I was too drained to do anything but shift my sight-line back toward the television. Orange might be the color of madness, as any Van Gogh-quoting Dutch
football enthusiast can tell you, but there was a sustenance in that
wiry, astonishingly measured intensity of all those Korean fans on the
TV, a vast, inscrutable ocean of red shirts and permed black hair. At some point, during a goal or an egregious booking, I can't remember which, the night's still was broken by a solitary shout, issuing from somewhere on my block. I regained my sense of having senses and surrendered to a nap on my couch. I barely remember anything of the 2002 World Cup beyond those red shirts and the neither-night-nor-morning-yet-both mania my mind associates with them.
Many will surely recall 2010 simply as a
sound, the aggressively ambient buzz of the vuvuzela. Unlike the whistles, chants and (in 2002, at least) dull, inflatable thunder-sticks you might hear elsewhere, the vuvuzela produces a consistent, more suffocating soundscape. It's kind of a perfect sonic representation of how many of us will experience this World Cup. The vuvuzela produces a sound that is constant, unerring, temperate, insert winged insect reference here. Like the steady, never-asleep streams of data swarming through Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc.—this will be the first World Cup where we are this effortlessly linked—the vuvuzela's buzz is only truly notable when it's absent. It rarely crests or dulls, it's just always there, like new Web pages being loaded, the purr of fluorescent ceiling fixtures, the rainforest-like sound of hundreds of keyboards being finessed in unison.
The understanding workplace might encourage the merging of these ambiences, as this somewhat adorable office memo from "somewhere in Beijing" illustrates:
Latest Notice: The Company During the World Cup
Notice is made of the following:
1. During the World Cup, the start of work will be delayed from 9:00 am to 10:30.
2. Red Bull has been added to the company's refreshment room for
employees to revitalize themselves. However, quantities are limited to
two bottles per person per day. Please observe this rule when you drink.
3. During the World Cup, the company will run a prediction contest.
Competitors will guess the champion, and the contest winner will be
awarded an XBox (check your email for participation details).
4. During the World Cup, every day on which Brazil has a game, the
company will organize a group to watch the game at the Goose and Duck,
and will cover all drinks (those interested in taking part should apply
with Xu Li in Administration before June 11).
5. If Brazil becomes the champion, the entire company will dine at the Golden Jaguar! (on the evening of July 12).
The above measures apply so long as they do not affect work.
And China isn't even in the World Cup. Which possibly explains the remarkable "lack of research" that went into this campaign advertising Sina.com.cn's World Cup coverage: it features a Chinese sportscaster whose face has been digitally "blackened." And he appears to be wearing a Native American headdress. Of course he is.