"Cala boca, Galvão": Brazilian Twitter joke about soccer announcer goes global

By Maira Magro

International broadcasters are looking into muting or filtering the blaring ambient noise of the vuvuzela at the World Cup, but Brazilians have an additional complaint: the national team’s play-by-play announcer Galvão Bueno. His non-stop talking during the opening ceremony led to millions of posts on Twitter of “Cala boca, Galvão” (Shut up, Galvão), making it the site's top trending topic for the last five days.

Confused users from other countries began to wonder what the sentence meant, leading Brazilians to tweet a variety of phony explanations to help keep the phrase popular. The most common version is that Galvão is an Amazonian bird on the verge of extinction and that every “Cala boca Galvão” Twitter post will give 10 cents to the “Galvão Institute.” (See this video about the “plight” of the Galvão.) Another popular "explanation" is that the phrase is the title of Lady Gaga's newest single.

The international media has jumped on the trend as well: the Spanish paper El PaisThe New York TimesGlobal Voices, and Wikipedia have all covered what the Wall Street Journal's Nando di Fino calls "a huge, awesome practical joke being played on the world."

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.