Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Do you think there’s something wrong with you because you don’t like tangerines? Do you stay at home and fret about it?

Please be assured: there's nothing wrong with you, you are not alone!

This video presents the audio/visual equivalent of how my mouth reacts to the taste of tangerines—complex, tangy, not something I want to repeat.

When I looked for this song on YouTube I was surprised to find many pages of hits. I guess there was a Led Zeppelin song, or something.

I was pleased to find many videos featuring non-culinary uses of tangerines: tennis ball-substitutes, office pets, or just something to stick a firecracker in and blow up.

I think the popularity of tangerine as a word far exceeds it’s popularity as a taste.

The first four letters spell tang, which is onomatopoeic to begin with. The -er- connotes action—it doesn’t just have tang, it’s a tang-er, it’ll tang you. And the –ine is sort of exotic, feminine and French.

The word comes from “Tangier.” This variant of the mandarin orange somehow got associated with the city of Tangier.

As the history part of the (wikilink) article demonstrates, it’s geographic location and seaport topography give the city a status far more important and permanent than whatever religious or political system happens to be in charge at the moment.

You get the feeling that Tangier itself was and is always in charge.

Wholesomeness is not an attribute that jumps to mind when we hear the word Tangier. Let’s just say William Burroughs didn’t go there for the fresh produce.

Maybe the tangerine’s tang competed successfully with Tangier’s sewer smell.

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