10 ways vuvuzelas aren’t like spam

Fan noise, at least in the United States, can’t be too loud. For years, the faithful of the Minnesota Twins baseball club brought opposing teams to their knees with the ear splitting decibel levels they could reach in the now-defunct Metrodome. In fact, fans and the cacophony they create give clubs such an edge at home, they’re considered an additional player–the so-called 10th man in baseball or the 12th man in American football. So it’s puzzling to read about there being too much noise at World Cup soccer games.

When critics grouse about the noise levels at World Cup games, their favorite target is the vuvuzela. It’s a long horn that reminds one of those trumpets seen in movies about medieval times and is responsible for this eternal din that can be heard in the background of every World Cup match. The noisemaker has become so prominent of late that Amir Lev, spinner of the Security Levity column at Computerworld, decided to add his voice to the crescendo condemning the horn by comparing it to spam. So, in the tongue-in-cheek spirit in which that column was written, we submit for our readers’ consideration 10 reasons why vuvuzelas are not like spam.

10. Noise from vuvuzelas is continuous, but avoidable

It’s undeniable that the noise level from the vuvuzela is constant, just as constant as the stream of spam sprayed daily at our email boxes, but unlike the cynical senders of spam, vuvuzela players are celebrating a joyous event. Has anyone ever described the arrival of spam in an inbox as an event worth celebrating? In addition, avoiding vuvuzela noise is easy. Become a fan of nice quiet sports like golf and tennis.

9. Vuvuzelas are made of plastic; spam isn’t

Vuvuzelas are made of plastic, which may add to the world’s thirst for petroleum, but no more so than anything else made of that material. To our knowledge, vuvuzelas aren’t recyclable, but it’s probably not a bad idea. Spam, too, is plastic, but not in the same sense as the vuvuzela. Spammers have shown a remarkable ability to remold and remodel their junk to slip by filters and other techniques designed to stop it.

8. Vuvuzelas come in a variety of colors; spam is basically black

The various hues of the vuvuzelas add to the colorful spectacle of a World Cup crowd. Spam adds nothing to an inbox but bloat and dangerous lures that can take an email recipient into the dark corners of the Internet where they can be victimized by Black Hats.

7. Vuvezelas symbolize a leisure activity; spam means drudgery

What could be more fun for a soccer fan than to attend a World Cup match, even if he or she must don ear plugs to do so? Spam, on the other hand, requires mailboxes to be constantly weeded and pruned. Even with good spam filters, junk mail folders need to be eyeballed for false positives.

6. Vuvezelas are a sign of healthy exuberance; spam is unhealthy for mind and body

The cheerfulness of vuvuzela tooters can be infectious and lift the spirits of all around them, even fans of a team getting skunked on the pitch. Spam not only taxes the mind with its drivel but hawks snake oil that can be worthless or injurious to a person’s health.

5. Vuvuzela players proclaim their loyalties in public; spammers hide their intentions with subterfuge

There’s no mistaking a vuvuzela player. He or she has their noisy instrument in hand where it can be seen and heard. Spammers cloak their mischief behind all sorts of dodges like botnets or scammed email addresses.

4. Vuvuzelas increase office productivity; spam decreases it

What better way is there to purge the body of office  toxins than to blow through a big horn for a month? Even if a vuvuzela isn’t a juju to a worker, and the noise drives him or her nuts, he or she will be looking forward to returning to a nice quiet office and getting some work done. Contrast that with spam, which only deflects workers away from productive tasks with mailbox housekeeping chores.

3. Vuvazelas add value to the World Cup experience; spam detracts from the value of email

Granted, for the noise sensitive, vuvuzelas can diminish the excitement of attending a World Cup game, but fans familiar with international venues recognize the unique contribution the horns make to the pagentry of the event. That contrasts with spam, which adds an annoying element to email that reduces its value.

2. For vuvuzela players it’s all about the noise; for spammers, it’s all about the money

While the unrelenting buzz created by vuvuzelas may be irksome to some, there’s no denying that the perpetrators relish the power of sound in an innocent way. There’s nothing innocent about spammers. They go about their business with the worst of motives and for pecuniary purposes.

1. Vuvuzelas have become a part of soccer that should be embraced; spam has become a part of email that should be erased

Noise has become as important to team sports as the games themselves. Because of that, the vuvuzela, with its robust capacity for tumult, should receive nods not nays from the soccer community. That scourge of email spam, however, represents a different kind of noise, a kind that should be muffled at every opportunity.

Written by John P Mello Jr

John Mello is a freelance writer who has written about business and technical subjects for more than 25 years. He is frequent contributor to the ECT News Network and his work has appeared in a number of periodicals, including Byte magazine, PC World, Computerworld, CIO magazine and the Boston Globe

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