The NY Times ran an article this morning, World Cup Despair in Brazil, with pictures and quotations from various Brazilians about what it was like to see their team lose in the World Cup.
"Our nation is hurt. We will need to face people making fun of us for the rest of our lives. I will have to tell my grandchildren one day that I saw this happening. How am I going to tell this to my grandchildren?" -- Lucas Dos Santos, 41
(When the USA lost the bronze medal in hockey to Finland 5-0 at the Sochi Olympics, did it occur to you that you would have to tell your grandchildren about it? Did you worry about how you would phrase it? Were you even aware of that game?)
"The way they hurt the hearts of the Brazilian people. My head hurts. It's too much suffering." -- Adilson Mourao, 47
(Suffering? Has Mr. Mourao ever heard of World War II? World War I? Or even the fact that eight Brazilian workers died during the construction of the World Cup stadiums?)
"If I could, I would like to step on Felipao's callus. I would not like to pinch him. I would not like to hit him. I would like to step on a callus on his foot." -- Andrea Silva, 41
(When the 2004 USA Dream Team lost to Puerto Rico in the preliminaries of the Athens Olympics, did you want to stamp on Alan Iverson's bunions? Or kick Tim Duncan in the shins? You know, not pinch him, or hit him, but just kick him in the shins?)
Another Times article today, 29 Minutes That Shook Brazil: 5 Kicks Felt in Guts Everywhere, actually started on the front page and then continued in the sports section. It, too, quoted random people on the street:
Rogerio Graces da Silva arrived at his sister's house to find her crying so hard that "We thought she would become ill. She was shaking! We made her sip water. I've never seen sadness like it."
(His sister is ill. But she doesn't need a regular doctor, she needs a psychiatrist.)
"When the fourth goal went in," said Jose Brito Lopes, who watched at a crowded favela bar in Rio de Janeiro, "people started saying, I am ashamed to be Brazilian."
(I can recall people saying, or at least implying, that they were ashamed to be Americans during the Viet Nam War. And I remember a few Hollywood liberals saying that they would leave the country if George W. Bush was elected President, though none of them ever made good on that promise. However, I cannot, for the life of me, recall a single person ever saying he was ashamed to be American because of a sports defeat.)
Mr. Dos Santos was right when he said "We will need to face people making fun of us for the rest of our lives." Because the Brazilians do need to be mocked. Not for their World Cup loss, but for their reaction to it.
Which seems to be pretty much on a par with America's reaction to 9/11.