Thought the Vuvuzela Was Dead? Think Again.

> barkhorn_leovuvuzela.jpg

gerbisson/flickr, Wikimedia Commons


When Spain finally beat the Netherlands in extra time during the World Cup final, it marked more than the end of the month-long tournament. The match was also the last time the world would be subjected to the sound of the vuvuzela, that bzzzzing horn that was the subject of so much fascination—and controversy—during the games. Or so we thought.

Turns out the bzzzz lives on in the trailer for Christopher Nolan's new movie, Inception. The two-minute preview features a background horn that sounds suspiciously like the vuvuzela. How do the two sounds compare? Here's a breakdown of their most salient characteristics:

Vuvuzela

Sounds like: Cicadas on speed

Frequency: Constant. Win or lose, rain or shine, boring game or exciting game, the bzzz went on.

Purpose: Giving fans at the stadium something to do—and keeping viewers at home awake—during long, scoreless matches

Annoying factor: At the beginning of the tournament, high. By the end, quite low—we'd gotten used to it.

Inception horn


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Sounds like: A very insistent fog horn

Frequency: Fades in and out throughout the trailer, getting louder and more urgent after a character Says Something Important

Purpose: Distracting viewers from focusing on how high-pitched Leonardo DiCaprio's voice is

Annoying factor: Astronomical. After a month of World Cup matches, we've hit our bzzzing limit for the summer.

Presented by

Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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