probably renamed by them as “Freedom Horns”) until the meeting disperses. I’m not sure the Founding Fathers were thinking of vuvuzelas when they drew up the First Amendment, but the Roberts Court will probably say they were.
As I’ve written before, American political elections are more often than not won by the side that’s the loudest and most obnoxious, regardless of what ideas that side espouses. Thanks to the World Cup, the radical right has a whole new tool to use that will make them even louder and more irritating than before. The worst part is that it’ll probably work, too. On second thought, the real worst part is that I could probably make a mint off of the “Sell red white and blue ‘Freedom Horns’ to Tea Party protesters” idea if it weren’t for that whole thing about me having a conscience and all. If anyone wants to run with the idea, though, help yourself.