Remember the vuvuzela?
The plastic horn, about two feet in length, was the accidental “sound of the World Cup” in 2010—its cloud-of-bees-like drone, along with Paul the Octopus, becoming as synonymous with the tournament as the poor football and much-criticized Jabulani ball.
But if it had even a single, partially redeeming quality, it was that the vuvuzela was supposedly styled after the ethnic kudu horn, which in times past had been used to summon villagers to a gathering.
A dubious backstory, but a backstory nonetheless. And despite the annoyance there was no denying that the South Africans put their full collective enthusiasm into blowing the things from kickoff to the final whistle. It was their tournament, and in that light their affection for the vuvuzela was almost forgivable.
Believe it or not, the 2014 World Cup will feature an even more unpardonable, instrumental monstrosity.
Last week the Brazilian ministry of sport revealed the caxirola—a hand-held percussion piece developed with and unveiled by musician Carlinhos Brown.
Curiously shaped like a hand grenade, the caxirola is small, its sound diminutive, but when shaken by an entire stadium will produce a constant, intolerable rattle that will once again threaten to drown out the more traditional means of support and celebration, such as songs and chants.
But what’s particularly distasteful about the caxirola is where it has come from.
Although a FIFA spokesman stated the instrument would create “a unique Brazilian atmosphere” inside the stadiums (Time), there is nothing unique or, indeed, organic about the caxirola’s origin.
It is a creation of the Brazilian sports authorities—a fabrication; a money-maker designed to brand and to centralize the profits of a manufactured match atmosphere.
And just to make sure it’s ready for the 2014 roll-out, the caxirola will be distributed to fans during the Confederations Cup in June.
The 2014 and 2010 World Cups: rattle and hum.